I was about to start this post “Spider-Man star Willem Dafoe…” but then I caught myself: you have to specify about these things now. There’s Spider-Man and then there’s The Amazing Spider-Man, the franchise reboot that kicked off last summer (just five years after the previous series ended) and continues next summer with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That’s sort of the point of this news item as well. Dafoe, who appeared in the first three Spider-Man movies for director Sam Raimi isn’t particularly keen on the new movies by director Marc Webb.
Talking with Total Film about his new video game, Beyond: Two Souls, Dafoe said that he found the whole Spidey reboot “a cynical approach to making money.” He continued hurling verbal pumpkin bombs:
“I like Spider-Man, the first one that I was involved in, because although you can argue all sorts of things, from my perspective it was very pure… It really was. The way Sam Raimi approached it, it was pure in its intentions and I think he captured, particularly, Tobey [Maguire] at that particular moment. This real, genuine innocence; it wasn’t indicated. Then after that it became more difficult because it’s hard to achieve that when it’s gotten some kind of attention and a certain level of success!”
When Dafoe saw the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, he thought “This is crazy! It’s not shot for shot, but it’s the same story.” Still, he insisted he didn’t have a problem with Chris Cooper playing his old role of evil scientist and businessman Norman Osborn in the upcoming Amazing 2, likening the situation to when someone leaves a Broadway show and their part is recast with a new actor.
If you’re wondering whether Dafoe has done any reboots in his day, the answer is no. He’s made plenty of sequels, and at least a couple of those could be described as “cynical” (although I for one find enormous artistic merit in the sublime and provocative Speed 2: Cruise Control). But no remakes or reboots; just the purity of epic masterpieces like John Carter.