In the past week, we’ve discovered that Sony has release dates for parts 3 and 4 of the Amazing Spider-Man series, bucking the trend (and director Marc Webb’s concept) to do a trilogy. Coupled with that, we also learned that Mary Jane would be removed from the upcoming second movie, which is probably for the best as the sequel will already include Rhino, Electro, Harry Osborne and his dad Norman… it actually might be for the best to bank MJ for the next one instead, to let all the other elements in this movie breathe.
There’s also rumors swirling that the wonderful Shailene Woodley (cast as MJ) will be recast entirely when the character does make her screen debut, which would be a total drag because A.) Woodley is a fantastic actress (see- The Descendants), and B.) some pretty nasty things have been circulated on the interwebs about her not being “pretty” enough to play Mary Jane Watson. I would very much like her to stay in the role just to put a stick in the eye of those basement dwellers obsessing over her looks in a way that’s as creepy as it is pathetic.
On the other hand, Devin Faraci at Badass Digest suggests that maybe it’s best for Woodley and Spidey to part ways, since it frees her to continue her career without being bound to a franchise. It’s an interesting argument, especially in light of the anti-Woodley’s looks stuff being the perfect example of how genuinely awful fanboys can be, but I’m not sure I buy it. Someone like Jennifer Lawrence was able to manage the franchise thing with Hunger Games and still get plenty of attention for better, more serious roles. It’s definitely possible, although I guess it has less to do with Woodley’s ability and more with whether we, as a prime target demographic, deserve to have someone with her talent in our movies.
In any event, I’m holding out hope that these shakeups are good, even if they’re happening on the fly– Woodley already filmed scenes, and the whole productions is, like, 3 months in… Sony announcing two more movie after this suggests they’re fully on board the Amazing Spider-Man train, so the changes with the current sequel seem like they might be positive ones (pacing out the story, introducing less characters… these things can definitely help alleviate sequel bloat).
I guess it really comes down to faith in Marc Webb. I think he’s proven himself a good director, and his post-Spidey 1 comments made it feel like he legitimately understood what worked in that movie AND what didn’t. I think his sequel will right most of the wrongs in part one, and if whatever story he’s telling now has a fourth chapter, he should have more than enough time to lead us to a satisfying conclusion. I really hope so, anyway.