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Fit for the Part? Finding the Right Spider-Man

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It seems like when it comes to Marvel movies, every new day brings in an onslaught (heh... get it?) of new casting rumors. One of the most popular topics of discussion in the rumor mill is who will get the coveted role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the upcoming, younger-skewing reboot of the blockbuster franchise. While I don't think Tobey Maguire was perfect for the role, with three enormous box office breaking films under his belt, he's definitely the iconic Spidey for the comic book movie generation.

Maguire nailed Peter Parker dead on. He was fairly timid, reserved, kind but also real and genuinely flawed. An everyman, if you will. His Spider-Man was also great, but only when he was engaged in acts of heroics. Saving the train car in Spider-Man 2, battling Green Goblin at the end of the first movie, and even saving Gwen Stacey in Spider-Man 3. Where he struggled was in his portrayal of the wise-cracking, villain taunting superhero. While the script didn't really do much to help out, the few one-liners that Maguire was given all fell flat throughout three separate movies.

That being said, we thought it'd be nifty to take a look at some of these rumored contenders and see how they stack up to Maguire, and if they can be trusted with the huge movie franchise he played no small part in launching.

Jamie Bell

Out of everyone on this list, I think this may be the way they go. Bell is the most legit actor that's been rumored, and his upcoming role as the titular in the Peter Jackson/Steven Spielberg adaptations of the Herge classic The Adventures of Tintin will give the new Spidey reboot a real shot in the arm upon its release after the first Tintin.

He's got the acting chops, and has shown his wide range as an actor appearing in - most notably, Billy Elliot - but also Nicholas Nickleby, King Kong, and Jumper. Bell has got the well rounded acting chops that could really elevate this movie past its predecessors. Not to belittle Maguire in any way, but Bell has a much higher caliber resume than Maguire had when he landed the Spidey role.



Frank Dillane

This is one rumor that I can't wrap my head around. Dillane is an extreme choice even if the studio is going for an "unknown", having only been in one film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, for one scene. Unless his screen test is phenomenal, I think it's a ballsy move to put this kid anywhere close to the anchor of a major franchise.



Josh Hutcherson

Hutcherson is the most experienced member of the Spider-Man rumor mill, and my personal favorite to win the role. Though he's only 18, he has dozens of roles under his belt that include a nice range of acting styles. From action to drama to comedy, he's touched them all in one way or another. While he's not the classical actor that Jamie Bell may be, he's got the right look and has shown that he can play both the nerd and the hero, more so than Tobey Maguire could ever hope to.

Also, he's officially producing his first film. He's 18.



Andrew Garfield

Admittedly, I haven't seen much of Garfield's work, but the mere fact that he's already worked with directors like Spike Jonze, Terry Gilliam and Robert Redford is pedigree enough for me. Garfield could bring a grounded gravity to the role of Peter Parker that was missing from Maguire's presentation. Maguire's Parker was more aloof and sort of within his own little bubble. Garfield may bring a little bit of realism to the character, making Peter Parker grounded in a more realistic reality than his goofy science nerd dream land.

He also gets credit for being in two episodes of the amazing Doctor Who.



Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson is weird because his image differs from his skill set. His visual appearance, for whatever reason, gives off a severe pretentious aura. However, as we've seen in Kick-Ass, he can be a convincing nerd and superhero. As great a screen test as Kick-Ass probably is, it's also the reason I doubt Johnson will be the new Peter Parker.

Not only should Johnson want to avoid the Spider-Man role in fears of being typecast, but the filmmakers should be aware that Kick-Ass 2 will be out the same year as this reboot. While I personally can differentiate between actors in various onscreen roles, the people that make the movies disagree.



Anton Yelchin

Yelchin is a very likely bet for this role. He's talented, experienced, young and has a great nerd-friendly resume. He's on the brink of becoming one of "those guys" that you point out on screen when you see him. Having great supporting turns in JJ Abrams' Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation (in which he stole the movie), Yelchin is primed to continue onto leading man status that he teased in Charlie Bartlett.

I think that like Maguire, he's a talented all-around actor, an everyman that is the core of the Peter Parker character. Plus, I think he's got more comedy chops than Maguire and would be able to portray the snarky side of Spider-Man quite well.

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Comments

  • Frederik Hautain

    Frederik Hautain Jun 19, 2010 at 10:55am

    My fanboy heart isn?t crazy about the reboot, so I?m hoping on Bell since he?d still add some maturity. Otherwise, Garfield is my pick. I can already see the spoofs: "Garfield is Spider-Man!" How's that for a secret identity? :)

  • Steven Surman

    Steven Surman Jun 19, 2010 at 11:08am

    Does it really matter? All of these Marvel flicks usually turn out mediocre at best, and are oftentimes forgettable after a few years.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 19, 2010 at 10:01pm

    Ridiculous reboot. Won't be going I'm afraid.

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