15 December 2021 538 Views

#MIDWEEKMOVIES: With BATMAN! Special Guest Star..SPIDER-MAN!

by James Murphy

As SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME blasts the Box Office, we look at the Bat’s connections to the Spider..

Batman and Spider-Man. Both vigilantes, born of tragedy. Each has a cast of supporting characters and an exciting rogues’ gallery. They have some differences, too. Spidey has a supernatural level of power where Batman does not.

Peter Parker is a preppy, callow youth. Bruce Wayne is ever cool, 30-50 something and made of cash. But what about on film? What are the connections? They are there..

  • BALLOONS!

Tim Burton was considered for the director’s gig on 2002’s SPIDER-MAN. Sam Raimi pitched in for Batman Forever. And both directors pitted the heroes against killer balloons. Maybe that’s why the UK used each movie to launch new variations on the PG-13 certificate (12/12A?).

  • MUSIC!

Danny Elfman wrote the theme for two of Batman’s cinematic outings (in 1989 and ’92). He sits out part 3, it seems: a pattern he repeated on SPIDER-MAN (there for parts 1 and 2, perhaps wisely ran away for part 3?). Hans Zimmer scored the DARK KNIGHT trilogy (helped by James Newton Howard for the first two films in that series). Excellent work. Which is why they try him out on Spider-Man for 2014’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

  • CASTING!

JK Simmons is the definitive J Jonah Jameson for the Spidey movies. But he also tried being Commissioner Gordon in JUSTICE LEAGUE. Willem Dafoe is a great Green Goblin. But he was also considered to play JOKER on numerous occasions and that could still happen?

Equally, the Goblin role was offered to Nicolas Cage (he was busied, BUYING CASTLES!) who was also offered the role of Scarecrow in the abandoned BATMAN 5 from 1999.

 

Chris O’Donnell won the role of Robin for Batman Forever, beating Leeeeo DiCaprio. Both actors were considered to play Spider-Man at various points. Liam Neeson was a revelation in BATMAN BEGINS and had been considered for Dr Octopus (Alfred Molina; Spider-Man 2). ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER was also thought to be a possible Doc Ock at some point but settled instead for MR FREEZE! CHILL 😉

  • REBOOT ROLLER-COASTER!

Batman and Spidey often get refitted/retooled/rebooted on film. Both now face a multiverse of possibilities!

Sometimes change comes too quickly, other times, after consideration. On occasion it is a direct response to market forces and equally it can be an organic fulfilment of a vision.

So you get an ongoing conversation between the light and the dark, the serious and comedic, the disappointing and the beloved. BATMAN V SUPERMAN is just a little too soon after DARK KNIGHT RISES. But the Tom Holland iteration of Spidey makes a lot more sense than the attempt at a gritty /realistic take of the (albeit underrated?) Andrew Garfield films, which were arguably a response to..THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY?

Both series have many what might have been pitches and sequels that never quite made it. Burton’s BATMAN 3; Schumacher’s BATMAN 5; James Cameron’s SPIDER-MAN; David Fincher / Ben Affleck’s takes..and so on.

I am sure there are many more connections. Feel free to web them over! Bat’s all for now, though. HAPPY MID-WEEK. BATMAN AND SPIDER-MAN WILL RETURN..



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