When we look back at this era of superhero films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be viewed as the modern Batman & Robin, a colossal train wreck that derailed a franchise and made other film makers reassess how much excess is too much. The good news is that Batman Begins was born from the ashes of Joel Schumacher’s disaster so we can hope that in a few years (maybe quite a few) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will pave the way for another remarkable Spidey film. Until then, we can look back and wonder what went wrong.
Well, a lot went wrong. And as Badass Digest reports, the script had issues from day one. The site got their hands on an earlier draft of the script and, despite many changes, the screenplay was still too long, too jam-packed and filled to the gills with nonsense that should have been cut before draft one. But there was also a lot there that had potential and one wonders what a few more drafts could have produced.
So what changed from this early edition of the script to the final product? Let’s take a look. Spoilers ahead for those lucky souls who skipped ASM2.
Let’s start with the biggest, craziest addition that was cut from the final film: the reappearance of Peter Parker‘s dad, Richard Parker. The finished movie opens with a ridiculously long sequence showing the demise of Peter’s parents on a doomed plane, murdered by an assassin hired by Oscorp. Watching the film, I figured this scene would come back around in the film’s final act. Maybe Peter would find the plane? Maybe his father’s important data would make its way to his son? Maybe the plane crash would be mentioned again since the film spent so much time setting it up? Nope, none of that happens. However, in the script Badass Digest has, Richard Parker himself shows up in the finale, inspiring Peter to once again put on the suit and be Spider-Man again. It’s he who utters the famous line, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter, seemingly not upset that his dad has been hiding from him for years, takes this advice and once again become the webslinger he was destined to be. I don’t know, I’d be a little upset at my long-lost pops.
Another major change revolves around Harry Osborn’s desire to inject himself with Spider-Man’s blood, thinking it’ll cure him of the disease that’s killing him. In the final film, Spidey refuses and Harry goes to drastic measures to get a cure. That leads to him becoming the Green Goblin and, in the end, killing Gwen Stacy. In the original script, Spider-Man does give him the blood but Harry still transforms into the Goblin. Not a major difference but definitely changes things for the characters and would leave Peter with a serious case of guilt. It would also have cut out about ten extra minutes.
One more change worth noting (though you should really read Badass Digest’s piece listing all the alterations): the inclusion of Mary Jane Watson. Fans were excited when Shailene Woodley was cast as MJ, though many didn’t know how she would fit into the already-packed cast list. Well, eventually Mary Jane was cut from the film, even after Woodley filmed some scenes. The proposed MJ was Peter’s neighbor (of course) who had quite a crush on Peter and Spider-Man. True to the comics, she also had a drunk abusive father who had some words with Spidey. Before Gwen departs for London at the end of the film, she stops by and chats with Mary Jane and sets up MJ’s involvement with Peter in subsequent films. While it would have been cool to see Woodley on screen, it’s apparent that this film already had way, way too much going on and MJ just had to go.
That’s just some of the changes from script to screen. There’s more, including Electro‘s mom, a little kid dressed as Spider-Man and the introduction of J Jonah Jameson. Obviously a lot of this stuff could be included in future Spider-Man films but we’re not sure where things stand with those. After the critical lashing and lackluster box office returns, the future of the Spider-Man series is in limbo. I don’t think we will be seeing this same team making another Spidey film. Indeed, like Batman & Robin before it, I think The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will signal a halt in the franchise. In about five years, maybe Sony (or Marvel, if they get their way) will take up the series again and set things straight. But ASM2 had so many problems and left such a bad taste in peoples’ mouths that I can’t imagine anyone getting very excited about another Spider-Man film for some time.
The final product had some major differences from the original script but it was still one Hell of a ordeal. It’ll be awhile before anyone wants to try and clean up this mess.