If you’re headed to the theater this weekend to escape the ungodly heat, you’ll be spending your movie dollars on perhaps the most offensive lineup of the summer.
“Magic Mike,” opening today and starring Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, is the perfect “Girls Night Out” flick after a few margaritas. But its male-stripper storyline isn’t exactly family friendly.
The weekend’s other offering, “Ted,” from “Family Guy” and “American Dad” creator Seth McFarlane, is about a drunk, drug-abusing, foul-mouthed teddy bear. If you don’t know McFarlane or his work, don’t let the presence of Mark Wahlberg trick you into buying a ticket. You’ll just end up asking for your money back.
So perhaps it’s better to find a pool or shopping mall to cool off in this weekend and hold onto your money until Tuesday, when Spider-Man makes his return to the big screen.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” makes a pre-Fourth of July entry, a reboot of the successful franchise directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. It’s a risky venture, coming so close on the heels of a popular trio of films. And Marvel’s success with reboots, like “Punisher: War Zone” and “The Incredible Hulk,” isn’t stellar.
But fans of the character should be excited about getting another chance to see their favorite Webhead on film. Here’s a few reasons why and a few things every moviegoer should know going in:
◆ “Amazing Spider-Man” will reportedly hold closer to comic canon than its previous film incarnations. In particular, Peter Parker is more of an isolated geek with a special talent for science. But a word of warning: rumors continue to circulate that there is a major shift in Spider-Man’s origin tale. This could anger devoted Spidey fans or confuse viewers of the previous films.
◆ Andrew Garfield, whose big break came in “Social Network,” could be a better Spider-Man. While Maguire seemed like a smart selection at the outset of “Spider-Man,” his appeal as Peter Parker waned by the third film. He wasn’t enough of a nerd or smart aleck to be the Peter fans of the comics expect. Garfield brings a hedging-on-bratty quality to the character Maguire seemed to be lacking.
◆ Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) will be the lead female role in the film, not Mary Jane. Gwen was traditionally Peter’s first love. Her ultimate fate, however, won’t be revealed here. If you are familiar with the comics’ storyline, you know what could be awaiting Miss Stacy will shock audiences. If nothing else, Stone has proven she has the sassy quality that Dun2st lacked but is essential to dealing with Peter’s sarcasm.
◆ Director Marc Webb knows characters. Not to knock Raimi, a brilliant director whose made some wonderful films. But Webb, who directed the Joseph Gordon Levitt/Zooey Deschanel film “500 Days of Summer,” may better illustrate Peter’s humanity, his failures, his self-doubt than a director best known for his work in the horror industry.
◆ One last disclaimer: This is not a Marvel Studios film. Sony still possesses the film rights to the Spider-Man world. While it was made jointly with Marvel, it does not come from the studio that brought you “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” or “The Avengers.” And there is no cohesion of the universes.
So, male strippers, a filthy teddy bear or an American icon wearing red and blue the day before the Fourth of July?
The old refrain rings true yet again: Make mine Marvel.
Heather Bremer, a former Herald Bulletin reporter/designer, writes a weekly column on movies, television and pop culture. Contact her at email@example.com.