And so, without further padding:

MovieBob's Only Somewhat Unserious Advice to Sony on Spider-Man Fanboy Management

Tell Them It'll Be "Dark"

See also: "Gritty." Here's the thing, Sony. Fanboys of the type you're concerned with (i.e. the type that control internet buzz) aren't really boys - they're young-adult men (and women.) They/we are, of course, aware that our fandom is in this case dedicated to something mostly aimed at children (since that's where we encountered it) but a lot of us are deeply insecure about that fact. This is why we love stuff like The Dark Knight Returns: Because it allows us the fantasy that Batman etc. are aging in tandem with our other sensibilities. In the context of moviemaking, this is rather easy to pull off - just make sure that at no point does anyone in the film enjoy being a character in a superhero story. Ever. (For reference, see: Christian Bale in anything that isn't American Psycho.)

Remember, when faced with the roster of stuff that went wrong in Spider-Man 3 - mismatched villains, wonky continuity, now-unavoidably-miscast Kirsten Dunst, story issues, etc. - what seemed to infuriate fanboys the most was that for a few seconds Peter Parker is shown - GASP! - doing a silly dance. If you can get into the angry-eleven-year-old-trying-to-be-a-tough-guy headspace where such a reaction makes sense, then you can sell us a dark teenage Spider-Man movie.

"That'll Pay Off Later"

Fanboys - geeks in general, really - prize one thing above all else: continuity. It combines two of our favorite things: genre fiction and obsessive listmaking. That's a big part of why many of us are so aghast at the reboot to begin with - starting over means that our meticulous mental upkeep of plot threads and character connections in the existing trilogy are now an (even more obvious) waste of time. If you pack your planned first film with enough dangling threads and "hey, isn't that...?" moments, huge chunks of fanboydom will be willing to forgive you almost anything else - we'll be too busy dreaming about all the new lists we get to make. So, planning on using Dr. Octopus at some point? Have Otto Octavius turn up in a scene somewhere. Have an idea on what to do with the subject of Peter Parker's dead secret-agent biological parents (really, look it up)? Allude to that ASAP.

Details and Obscurity

What do we like more than continuity? Minor details and obscure references. Curious, but true. If you announce tomorrow that Spidey will have mechanical web shooters, instead of the biological ones from the Raimi movies, or that the webbing on the costume will be stenciled instead of raised, you'll make tons of geeks suddenly start liking you. Want to go even further? When you "accidentally leak" the casting callsheets, make sure at least one character's entry includes the sentence "owns a small, annoying dog named Ms. Lion." The subsequent reaction will be the most positive press you get for the entire production.


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