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Entertainment
Friday, June 29, 2012
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'The Amazing Spider-Man' -- Part II
The filmmakers knew that they had to bring in some serious acting talent to handle this darker atmosphere. Despite some reservations about the film, most fans are excited that Andrew Garfield has been cast in the iconic role. Garfield, the rising Los Angeles-born, British-raised actor, is a gifted performer. He captured attention as Eduardo in "The Social Network" and recently earned rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman."

Then there's Emma Stone. The star of "Easy A" and "The Help" is considered by many to be one of the most gifted young actresses in Hollywood. Still, many fans remain skeptical about a reboot so soon after the last spidey outing.

"There has been what I would call a healthy skepticism because it was such a beloved franchise," Tolmach said. Arad added: "Every meeting started with the same question from people: 'Why so soon?' But as soon as they saw some footage from the film, they understood."

Garfield is aware of the weight on his shoulders. "I am terrified to take on this part because it means so much to me, so I know how much it means to other people." he said. Stone also appreciates the responsibility the filmmakers have to do justice to the beloved superhero.

"He's the most relatable character in comic history because everyone's been a 17-year-old," Stone said. "Even before you're 17, you're reading 'Spider-Man' so you know what it will be like when you get there — what it's like to be the underdog, to be bullied or be pushed around — but then also to have the kind of heroism that will take you past those barriers. Spider-Man is inspiring, and I think that's why he's probably the most talked about character in comics."

The rise of geek culture

The boom in comic-book movies is making cultural heroes out of former geeks

Trends and fads come and go. But geeks and nerds, they're forever — and their ranks are growing. "There was a time when nerds were guys who sat around on their computers and geeks were the ones who read comic books, and everyone made fun of them," Morgan Spurlock, director of "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" and "Super Size Me," said. "But now, those two worlds — geeks and nerds — have collided, and today they control every aspect of the media and the entertainment business. Geeks and nerds are the ones who are creating the tablets we're using to read, the iPods we're listening to and the movies and TV shows we watch."

The evidence of this is everywhere. "The Avengers" has broken box-office records by grossing over US$1.4 billion (approximately NT$42 billion) worldwide so far. Later this summer, "The Dark Knight Rises," Christopher Nolan's final entry in his trilogy of Batman films, will attempt to top this feat.

Geek culture is flourishing beyond the big screen, too. HBO's fantasy drama "Game of Thrones" has become one of the most beloved TV shows in the world while "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," a videogame released last November in which players slay dragons and perform magic, generated US$620 million (approximately NT$18.5 billion) in its first month of sales.

Not every comic-book or geek-friendly movie is an instant smash. "The Green Lantern" tanked while the mega-budget "John Carter" disappointed in March. But as former nerds such as Joss Whedon and Seth Rogen grew up and became forces in Hollywood, comic books were no longer dismissed as lowbrow entertainment for teenage boys and overgrown man-children.

Will Hess, one of the co-directors of the documentary "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story," argues that the creator of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four deserves a place alongside other influential pop culture greats.

"Stan Lee is in the same category as George Lucas or Walt Disney," said Hess. "He is one of the great creators of the 20th century. He's had an enormous impact on multiple generations."

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