Marc Webb always seemed like a weird fit for the Spider-Man movies. The music video director broke through as a feature filmmaker with (500) Days of Summer, a gentle and wistful romantic comedy, and if his hire indicated the Spidey-makers at Sony wanted something more than your typical superhero movie, his two cracks at the franchise (2012’s mediocre Amazing Spider-Man and the even worse Amazing Spider-Man 2 two years later) were less than exceptional – burdened with franchise obligations and listless action. Or maybe Webb’s heart just wasn’t in them.
He’s certainly taken his dismissal from the series well, with a burst of productivity that’s resulted in two new features this year alone. Last spring’s Gifted – starring another superhero refugee, Chris Evans – met with decent reviews and solid box office, and now we’re getting our first look at his late-summer release, The Only Living Boy in New York, another character-driven dramedy markedly lacking in flying men in tights. (Though it does sport a title that indicates exactly how badly this movie wants to be The Graduate.)
The good news is The Only Living Boy seems firmly in the (500) Days mode, from the tone and subject matter to the NYC setting. The bad news is it looks to have an even more retrograde view of women, featuring as it does a tragic cheated-upon mom, a sexy vamp, and a “friend-zone” resident. But hey, said women are played by Cynthia Nixon, Kate Beckinsale, and Dope’s Kiersey Clemons. So at least they’re working? And maybe they’ll give those types some dimension?
We’ll all find out, together, when The Only Living Boy in New York hits theaters on August 11.