Well, if you’re looking for paternal authority, I guess you can’t do much better in casting than Martin Sheen.
Let’s set aside the fact that one of his actual sons, Charlie Sheen, is practically a super-villain at this point whose archenemies appear to be cocaine, an army of ex-wives, hookers, and hotel suites. Sheen was perfect as President Bartlett on “The West Wing” precisely because of that reasonable, benign wisdom he projects. When Mouth finds a coin in the wishing well in “The Goonies” and excitedly proclaims, “It’s Martin Sheen!”, that’s because it’s hard to not get him confused with a Kennedy. He’s played both RFK and JFK, and he’s played unnamed Presidents in many more films beyond that.
There must be something special about playing JFK that qualifies you to play Uncle Ben in a “Spider-Man” film. After all, “PT-109” starred Cliff Robertson as the young JFK during his days of Naval service, and he played Uncle Ben for the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” series. Now Marc Webb has tapped Sheen to step in and play the role in the reboot of the series that’s due out in 2012.
This comes on the heels of the recent flurry of casting decisions for the film, including the hyper-adorable Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as the still unnamed-but-heavily-speculated-about villain, and of course Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I like the idea of Garfield and Sheen playing scenes together, and I think I’m more excited about that notion than any of the potential special effects or action scenes. The real key to me caring about a new version of Spider-Man is the cast and the human elements of the story.
Having said that, I’ve been hearing some things recently about some of the ideas they have for some of the film’s biggest sequences, and I think we will actually see something fresh and different here if Webb pulls off his big ideas. I liked the Raimi films, even if the third one went belly up eventually, but I also think there’s plenty of room for a different take on the characters and the way you handle the series.
“Spider-Man” is due in theaters July 3, 2012.