Spidey's Advocate - Spider-man 4 Now a Re-boot of the Franchise

It's official, after initially just delaying the start of Spider-man 4, Sam Raimi has left the franchise that he started, and Tobey Maguire is going with him. Announced today, and confirmed on IGN, Spider-man 4 is now going to be a reboot of the franchise with Peter Parker back in high school. Man this sucks, right? Wrong. This is probably the best news possible in this situation. Yeahbuwha? I'm serious. I think now that Raimi and Maguire are gone, there is finally hope that Spider-man 4 is not going to suck. Hit the jump for the reasons.

Spidey's Advocate - Why Spider-man 4 Should Be A Reboot

Listen, before we get to into this, I just want the record to show that I really liked Spider-man 1, and I love Spider-man 2. 2 is probably the best media representation of who Spider-man really is, helped by the fact that it is partially written by my favorite author Michael Chabon. The reason why I'm not wringing my fanboy hands and getting my pitchfork sharpened to go after Sony executives is because of Spider-man 3, not just how bad that movie was but the reasons why it was bad. To showcase my point that rebooting the Spidey franchise is the way to go, I'm going to talk about Spidey 3 but also Raimi's announced plans for Spidey 4. Also, I just wanted to talk briefly about some of the fundamental problems of the Raimi franchise. Finally, I'm going to throw out some ideas for the new Spider-man franchise.

Spider-Man 3: The Flaws Finally Show Through

I think that all of Raimi's Spider-man films have some problems, even Spider-man 2 had some issues that really only become clear after watching it several times (Why does Spider-man never make any wisecracks? And was Pete in such a hurry he couldn't just say to Harry "Dude, your dad was the Green Goblin and killed himself accidentally". That takes like ten seconds to say.) but Spider-man 3 was all of the flaws clearly on display. An over-reliance on comic characters who don't add anything to the overall narative. Villains that are more goofy and over-the-top than menacing (seriously, who would ever be scared of any of Raimi's villains?). The fact that Mary Jane always has to be kidnapped and placed in danger, otherwise Spider-man couldn't give two shits about the supervillains terrorizing the city. And let's not forget the dance numbers. Oh, the dance numbers. But the biggest problem is that Raimi treats anything that was created after 1970 like it was stupid and therefore should only be included as a source of ridicule. Which brings me to the big reason why Spider-man 3 was so terrible, and how the lessons learned from 3 are showing today with what's happening to Spidey 4: The Sandman.

I Just Want My Kids Back...

Now, I don't mean that the Sandman himself was so awful that it brought the whole film down. Although, Thomas Haden Church (MASSIVELY Over-rated actor) was absolutely atrocious in this part, as he essentially devolved into a rediculous caricature who basically just quoted Tom Jane's guest appearance on Arrested Development ("I just want my kids back") and BTWs, did we EVER see him give the money he stole to his kid? And WTF was she dying of? Last I checked, people haven't died of "she's sick" since the late 19th Century.

But that tangent aside, the big reason why Sandman destroyed Spidey 3 is because of the reason why he was in the film, and the lengths that Raimi went to put him in the movie. Basically, Raimi's big idea for 3 was to have Harry Goblin and The Sandman as the villains because the Sandman (while a terrible villain and massively unpopular with fans) was created in the 1960's, Sony on the other hand wanted to put Venom in the movie or at least build up to Venom in 4, because he is a great villain and someone that fans were clamoring for since the first film. Raimi refused, with the rationale that Venom was created in the '80s/'90s by someone that wasn't Stan Lee and was therefore stupid. Sony made him put a good villain in the film, so Raimi crammed Venom into the film in such a way that made him a total chump and just needlessly cluttered the film because he didn't take out the Sandman stuff since that's what he wanted to put in the movie. My big question is, since Raimi really wanted Sandman, why was he so bland and uninteresting with almost no real pathos to his actions? Sandman took out about a fourth of the the film and yet he's the most forgettable part of the film despite how amazing the special effects were. Venom, meanwhile, was in 10-15 minutes of the film, looked like a total chump, and is then promptly killed off so he'll never show up again. In my opinion, I think that Peter Parker in the black suit ("emo" Spidey) was so goofy and idiotic because Raimi wanted to show fans how dumb they were for wanting to see Venom in a movie, so he went out of his way to make the whole idea so fucking bad that it showed how much he resented having Venom in his movie. The simple fact is, it should have focused on Spider-man and Harry Osborn-Goblin, and set-up Venom the whole time.

And now, with Spider-man 4, the big reason for the delay was once again that Raimi was butting heads with the studio. Raimi wanted to put the Vulture as the villain of the film with Felicia Hardy showing up and becoming a female villain of the Vulture, the Vultress. So Raimi wanted the villains to be an old man in a bird suit and a woman... in a bird suit. Meanwhile, the studio wanted... not that. So Raimi delayed the start of the film until they could agree to let him do the Vulture and the chick-Vulture. Sony I'm guessing had learned their lesson and just let Raimi walk away, and then they dumped Maguire to start over by rebooting Spidey back to the high school days. I have to agree with the studio here, as I think that the Vulture is a terrible idea, and messing up yet another iconic character like Felicia Hardy for the sake of satisfying Raimi's sick 60's fetish is frankly too much for me.

Which is really the fundamental problem with Raimi's Spider-man franchise; too often he does his own take on the characters that almost completely goes against the character. Mary Jane is nothing like her comic book counterpart, thanks in no small part to Kirstin Dunst's "acting". Norman Osborn was so over-the-top and bizarre that half-way through the film I just gave up thinking about the comic book version since I did enjoy Willem Dafoe's performance. Gwen Stacy and her father Captain Stacy were just bland set dressings essentially, and the less said about Eddie Brock the better. The only characters that seemed to benefit from Raimi was Harry Osborn and Peter Parker, although they went off the rails in 3 just like everybody else did. Also, Raimi messed up the idea of Spider-man in 3 by A.) making him an accepted hero and B.) changing his origin for no reason other than to tie the Sandman in since he had to have a reason to be in the film.

Where do we go from here?

Hopefully to brighter pastures. I think that the new take on Spidey, which is going to be in High School thankfully after Raimi aged Spidey so quickly in his films that we never got to enjoy him being a teenage superhero, needs to embrace the fun and the funny. Spider-man is all about quips and making jokes while fighting bad guys, but he does this as a way of hiding his insecurities and letting go of his problems. So there has to be the sadness too since Peter Parker has probably dealt with the most loss of any superhero outside of Batman, and yet he still tries his hardest to stay upbeat and try to deal with things. What I would do is start from scratch except for J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (cause he's brilliant as him) and Dylan Baker as Curt Connors. For the first movie, I say skip the origin, everybody knows it anyway, and have Peter be Spider-man already trying to juggle superheroics and schoolwork. I would have Peter be a high school science nerd who gets an internship at Oscorp, and introduce Norman Osborn but not have him be the Green Goblin until the end of the second film. For villains in this movie, I say either the Lizard or Electro, and they get their powers through some sort of accident at Oscorp and Norman tries to use them to destroy Spider-man. Also could have Eddie Brock in as one of Peter's classmates, or maybe have him as the photographer at the Bugle who loses his job to Pete, and forces himself through the same accident that gave Pete his powers.

But this is another idea that is just crazy enough to work: Morlun. I say for the first new Spider-man, embrace the totem idea for Spidey's origin (it makes as much sense as radioactive spiders) and have the first big villain be Morlun hunting down Peter Parker. It would mean tons of awesome battle scenes, and since he looks mostly human they could save on CGI for the slugfests. I always liked Morlun's first appearance from JMS's Coming Home arc, and he could really take Peter to the limit and show off the fierce determination of Spider-man. Just my idea.

Well, that's it. That is my Spidey's Advocate, defending the choice to press on without Raimi and reboot the franchise, raher than just allow Raimi to move forward with his dueling Vultures idea.


  1. Dude, I agree that Raimi had his problems.
    I also wondered why there weren't any Iconic one liners from Spidey for example.
    Considering the long long wait for a decent Spidey movie (remember the ones from the 70's?) I embraced all 3 Spidey movies, after all, does Hollywood ever leave any story unaltered? It was to be expected.
    I do not think that a general audience, that is, non comic book people are ready for the totem origin idea!
    As for Eddie Brock forcing himself through Spidey's 'accident' !?!?! WTF!!!! Venom = Symbiote which would lead to Carnage! Dude, are you smoking the same stuff as Raimi?
    I think that they should just carry on without Raimi and not do a reboot.
    Like the Incredible Hulk, ignore the earlier crap and carry on with a fresh look.
    Having the story retold is just crap, if the franchise had been finished for a decade or 2 then by all means do a reboot.
    A Superman Returns idea (with out the girlyness of course) should be done.

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