Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 Cancelled, Sony to Reboot Franchise: Boo!

There are good ideas… there are plain, non-consequential ideas… then  and then there are bad ideas.  This doesn’t fall on that chart.  This is off the charts.  And I don’t mean that in a positive light.  Sony has decided to dump the series that brought the superhero genre into the mainstream, and start from scratch.  It’s not like Raimi failed at his job.  He had the old gang getting back together for Spider-Man 4, and even John Malkovich was getting ready to join the cast.  It seemed to be returning to the more simple formula of Spider-Man 2 (my favorite of the franchise).  But here comes Sony, dashing those hopes with a single jesture, and causing tons of negative feedback all over the place.

Just look at the response to the story at comingsoon.net to see what I’m talking about.  At the time of this writing, it was already 4 pages of Sony hate.

I have one question for Sony: was Ken Kutaragi really as crazy as the lines he said, or is everyone at Sony just as bad?
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Who should direct Ghostbusters 3?

Be Kind Rewind - GhostbustersA couple of websites have chimed in with their thoughts on different directors taking on Ghostbusters 3. Now that it is actively being written, and Sony has put it on their 2011 film slate, this is an obvious question, and I thought I would add my thoughts to the mix. I’m going to comment on the choices that they list for potential directors below:

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Spider-Man 4 and 5 are on, Tobey Maguire has Signed

This is some of the best news I’ve heard in some time. Tobey Maguire has officially signed on to reprise the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man 4 and Spider-Man 5.

You see, when Spider-Man came out in 2002, I wasn’t a fan of it. I thought that Green Goblin was too much of a Power Ranger, and including Macy Gray dated the film to a certain era (something I think some films should do their best to avoid). Not only that, but when it came out, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

When it came down to it, I thought that some of the effects in Spider-Man were really cheesy. Peter Parker’s leap from rooftop to rooftop looked pretty bad from time to time, and next to the effects in Star Wars, was pretty lacking. Yoda looked more alive.

Spider-Man 2 came out a couple of years later, in 2004, and blew my mind. Not only was Goblin out of the picture, but we had a villain that was both charismatic, and a story that not only topped the original, but made me a fan. The fight scenes were all incredible and fun.

After that, it took the creative team an extra year of work to create Spider-Man 3. Now, here’s a movie that split the audience. Everyone seems to agree that it’s not a great film, and that tends to be a general consensus. It’s not something that I agree with. At all.

I think it’s a phenomenal film. While it falls short of the second film, it does have a lot to love. The main problems with Spider-Man 3, I think, are the following:

  • John Jameson should have been the reason the symbiote came to earth. He was introduced in the second film, and it should have been used. Instead, the symbiote randomly crashed to earth.
  • Gwen Stacy should have been the one in peril at the end. Instead, Mary Jane Watson was once again captured. The film would have been much more effective if Gwen was the one in trouble. Instead, it was more of a paint-by-the-numbers routine.
  • Emo Peter Parker should have been better explained. The symbiote had started to control Parker, and was beginning to control him. It was also alien, so it wasn’t really aware of it’s surroundings, and started to make Parker do things that were way out of character. That’s simply because it wasn’t Parker that we were seeing. It was a symbiote-possessed Parker, exploring the world for the first time.
  • Venom should have been reduced to a minor character until the very end. How cool would that have been? Rearrange the story of Spider-Man 3 a bit, remove the venom bits from most of the story, and you’ve got a great Spider-Man 3 that is as good as Spider-Man 2.

Here’s how I would have done Spider-Man 3:

  • Start it out with Jameson returning from a mission to space, and J. Jonah Jameson has Parker cover the story, acquiring the symbiote at that point. Sandman (perfectly executed in the film) has center stage for the entirety of the film, as prime villain, although he’s doing this with a noble end in mind: helping his daughter. Contrasted with that is Parker with the black costume, making our hero into a vigilante. In a way, this would swap the roles of hero and villain. Sure, Brock would be a part of the story, but he’d only become Venom for the last moment. We’d have a final battle with Parker fighting Sandman. Hobgoblin (New Goblin) would come into it a little bit as well, but after the rescue of Gwen Stacy, there’d be an epilogue. Brock will have witnessed the battle, and Gwen’s rescue, and gotten jealous of Spider-Man, and found his way to the church, where the symbiote would claim him, and the film would end with Venom leaping at the camera.

This would have led right into Spider-Man 4, with Parker going up against Venom, 1 on 1. However, now that they already went down the road that they had, Spider-Man 4 and 5 are going to be vastly different from the original plan. You see, Venom was kind of crow-barred into the story of Spider-Man 3. Producer Avi Arad was listening to us, the fans. We were clamoring for Venom to appear in Spider-Man 3, so he forced the character into the third film. Director Sam Raimi did as he was asked, against better judgment. Bad move, and proof positive that fan feedback should not be listened to all the time. We sabotaged Spider-Man 3. Let’s leave them alone for the next ones. Deal?

There’s no word yet on what’s going to happen in 4 and 5, or who the villains will be. Let’s hope that Sam Raimi comes back and is able to redeem himself in the eyes of most of the fans, and makes a pair of awesome films. Although I think Spider-Man 3 could have been better, I still think it was great. Sandman made an excellent villain, and Harry Osborne’s storyline was suitably tragic.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us next.

Read more at: L.A. Times, Fancast