Well, we’ve all had 24 hours to come to grips with the fact that he’s gone…John Malkovich’s Vulture will exist only in the cinema of the mind, along with the version of Jedi where Lando dies, and the last reel of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. In the past day, there has been enough internet comment on the matter to fill the Library of Congress and precious little actual info, so it’s kind of dizzying to try to even get a handle on it, but here goes.
As far as popular opinion goes, it seems to be leaning towards the “we want a reboot” faction. And truth be told, as much as we loved Raimi’s version of Spider-Man, there’s a lot to be said for three and done. Charlie Jane Anders at io9 presents the pro-teen agenda:
If the masterminds who insisted on putting Venom in Spider-Man 3 get more say this time around, the results may indeed be awful. But it’s hard not to cling to a bit of optimism. For one thing, the biggest disappointment in Raimi’s Spider-Man was that it got Peter Parker out of high school way too quickly. We could have had a few movies showing Parker as an awkward high-school outcast, who’s secretly the city’s greatest hero, instead of skipping forward so quickly. And this setup has some fantastic recent templates, from the Ultimate Spider-Man series to the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane reinvention. So high-school Spidey could actually be great.
Certainly, the Bendis Ultimate run is a great example of how the basic pieces can be reassembled into a fresh and engaging conceit. But, as Anders points out, this is dependent on the studio getting it right. While we must all respect Marvel and Avi Arad for putting out a series of (mostly) successful and non-embarrassing superhero themed movies (If one considers GHOST RIDER non-embarrassing), they are mainly kinda that…movies about superheroes. The only ones that have managed to be more than just “Oh cool, a Wolverine movie!” are the ones with halfway decent/talented directors like Bryan Singer, Jon Favreau and, of course Sam Raimi. While you HOPE the studio will want to keep Spider-Man on the quality course, you need only think of SUPERMAN 4 or BATMAN FOREVER to see what can go wrong when a franchise outstays its welcome.
A total. thoughtful rethink is in order, or else we get TWILIGHT with Venom.
Kiel Phegley at CBr has a very thorough wrap up of the situation:
It’s unlikely the next director will be asked to replicate the exact tone of the first three movies. It is a reboot after all. But seeing as Raimi’s quirky action and horror sensibilities plastered across the backdrop of an ideal Americana Manhattan formed the cornerstone of the franchise’s appeal, future installments likely won’t stray too far from what audiences are used to. Expect the new tone to be a little shinier. A little younger. Just enough of a change to lure fans in for the familiar thrill of a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
One notable partner listed in Sony’s press release was Marvel Studios. As of the first of this year, the formerly-independent studio is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, but don’t let that drudge up speculation about Marvel somehow angling to get Spider-Man under Disney’s production umbrella any time soon. Wild conspiracy theorizing aside, Marvel as a whole has a major interest in seeing this movie do well so they can license Spider-Man to appear on bed sheets and popsicles and Trapper Keepers and a million other products.
However, Harry Knowles has heard more detailed chatter:
Hey folks, Harry here in the aftermath of the SPIDER-MAN 4 neutron bomb that blew up today… trying to figure it all out. More and more the word I’m hearing is that the existing SPIDER-MAN property was being pulled in too many directions. Acting talent had their voice in this, there was of course Raimi and his peeps, then there was the studio, and Marvel. Plus there was this crazy sense of urgency to get this done to meet an impending date. To a large degree, that’s what happened on SPIDER-MAN 3. Too many cooks adding too many ingredients – and the final product was edible, just not repeatedly or with praise.
Let’s hope the added year will give all these cooks a chance to get their recipes straight, because otherwise we are going to get an ungodly BayRatnerMcGSommers kind of mess.
As for us here at SBM, while we are eager to see where Spidey goes next and will be following the story intently, almost as important..WHAT WILL SAM RAIMI DO?
EVIL DEAD 4??????
Maybe not, but everyone is hoping it’s the next best thing…A Raimi directed version of World of Warcraft which would essentially be ARMY OF DARKNESS with unlimited budget and clout.
We interrupt your happy reveries to quote Harry Knowles again:
I chatted with someone that knows – and I feel confident in saying that the next film we’ll see from Raimi is going to be WARCRAFT… which after AVATAR, the concept of world building that particular universe could be astonishing – especially in 3D – especially after what Cameron just unleashed upon the globe. World creating Science Fiction & Fantasy… done by visionary filmmakers … well, it is a premium. We got THE HOBBIT coming, looks like an AVATAR 2… but the word I hear is that today – the phone lines were burning between a certain legendary locale and Raimi’s folks about firing up the furnaces to forge the weapons of war.
One thing is certain: Raimi is walking away from this still golden. Meticulous and loyal to both his crew and his props, he’s also built up a pretty formidable body of hokey, fun genre work as a producer: Priest, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”, “Legend of the Seeker, ” 30 Days of Night, The Messengers, The Grudge franchise and of course Xena and Hercules. A glance at his upcoming projects on IMDB shows he’ll be busier than ever:
1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
2. Spider-Man 5
3. The Shadow
4. The Familiars
6. Untitled Sam Raimi Project
7. The Substitute
9. Evil Dead IV
10. Panic Attack
12. No Man’s Land
13. The Transplants
14. Just Another Love Story
15. Burst 3D
17. Monkey’s Paw
18. The Given Day
19. The Dorm
20. Monster Zoo
21. The Wee Free Men
22. “The Taking”
WHEW, makes us tired just looking at it. Anyway, we’ll leave you with comedy troop Elephant Larry’s EXCLUSIVE look behind the scenes at SPIDER-MAN 4 — a video that may resemble the excitement we’ll all feel as we follow rumors about the film for the next 2 years.