6 Things That Need To Change For Spider-Man 4

Our checklist for reviving Raimi's franchise


Sam Raimi is gearing up for a fourth outing from everyone’s favourite neighbourhood Spider-Man.

And, going into his latest stab at the character, the director feels he’s ready to strike out in new directions.

“I've learned a lot of lessons about what people didn't like and missteps that I'd made,” he tells Cinematical. “But I learned those lessons on the previous two, I was just a little quieter about them.

"I made a lot of mistakes, and it's part of the reason I so want to make this next story of Peter Parker."

With that in mind, we've offered some advice as to what's needed to make Spider-Man 4 a return to the glory days of the first two movies…

Next: Stick To Villians We Care About[Page-Break]


1. Stick To Villains We Care About

One of the biggest missteps in the third film’s development was Raimi listening to producer Avi Arad and including “fan favourite” Venom.

“I had never read Venom in the comic books, since they came after my time. Because of that, I didn't have a natural inclination toward him,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2007.

"And when I read those comics, at Avi Arad's urging, I didn't understand where Venom's humanity was. I know that kids think he looks cool, and they think he's a good villain for Spider-Man. I actually didn't.”

Still, he tried to make the best of it, and was complimentary about how the scriptwriters made the character work. But the brief story time devoted to Venom hardly made us believe the director enjoyed cramming him in there.

More recent rumours have had Morbius being considered (“I like it in the Marvel comics when Spider-Man fights Morbius,” Raimi said. “He’s really cool. A vampire! I like that combination of superhero plus supernatural”) and we even suggested some of our own – including Patrick Stewart as The Vulture.

But if the current word (that of “someone we’ve already seen” being the villain this time out) means Dylan Baker finally reaching his character’s destiny as The Lizard, that’s fine, too.

Just as long as it’s someone you have a history with, Sam – a bad guy you read and cared about.

Next: Keep It Sleek[Page-Break]


2. Keep It Sleek

Spider-Man 3 was a bloated, under-plotted, overstuffed mess of a film that, while it had some great action beats, tried to do too much in the space of one script.

Time to trim the fat.

One villain, fewer secondary characters running about and more running time left to explore Peter Parker’s life again.

Just because franchise entries traditionally have to try and top each other for scale, set pieces and splendour, it doesn’t mean you have to slavishly adhere to formula.

Get free, Sam! Unleash your inner, lo-fi Evil Dead side again! We know you can do it.

Next: Go Indie[page-break]


3. Go Indie

Yeah, yeah, we know. Sony will never let Raimi approach Spidey the way he made Drag Me To Hell - stripped down, lean and mean.

But when he chatted to Total Film about the making of Hell recently, his eyes lit up and he talked enthusiastically about having to solve problems without chucking cash at them.

Creativity doesn’t always need a mega budget.

And while he was quick to point out that he also enjoys the scope and scale that Spider-Man afforded, he told us he’d happily attempt a lower-budget Marvel movie.

Plus, we bet the studio’s bean-counters would love it if he could pump out a lo-fi web-slinger who still makes the fans happy and scores megabucks. All the more profit for the corporate overlords…

Think of it for a moment: a Spider-Man movie on a slightly more intimate scale, but with plenty of fun set pieces, and still focused on the characters and more attention paid to the little details.

Next: Tone Down The Angst[page-break]


4. Tone Down The Angst

We don’t mean leave out the character conflict that has been such an engaging part of the films.

It’s simply that everything got ramped up into melodrama for the third film, to such a degree that Peter Parker seemed like a moaning fool and Mary Jane a whiney neurotic.

We don’t mind seeing Peter in conflict with his superhero side, but Spidey also has a long history of quips and quirks that seems to have gone missing from the movies.

Even Sam himself seems to be thinking along these lines...

“I really think I know in my heart who the character is, and I haven't quite been able to sing the song yet, or bring it out to the extent or degree of detail that I feel in my heart that I can,” he said in the Cinematical interview.

“And I may not be successful, but I still feel like I know it better than I'm able to play it. I feel like the kid who really practiced at the piano recital, with years of comic books, and when I got to my other recitals, I sometimes made some missteps with them.”

Next: Ditch Dunst[page-break]


5. Ditch Dunst

Okay, controversial. But we don’t mean get rid of Mary-Jane. She’s an integral part of the Spider-Man mythos.

Even Raimi isn’t 100% sure Dunst will be back, despite the actress saying she’d like to do it.

“Kirsten? I have talked with her, and she’s very excited about the possibility of it,” he told MTV. “I think I’m going to have to read the screenplay and make sure everything we’ve talked about is working, before I could honestly tell you absolutely how it would go.”

Maybe it’s time to think about someone else, then. How about Evan Rachel Wood? She might be getting some experience if she really does sign on to the Spider-Man musical.

And if only Raimi hadn’t used up Bryce Dallas Howard playing Gwen Stacey…

Next: Give Elizabeth Banks More To Do[page-break]


6. Give Elizabeth Banks More To Do

Since Spider-Man 3 arrived, Elizabeth Banks’ career has gone from strength to strength.

She might not be a superstar yet, but she’s more than proved herself as a deft and likable comic actress.

And her star status isn’t even an issue, since the character sells the franchise more than even Tobey Maguire’s name.

So why not have writer David Lindsay-Abaire whip up more of a role for Banks’ Betty Brant – previously only seen working for J Jonah Jameson at the Bugle.

She’d be a winner, we’re sure – and she’d help with lightening up the tone no end.

What would you like to see in Spider-Man 4? Speak below!

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    • TheChampion

      May 21st 2009, 9:42

      I Want To See Electro In The 4th Movie. He Is Just Awesome But Morbius Or The Vulture Would Be Cool. I Hope Their Is No More Dancing In This New Film.

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    • Grasshopper

      May 21st 2009, 13:15

      I think it's time to see the Lizard. Get back to the 2nd film's empathy for the villain - make us care about them! I'd be happy to see Kirsten Dunst still in as Mary-Jane, but she definitely needs a re-draft away from whiney to be much more self-sufficient (and likable!).

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    • pimpernel

      May 21st 2009, 14:06

      The only thing that really MUST happen is the angst thing. No more of Toby Maguire crying FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!

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    • sowasred2012

      May 21st 2009, 14:10

      Get Dunst out! Mary Jane was always written as a foxy girl with an almost impenetrable you-will-never-be-in-my-league defense that hid an actually very down to earth woman. Yet in the films, they've written as some flaky floozy who goes with whatever guy has the best toys at the drop of a hat! Flash had his nice shiny car, Harry was loaded, John Jameson was a bloody astronaut and she only decides she wants to be with Pete when she knows for a fact that he's Spidey (and you can't really get much better than that). And THEN she gets all p**sy and moany when he starts actually getting recognised for the stuff he's done and lets it go to his head (be honest, if you were a shy nerd and suddenly an entire city loved you you'd get a little drunk on popularity). Fair enough he kissed Gwen, but A: Bryce Dallas Howard is hot and B: for some reason she was written to be more fun than MJ ever was. Not his fault. Actually, therein lies the solution - just have Gwen step in as the girlfriend. Maybe then Spidey'll develop the sense of humour he's been lacking.

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    • durden

      May 21st 2009, 16:32

      want to hear the real solution?GET SAM RAIMI OUT!!he clearly doesn't understand the philosophy of spider-man and even if he does:HE HAD 3 CHANCES TO GO FOR IT,NOW IT'S TO LATE!!bring some fresh blood!!really i know i'll get hammered for this,but Sam Raimi SUCKS!!!

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    • T12AV15

      May 21st 2009, 17:03

      Get Tobey Maguire out! I dont think he's ever been a likeable character when compared to christian bales batman/bruce wayne or hugh jackmans wolverine. Spiderman is suppose to be cool and make cheap jokes whilst swinging through the city etc. But i think the took Maguire on firstly as the peter parker nerdy role before considering the spiderman role.

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    • mrhalfcircle

      May 21st 2009, 21:23

      It's about time we saw Electro on the big screen with The Lizard as a cracking secondary villain. More Raimi-style zippy camera work, it worked so well with Doc Oc in number 2. Keep Kirsten Dunst as MJ. I hate it when a lead actress/actor is replaced in a sequel. (How many of you would've preferred to have seen Katie Holmes blown to smitherines in The Dark Knight)? Less Emo, Better plot, Respectable villains. None of that "Pandering to the Fanboys" nonsense.

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    • T12AV15

      May 22nd 2009, 0:16

      I agree with mrhalfcircle, even though i did say get rid of maguire i do hate it when lead characters are changed in sequels, (especially in the batman films as katie holmes was much better than Maggie Gyllenhaal and my god was she the ugliest lead actress in a comic book film). But i still do believe maguire was a bad choice from the off. Who is the character from the spidey cartoons, he was a black vampire dude and rode a motorbike, kinda looked like blade. I apologise if its obvious who he is its just i watched that cartoon when i was like 11 and im 21 now.

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    • thedarkknight

      May 22nd 2009, 1:22

      It's simple. Get Chris Nolan. Problem solved. Thank me later.

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    • sowasred2012

      May 22nd 2009, 11:03

      @T12AV15 Um... that WAS Blade. Now that I'm thinking about it - anyone see the alternate ending to Blade? He gets out on to the street after the fight with Frost and sees a guy standing on a rooftop? Am I right in thinking that that guy was implied as being Morbius? I did I just assume it was?

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    • venom1982

      May 22nd 2009, 18:32

      I agree with basically everything that has been said esspecially about the dancing ewwww not something that needed to be put up on the big screen. I think the lizard is deffinatly the best choice for the next villian with morbius story starting in the same vein as connors. Introduce the guy have him floating and flitting about in the background and end on a cliff hanger aka iron man's tony stark meeting with nick fury to set up avengers film. This in my opinion is the best way to handle these comic films as the history and depth to the charcters is tottally key. The lack of this back story and sam's obvious dislike or misunderstanding of venom is what ruined what could have been a great story arc that would have led to carnageand beyond. But never mind whats done is done time to move on and hope to hell he has got his head back were it should be. I guess we shall all wait with fingers crossed and breath held till some evidence appears

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    • punchdrunklove

      May 26th 2009, 10:35

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt as spidey???

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    • slippyskills

      May 28th 2009, 20:03

      WOT? Maguire is a brilliant peter parker . . he was so good in that roll in the first film. The last film got so horribley sopa operaish with the love story that the girl i was sitting next to was crying . . i don't expect that from spiderman . . it's not on. The Lizard is such a big character in the comic with his jekyl and hyde persona and his development into a monster, he needs to be in at least one of the spiderman films . . personally i'de never heard of sandman and venom's participation in the film was incredibley feeble. Scorpion was one of my favourite villans, but the ultimate bad guy has to be Carnage, would love the film to have a slightly higher age certificate to visualize Carnage's psychopathic murder sprees with a darker nastier tone like The Watchmen. I think Morbius has great scope for more gothic visuals though..and perhaps even Blade could be utilized in the story.

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    • nacton

      Jun 22nd 2010, 7:25

      ARE you serious, toby is a terrible peter parker. his lips dont move when he talks for one, for two spider man is frikkin jacked, toby is fat and that should be enough. when toby walked in with a beer belly you think that would have got him fired. and who let them shoot the sceen with emo peter dancing, you think someone could have spole up and said it was lame. toby maquire is a nerd. in spidey one they gave him a four pack. ya nice lighting but spidey is RIPPED out of this world. and hes a lil arrogant at times, toby lacks on screen confidence. but he sure pulled that lame emo point-walk-dance thing off. seriously c'mon dunst has a purtruding tooth, she not pretty, mj is spossed to be smokin , and talks like toby, without moving their lips. she urks me, mj is also cocky too she calls peter tiger with a straight face you have to have some confidence for that. right? and eric forman is not a suitable venom, even tho he tried really hard. harry and his father were perfect for their roles. visuals for spidey were top notch, i wouldnt want to see any less, and i liked sand man perfect actor, but wouldnt he have been a more realistic venom again eric foreman... no no toby maguire... no nonono dunst nononononono!!! but hey its only the 3 most memorable characters in the franchise please start over, i dont like watching a fat spiderman , watch spidey 3 and look at his abs when harry cuts his shirt open. ha no lighting there, ill be spidey c mon

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