After a lot of drama in the past few weeks, it was reported today that director Sam Raimi would be walking away from the Spider-Man franchise, and taking Tobey Maguire with him, leading to a decision by Sony to reboot the franchise with a script by original Spider-Man 4 scribe, Jamie Vanderbilt, and a director to be named later. Hopefully, this means I no longer have to fear seeing Anne Hathaway in a bad, platinum blond wig. Sadly, it also means I won't get to see John Malkovich, the scariest actor alive, fly around with goofy green wings and a feathery, white collar. It definitely means no more of Kirsten Dunst's annoyingly dreary Mary Jane Watson, which should, at least, be the one thing we can all agree is reason to rejoice. Maybe now Maguire and Dunst can join James Franco in the cast of General Hospital.
I have mixed feelings about this. I was really hoping that Sony would let Raimi make the movie he wanted to make, like they did with Spider-Man 2, and not impose stories and characters on him, like forcing Venom into Spider-Man 3. The Vulture is a great, classic Spidey villain, and it would have been really fun to see if they could have done with him what they did with Dr. Octopus. It was pretty clear from all the rumors flying about that it wasn't going to happen though, and if Raimi felt his hands were tied creatively by the time restraints of the release date, it's better that he walked away. I don't think any of us wanted to sit through another Spider-Man 3. (There's about half a good movie there, which just makes it worse. All that wasted potential is just frustrating to watch.)
Maybe now Sam Raimi can go back to directing movies like A Simple Plan and The Gift. I've kind of missed that Sam Raimi anyway. (I still haven't watched Drag Me to Hell though, so I haven't missed him too much. Actually, Evil Dead 2 and Spider-Man 2 are my favorite Raimi movies, so if he wanted to retire and sculpt bunny statues for the rest of his life, I doubt I'd mind. Getting back to the more varied career he was working on prior to Spider-Man would be interesting though.)
I'm glad that Sony did the smart thing and decided to reboot the franchise, instead of making Spider-Man 4 with a different director and star. Unlike the Hulk reboot, people other than comic book fans are interested in Spider-Man movies, so people will probably go see it instead of just wondering what it's connection is to some other movie they didn't go see a few years earlier. (OK, most people probably didn't even bother to wonder about The Incredible Hulk, but that just further proves that it won't matter if the next Spider-Man movie is a sequel or a reboot.) A reboot at least allows for the potential, however unlikely, of the next Spider-Man movie being more like Batman Begins or Casino Royale than Batman Forever or, shudder to think, X-Men 3. (Now we just have to hope and pray that Brett Ratner is too busy adapting Rob Leifeld comics to be considered for the directing job. What's McG doing now? I'd like to make sure he's too busy to be involved too. Also, I hope it won't actually be like Batman Begins or Casino Royale, because the tone of those movies isn't very Spidey, if you know what I mean.)
If Sony was really smart, they would have gotten Greg Weisman and the rest the Spectacular Spider-Man writing staff to work on the next movie. That cartoon is as close to perfect as any Spider-Man adaptation has ever gotten. Still, this is me with my optimistic face on. Until I have reason to believe otherwise, I'm hoping that 2012 brings Spidey in all his wise-cracking glory, and a Mary Jane Watson that finally does justice to one of my favorite female characters in all of superhero comics. If it doesn't, well, maybe the world will end in the beginning of the year, instead of waiting until December 21st, and we can all pretend it would have been the greatest thing ever.