Sony just announced that they’re discarding Sam Raimi and the entire Spider-Man franchise along with him. Instead they’re starting over, rebooting the whole thing, and putting Peter Parker back in high school. Read the details here and join us in utter incredulity. This could be the worst idea in Hollywood’s long history of worst ideas and here’s a few reasons why:
The Original Franchise Is Too Fresh In Our Minds
Throughout the 00s we all loved and flocked to the Spider-Man movies even when they disappointed us, and most of us still remember the best scenes and memorable lines from the first three films. These memories will not be erased just because you tell us it's time for Peter Parker to go back to high school in 2012.
Spider-Man Only Worked Because Of Raimi’s Passion For The Character
Raimi was a bizarre choice to handle a movie as expensive as Spider-Man but his childhood affections for the character and understanding of his psychology paid off in one of the smartest superhero movies ever made. No Spider-Man movie will ever again be a passion project in the same way the first two were.
Sony Ruined Spider-Man 3 And Now They Have Complete Control
Raimi walked off Spider-Man 4 specifically because Sony was pushing him around the way they did on Spider-Man 3, and now they're free to hire a complete yes-man who will put five villains into the script and get Mary Jane to show her boobs. Movies directed by a studio with dollar signs in their eyes will never, ever be good.
There Is Only One Spider-Man And He Is Tobey Maguire
Christopher Nolan could make Christian Bale Batman just six years after George Clooney played him because half a dozen other actors had already played the role. But only one actor has played Spider-Man on film, and while he's still young and fit enough for the part, he's the only one we'll want-- whether we like it or not.
Letting Spider-Man 3 Be Raimi’s Last Word Is Cruel
Before he walked away, all signs pointed to Raimi going for a redemption after the studio-tampered disaster that was the third film. Now our lasting memory of Peter Parker will be dancing down the street with slicked-back hair. Is that really what you want, Sony?
Drag Me To Hell
Raimi's still got it. Why toss out talent?
Please, No More Origin Stories
Sony has already announced they're sending Peter Parker back to high school, where presumably he'll get bitten by the radioactive spider all over again. Not only are we all familiar enough with the character to bypass the origin story entirely, but we're sick of origins in general. The last thing we need is to "meet" Spider-Man all over again, no matter how new the guy playing him is.
You’ve Already Used Up Spider-Man’s Best Villains
In Batman Begins it might have been the same old Batman up on screen, but we hadn’t seen him fight the Scarecrow or Ra’s al Ghul before. It was a reboot, but a reboot that kicked of with something new. Except unlike Batman, Spider-Man’s strength has never been bad guys. Raimi already used up all of Spider-Man’s best villains which means we’ll either be stuck with a reboot in which he fights the same old characters, or a reboot in which he fights someone incredibly lame.
From casting Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin to Thomas Haden Church as Sandman, Raimi made unconventional choices for the actors playing his villains, and was going for it again with John Malkovich as the Vulture in Spidey 4. How much do you want to bet that the reboot features "Glowering Villain #2" from Central Casting just to save a few bucks?
Revenge Isn’t A Good Reason To Make A Movie
You’re not fooling anyone. There’s only one reason you’re rebooting this franchise and that’s revenge. You could have made another sequel without Raimi but he pissed you off, and now you’re trying to show him what happens to people who refuse to do your bidding by replacing his entire franchise with a new franchise that rehashes everything we’ve already seen. Sony, you’re a movie studio, not a petulant child. Revenge is a great motive for super villains, but it’s a shitty reason to put something on screen.
The Hulk Law Of Diminishing Returns
When Universal rebooted Hulk only five years after Ang Lee did it, The Incredible Hulk earned better reviews and was better received by almost everyone who saw it. Unfortunately, it still failed to build on the first movie’s box office take… because everyone had already seen it the first time around. You’re in a far worse position here. At least people hated Hulk and were ready to see someone else try it. Spider-Man is the most popular superhero franchise ever. You’re screwed.
The Batman Reboot Only Worked Because The Series Had Imploded
Say what you will about Spider-Man 3, but it is no Batman & Robin. You only get away with a full-on series reboot when the original has become so ridiculous or outdated that it can't go forward. Venom aside, Spider-Man was nowhere close.
The First Spider-Man Is Still Relevant
Spider-Man worked because it tapped into the psyche of America’s kids, gave someone they could identify with, and let them imagine themselves in Peter Parker’s shoes. Now, only eight years later, a lot of the kids who loved the first one are… well… still kids. If they were in junior high they're now in high school. If they were teenagers, well I guess they’re in college. The first movie is still relevant to the younger generation we presume you’re trying to reach, by making Spidey a kid again. They still remember the first movie. They still relate to it. They don’t need you to relate to them again.
Spider-Man Is Still Cutting Edge
I guess you could shoot it in 3D, but barring that the original Spider-Man movie is still cutting edge, the second and third ones even more so. You’re not rebooting it because the original movie looks dated, because it doesn’t. So… what do you have to gain here? You’ve already told this story and you can’t really do much to top the first film’s special effects. What’s the point?
Peter Parker Isn’t Dick Clark
There’s so much more to explore in Peter Parker’s world, it seems ridiculous to freeze him in time as some sort of eternal teenager. We were just getting to know him. His story isn’t over. Peter only works, and feels real because with each movie he grows as a person. Now you’re stunting him, trapping him as the same gawky teenager when all we really want is to know what happens next. Now, for Peter Parker, there is no next.