News: Spider-Man goes back to school as Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi sling their last web
Spider-Man 4 is no more. Instead of the further adventures of everyone’s favourite neighbourhood Spider-Man (really, how many Spider-Men can there be in one neighbourhood?), Sony have decided to send Peter Parker back to class.
It means the end of the web-slinging road for director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire, and presumably Kirsten Dunst too, although there hasn’t been a whole lot of web (that’s internet, not spider-made) outrage that she will never play Mary Jane again.
Despite Spider-Man 3 being, well, a pile of steaming goo, there is much sadness that Raimi will not be directing another movie in the series. With The Evil Dead maestro in the chair, the franchise was ridiculously successful, generating billions for Sony. However, the studio has decided it is time for a fresh start. There are widespread fears that Spidey: The High School Musical Years will pander to the basest whims of the fickle teen market, yet some hope surely must be found in the fact that Zodiac writer James Vanderbilt is on keyboard duties for the movie, slated for release in 2012.
In a fairly lame studio-speak statement, Sony said: ‘A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter’s roots and we look forward to working once again… on this new beginning.’
Raimi appeared to go along with the party line: ‘Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job.’
Surely at least a small part of him is seething that he’s been pretty much dumped off the project. Or perhaps he’s glad to have the juggernaut off his back, allowing him to concentrate on smaller, but arguably better, films – his last, Drag Me To Hell, delighted audiences and critics alike. Mind you, his planned World Of Warcraft movie is unlikely to be small.
I like to think the mess he made of Spider-Man 3 would have made Raimi keen to turn Spider-Man 4 into something pretty special, although the series ran out of decent bad guys after Doc Ock. The Vulture, anyone? Anyone? Alas, we will never know. Instead we can look forward to seeing Parker dealing with bullies, the long line in the canteen and finding his locker key.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PLANNED REBOOT? WHO DO YOU WANT TO SEE FILL MAGUIRE AND RAIMI’S SHOES?