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6 Guidelines The Next ‘Spider-Man’ Film Needs To Follow
Tom Cheredar   |  

Spider-Man 4: CancelledIf you’re wondering why the studio decided to scrap the fourth installment of Spider-Man in an effort to reboot the franchise, look no further than Batman Forever as justification.

Seriously, go back and look at the progression of these films and tell me they were consistently getting better and not worse. Let me list off some of the sins committed in no particular order: Green Goblin Suit of Armor, Emo Spider-Man, Hal Sparks cameo (why?), Macy Gray singing, Topher Grace as Venom, Venom being crammed into a movie about Sandman…

I’ll stop.

Honestly, you can’t blame the studio for wanting to reboot the whole franchise when the most frequent thing out of people’s mouths were how much they hated the last film. So if they plan on doing a reboot, here are some basic guidelines they need to follow if they want to be successful…

1. Don’t Make Another Origin Story

I mean it. I don’t need to see more than two minutes recapping how Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider, blah blah blah. Yes the origin could have been better in the first movie. No, I do not want to pay to see that happen. Give me something to chew on please.

2. Trade Dorky Peter Parker For Smartass Peter Parker

Peter Parker: GeniusThis is a revamp of a franchise that was already making ridiculous sums of money. But the studio actually had the balls to call it like they see it. The fourth Raimi/Toby Maguire Spidey movie would have been awful even if it did manage to make its money back. And at this point I don’t think that’s even the goal in a post The Dark Knight box office world. A good retelling of a super-hero story will make its money back several times over and then some. With that being said, I’ve heard talk about making this flick “dark and gritty” which is a huge mistake. This is Spider-Man, not The Batman.

And as such, you don’t need to make it gritty. But I don’t want to see dorky Peter Parker anymore, which Toby was great at playing. I want to see the wisecracking smart-ass that Brian Michael Bendis writes in the New Avengers. I want Spider-MAN, not Spider-Emo-Boy. There are plenty of talented actors out there capable of pulling off a geeky smartass who can still understand that with great power comes great responsibility.

3. Play With The Universe This Time

Every villain Spider-Man has faced in the comics isn’t worth devoting a 2-hour film to. Bad guys like the Rhino, The Spot, Swarm, Boomerang, The Beetle, Hydro-Man, Hammerhead, and so many more — none of them can carry a film. I’m gonna come right out and say that if you choose a bunch of them and form a Sinister Six, I’ll probably also hate the plot, too. However, if the opening sequence is of the Rhino smashing through a bank vault, that would be pretty cool. Let’s try to add some elements to this next film that don’t restrict themselves to a few big bads, ok? Furthermore, you don’t have to tie every notable character’s story together. This isn’t Marvel Team-up.

4. Villains: Give Costumes A Rest

The Many Villains of Spider-ManThis was something they did well when they rebooted the Batman franchise because the costumed villains weren’t the main focus. The ideal choice for a non-costumed villain is of course the Kingpin, but he’s tied up in Daredevil land. Choose another, develop the character, and make me care about him. Let him pull the strings of the city and let Spider-Man find himself overwhelmed when attempting to take him down. Next…

5. Bring Back The Web Shooters

I don’t care if “the concept of shooting webs organically translates better in film.” Honestly, I don’t fucking care. That isn’t Spider-Man no matter how much you try to shove it down my throat. Parker is suppose to be this untapped scientific genius. Bring back the web shooters. Do not go into a 10-minute reel of showing Peter Parker creating them from scratch. Seriously. Just bring them back.

6. Cameos: Stan Lee, Colbert, and others

Stephen Colbert variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man, courtesy of Marvel.comTo make a film based on a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and not putting him in the movie just seems like the biggest slap in the face of them all. Remember studio, we don’t just love Spider-Man, we love “The Man” just as much. Furthermore, since this should NOT be a gritty flick, other cameos should be included into the film. I would advise against Macy Gray and Hal Sparks or anyone else who would make me go “OK… wtf?”. Alternatively, throw a celebrity that actually did make it inside the pages of the actual comic book. Stephen Colbert comes to mind…

  • Hollywood has been running out of good ideas for a while. So far all re-boots have been loaded with FAIL.. If these steps are followed then the new film would have a chance, if not, make way for the FAIL BOAT.

  • For me the biggest mistake this franchise made was going with ‘Organic Web powers.’ It changed the whole freakin’ game. Peter Parker is supposed to be super intelligent, as evidenced by the fact that he can and does invent his own web shooters. Organic webs allow his character to be any given moron.

    And, his ‘web powers’ coming & going because he’s depressed and unsure of himself—With all due respect… um, FUCK THAT SHIT, Raimi!

    (Hey, I said ‘with all due respect’)

  • I so hope Sony Pictures’ Twitter ( is wrong about Peter going back to high school. I don’t want Spider-Boy either.

    The thing I was hoping for Spidey 4 was to start a trilogy that would eventually lead to Sinister Six in movie six. They can still do it.

  • Maybe I didn’t care for the Green Goblin’s makeover in Spidey 1, and the tacked-on Venom plotline in #3 totally turned what would have been a great movie into high-tech cheesefest (that, and the “flying Sandman” borne by ever-convenient winds) but what’s clear is that the first two got way more right than they got wrong.

    I love the first two flicks, and hope someday someone will take to the editing room and crop Venom out of what would have been a good Spider-Man #3 – But a REBOOT? and by the corporate weenies that shoved Venom down Rami’s throat to begin with?

    Nah, I want to see a Spider-Man #4 with Rami taking back creative control, and the same core cast, and a return to the spirit of the first two films.

    Seriously if there’s a reboot, I’m not going to see it in theaters, I’ll just buy the DVD at a garage sale years later.

  • Dr.Necropolis

    Compromise…Make Colbert the Villian!

  • JOHN

    New york is gritty, it’s dark as well. WHAT I WANT IS REALISM. Not some self-indulgent Burton-esque darkness, but realism. You have to capture the realism of new york, in all it’s colors (this means dark and gritty as well as blue skies and sunshine). Many people seem to think it’s either/or and it’s pure BS. Raimi failed miserably to capture the tone and scale of New York IMO. Fincher was going to do Spidey pre- Raimi and Cameron before that. You don’t think these guys would have played a much more realistic tone (with darker elements) then Raimi? Of course they would. And those films would have been just as big and just as true to the character. I also think they would have been better. There would have been the wise cracking and humor, but in a much more grounded context. It would have been closer to the vest. I hope they approach Fincher again, maybe Cameron. Someone who can approach it from a differnt perspective and really take the source material to the level it deserved to be taken in the first place. No Michael Bay types, thank you.

  • Katie O

    Great list Tom.

  • Well, I obviously know NOTHING about the actual Spider-Man reading all of this.


    I do completely agree with the origins thing though, seems pointless. But as @Niko said, I think that was a path they might be going down, probably because they don’t want it to be a “sequel” and if they don’t start over, it would be.

    I’m more curious how this will play into that Venom spinoff. I still have fingers crossed that they want to introduce a proper Venom before doing the spinoff of him…with Carnage.

  • Slipstream

    7. Don’t make the film at all.

    And this couldn’t be more thought about. It’s just a bad idea, and I disagree that Spider-Man 4 under Raimi’s lead would of been a bad idea. this blog has posted his direct quotes on how he plans to undo the wrongs that 3 did, which is easy because character wise, the story went nowhere in 3, besides Harry dying.

    At least Raimi can now get to work on Warcraft.

  • Let’s see… how can we really screw this next Spider Man movie up?

    1. Give the Spider Man suit nipples and a codpiece.
    2. Turn it into a musical or a gross out comedy.
    3. Woefully mis-cast the movie (let’s make Greg Kinner pretend he’s a teenage Peter Parker).
    4. Base the half the plot of the movie on insider/fan stuff about how this is consciously a reboot and how it was different last time around.
    5. Have the entire film take place in near real-time (a 2.5 hour movie takes place over 12 hours or less.)

  • mrbinky

    I actually think dark & gritty is the way to go. Otherwise we’re gonna end up with a crappy family flick not worth watching. In reality, they’ll probably turn it into a late teen / young adult adventure and go for the Twilight crowd. Major suck.

    Another Spiderman movie makes me nervous, with or without a reboot.

  • phil

    as for losing his powers e.g wall crawling in PT2, the cartoon version of it explains that spidey is still mutating because he was bit by a radioactive spider, meaning he IS a mutant and that his powers are still changing within his body.

    as for rebooting; its not like fans have a say in it. Batman Begins was a sleeper comic book movie that needed that change in the Batman franchise. Spiderman slipped and is now hanging off the cliff with a tired hand. They really need to think about what TONE they want the movie to be e.g. Spiderman 2, which was very good and serious enough to make me think of 3 before it came out, thinking it was going to be as good.

    I just saw 500 Days of Summer and read the Marc Webb might shoot the next spidey movie. Now…this is just me but I think the dude Joseph Gordon Levitt(?) who was the star of 500 days… should adution for spiderman.

  • Chuck Deuce

    Dark & Gritty? They’re making Spider-Man not Daredevil!

    MARVEL (The one that Disney bought) has lost the original vision. ORDINARY PEOPLE, with EXTRA-ORDINARY situations. A teenager peter parker is what needs to be shown. Webshooters were an oversight by lee & ditko. Organic shooters *are* a better fit. But, just to look at it another way for a second…OK, so he makes webshooters. Now what? If he’s shooting webs all over the place like the comics to get from A to B, and uses them to contain his prey (bad guys), then he’s gonna be like a Clint Eastwood type of Spaghetti Western Cowboy that uses a gun with unlimited ammo? Or, does he run out of webbing fluid and realize “Oh damn! No webbing! Curse that spider for biting me and only giving me wall crawling and strength.”

  • I find it more than ironic that Raimi severed his ties with the franchise because where the studio execs wanted to go with the villian.

    Students of Comic Book History will remember that Steve Ditko (whom many feel is the real creative genius behind Spiderman) allegedly severed his ties with Stan Lee because Ditko didn’t like the direction Stan wanted to go with a villain (the goblin).

    Personally, I did not like the Spiderman movies (with the sole exception of parts of #2) because they seemed to much “Stan Lee” and not enough “Steve Ditko.” too sappy, wimpy, corny.

    While people may remember Rami from the Evil Dead films as a horror/action director, I think his real love is for family drama (the Tin Cup, Simple Plan, for the love of the game,) and slapstick comedy(crimewave, parts of Evil Dead 2, 3) This is not the kind of director I wanted for Spiderman.

    Tobey would not be my first choice for this part, and I kept hoping they would give the role to someone else in each sequel.

    I imagined Ditko’s version to be a really frustrated kid who was never emo-wimpy – he was just physically weak until he got his super powers. He was frequently angry at his peers (flash thompson, etc.) and his outlet for this was being Spiderman. Heck, he even fought with the human torch and tried to become a member of the fantastic four (for money, no less!) – at least in the early comics (which I feel are the best). I didn’t get this kind of character from the movies.

    So I am all in favor of getting a emotionally stronger/wise-cracking spiderman!! and yes, bring back the web shooters! Running out of fluid in the middle of a fight was always a fascinating plot device in the books.

    and while they are at it, let’s bring back his “Spidey sense” too! There were too many times that Parker was surprised by people/villains sneaking up on him in the movies. His spidey sense didn’t even warn him about who was the goblin when he met him without his mask (and I hated that green costume!), and he didn’t know when Doc Ock was going to attack!! (at least, that is how I remember it)

    oh. one more thing. Aunt May was fragile – emotionally and physically – old woman in the comics. There was always a worry about Parker going out as spiderman and his aunt May not being cared for. In the movie, she was a tough old cookie that I wouldn’t hesitate to leave alone for a while. And didn’t she find out Parker’s identity in the movies? in the comics, that would have killed her!

    So, in my opinion, there is more than enough changes for an effective reboot. New actor, stronger Parker. new action-based director. web shooters. spidey sense, fragile Aunt May. I would see that. definitely.

  • Chuck Deuce

    @Steve Benkin:

    I can’t account for what level of input Ditko had in the inception of the character that became the Spider-Man we know today. Then again, the Spider-Man of today in the comics teaches High School science, has been married, divorced, and by a deal with the devil-never married. He’s been cloned, had a black costume that was really a symbiote with abandonment issues, and revealed his ID to the world while wearing StarkTech Spider Armor. Did Ditko have anything to do with the last 40 years of Character EVOLUTION? For that matter, did Stan Lee?

    This is why I have a hard time with the families of Siegel & Shuster getting a claim to the Superman rights. Siegel & Shuster did the initial work, but it took the collective of DC’s bullpen to evolve a one-dimentional character about a musclehead in a cape with a big S on his chest to become an American Icon.

    If you are right about Ditko’s differnce in opinion about making Parker into a full blown puss, then I disagree. Parker needs to be that sunken-chested, nerdy kid with the glasses that FANTASIZES about being able to take out the jock bully. Does he? No way in hell…he gets his ass handed to him by the dorks in the AV club, how’s he supposed to deal with Flash Thompson?

    The costume is his way of protecting his family from harm (Aunt May), and at the same time, compensate for the years of torment he went through as Puny Parker.

    I’ve read ASM off and on since ’75, and my favorite creative teams were Joe Straczynski (w/Romita Jr), J. M. DeMatteis, and David Michelinie.

    The character has been allowed to grow and not always in directions I can appreciate (CLONE?!).

    He really is Marvel’s answer to Batman.

  • klor

    you know what people? just forget about this. i don’t give a crap about a stupid reboot of spider-man. if they’re not gonna make a fourth movie then they might as well don’t create a reboot at all.

  • Ttandc

    @Phil I’m guessing you havn’t read marvel comics before because only somebody that hasn’t read marvel comics before or somebody that has and didn’t understand them would say that. I’ll choose the later and explain. In the Marvel universe a “Mutant” is somebody BORN with a mutation in their body. Parker was not born with this, it was a scientific mistake. If your going to say that then the Incredible Hulk and Captain America are also mutants. Please get your facts straight before stating facts.

  • Ttandc

    As for guidelines for a film reboot. Simple One movie = one hero and one villian. Doing more than that just makes the movie worse not better. A movie needs to portray the characters to the standards the fans know them as, otherwise we get movies like spiderman 3 or the old batman franchise, where hardly any explanation is given to the villains because they are just jamming them in there with other villains and they just look stupid.

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  • Chuck,
    Valid points. I guess I lost interest in Spiderman after Ditko left. Yes, his character has changed since then. And true, Ditko had nothing to do with the last few decades of development.

    Maybe it was Tobey’s interpretation that irked me. I liked Peter Parker in the comics. I didn’t like his character in the movies – but that is just a personality thing.

    All that being said, I still think there is a lot of room for changes in the movies that could really make these films even better, and more than enough room for a meaningful reboot. In my opinon, of course!

  • Deadpool

    If done correctly a reboot could be great. First, Marvel Studios needs to be in charge, not Sony. Then, we need a great script. If the story is good, then the movie will be. We definitely need the smart-ass wise cracking Spidey. That always bothered me about the previous movies. Could care less about the web shooters. I had no problem with the organic shooters cause it made sense in the plot of the movie. Now for the villains. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…it doesn’t matter. Batman Begins had 2 villains. The Dark Knight had 3, (a minor cameo by Scarecrow) not counting the mobsters. As long as the characters are taken seriously, it doesn’t matter how many. Finally my most important suggestion. If you reboot this, then plan ahead. Don’t blow your whole wad in the first movie. (DC saved the Joker for the 2nd film.) Plan that this will be a series and act accordingly. Think trilogy, not sequel. Comic books are a serial. They set things up for later. This will work in the movies as well. The Iron Man and Hulk movies did this. Let’s bring Spidey into the shared Marvel movie Universe.

  • Black Cat

    Written like a real Spidey fan. Well said. Like others, I’m concerned that the studios talks of taking Peter Parker back to high school for the reboot will result in a cast of Twilight-like actors to target that audience, but I think the reboot might be the chance to get it right. If done like Bendis’ Ultimate series it could be good without running the risk of being repetitive. Whatever it is they need to take their time to do it right by all the Spidey fans who will make them millions, instead of rushing creativity just to make a deadline.

  • I pretty much agree with everything you’ve written here.. especially about the dorky party. Sure, Peter was a geek – but he knew how to deliver effective quips as much as he knows how to swing around the city while battling villains. That’s what I really want to see on a Spidey film!

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