Sony’s reboot The Amazing Spider-man has arrived to critical and financial success (and yes, it is technically a reboot since it starts a new series in a different continuity rather than just remaking the same story–well, sort of). Despite overwhelming approval of the cast (in particular Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy), most critics agree that re-telling the origin story after only a decade of seeing it in Sam Raimi’s Spider-man was completely unnecessary.
The history of bringing Spidey to the screen is a long and tangled web. Publicity hit the public for a film adaptation of the comic book hero in the ’80s, but rights issues prevented a movie from being made at that time. James Cameron planned a film in the ’90s with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Ock, but that also was sidelined. Finally, Sony Pictures acquired the rights (for a limited time) and put Raimi’s film into production for a 2002 release. Of course, it was a big hit, and its two sequels made even more money. However, as we all know, Spider-man 3 fell short of expectations and was universally dismissed by fans (to put it lightly). Raimi blamed Sony for interfering. After all, he was pretty much left alone to make the movies he wanted with the first two installments in the series, but was forced to include Venom as one of the villains even though he disliked the character.
When discussions of the fourth film came up, Raimi made it clear that he wasn’t interested in making another mess of a film, so the studio promised to back of–then promptly gave him several scripts that they insisted he film. Because the rights would revert back to Marvel if another movie was not greenlit by a certain date, studio execs pressured Raimi until he finally quit. After that, the entire cast walked off the project as well. Sony then had a choice–recast and proceed with Spider-man 4 or simply start a brand new series with a new director and actors.
One of the popular screenplays they had was a retelling of the origin story, except featuring Dr. Curt Connors (AKA Lizard) instead of Green Goblin. Raimi’s films featured Dylan Baker as the one-armed scientist who mentored Peter Parker, presumably as a set-up for his eventual metamorphosis into the reptilian villain. Now that the slate was wiped clean of the past and with Sony feeling the wrath of fans after the let-down of the third of the trilogy, it was decided that even though the last film was released a mere five years ago that starting a new series was in order.
Based onThe Amazing Spider-man’s reception, it seems that Sony made the right decision. But there were other ways they could have done things. They could have given in to Raimi and made the fourth film in the series the way he wanted. They could have simply done a fourth film without Raimi and replace the actors who did not return (following the Batman model). They could have gone ahead with a reboot set in a different filmic universe, but not re-told the origin story. Or finally, they could have done this exact movie, but held off a few years to give some space between Raimi’s films and this one (what they would have done with the rights entanglement is anyone’s guess).
What do you think the right course of action would have been? Was Sony justified in making this film, or should they have gone another route? Tell us your opinion in the following poll:
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