Sam Raimi’s return to horror, Drag me to Hell, is rapidly approaching it’s release date and Raimi has been doing a ton of press for the film. I actually think the film is exciting enough to fill an entire interview itself, but it appears as though I am the only one who thinks that. The one subject reporters are repeatedly grilling Raimi about is his next Spiderman film. I guess I get it. Spiderman is a big money maker and Raimi’s first two Spidey films were amazing, so people want to know if Spiderman 4 will be like the first two amazing films, or closer to the Spidey 3 debacle. As you can imagine, with all the Spiderman questions being asked, the web is slowly being flooded with excerpts from Raimi’s various interviews and tons of speculation from the fanboys. If you haven’t seen or heard anything about the fourth film, here is a brief excerpt from an interview with Cinematical, where Raimi had something very interesting to say about his motivations for making another Spiderman film:
“I learn lessons on every single picture I make, I learned a lot on [Drag Me To Hell], about timing, and that you don’t have to give up any character at the expense of horror. It’s just an excuse that maybe I’ve used in the past. As far as Spider-Man, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about what people didn’t like and missteps that I’d made. But I learned those lessons on the previous two, I was just a little quieter about them. I made a lot of mistakes, and it’s part of the reason I so want to make this next story of Peter Parker…
I really think I know in my heart who the character is, and I haven’t quite been able to sing the song yet, or bring it out to the extent or degree of detail that I feel in my heart that I can. And I may not be successful, but I still feel like I know it better than I’m able to play it; I feel like the kid that really practiced at the piano recital, with years of comic books, and when I got to my other recitals, I sometimes made some missteps with them. There’s a whole crowd there and they think that’s as well as I know the piece, but I really do know it a lot better than that and I would like one more chance at that character. The Spider-Man films, I’ve made mistakes, but I really do look at them as things that I’ve learned, and hope that when I apply what I’ve learned to this next one, I really make a film that people enjoy and is really true to the character in a fresh, original way. That’s my goal.”
If I had to guess, I’d say that the majority of people who saw Spiderman 3 really enjoyed it. If you were a fanboy or had some sort of vested rooting interest in any of the included characters, you were at the very least disappointed. Personally, I was very upset with the way Venom was portrayed in the film. First and foremost, despite what Raimi thinks about the character, Venom is a complex villain capable of handling the villain duties all by himself. If done properly, there would be no need for a second villain, even if that second villain was a very minor one. So when the film tried to juggle 3 villains, it “fell flat on it’s face.” I liked Sandman, and I thought the character was done very well. He was probably not deep enough to to be the only villain in the film, so I understand the need to add another villain to the mix. Harry as the new Goblin fit the bill perfectly, and was also handled well. So why in the world would you add a complex villain, one who is arguably Spidey’s toughest foe and most complex nemesis, to the already crowded roster? If you really wanted to feature Venom in the film, then why not remove Sandman? I’ve heard that Raimi never liked Venom, and only added him to the film at the request of the studio, who were trying to appease the Venom fanboys. I love Venom, and I really wanted to see him as a villain for Spidey to face on film since seeing the first film. When I heard that he was included, I was thrilled. After seeing the movie, I was immensely disappointed. As badly as I wanted to see Venom on the big screen, I would’ve rather seen the character held off for the fourth film. I could go on for hours and hours about how disappointed I was with Raimi’s interpretation of Eddie Brock, but I’m sure all of you out there who know even a little bit about the character outside of the third Spidey film know what I’m talking about. Eddie Brock was not a skinny little wimp. ‘Nuff said.
Despite my disappointments with the movie, I am very excited about Sam Raimi doint another film, and I think it’s likely that Spidey 4 will be better than Spidey 3 by about a mile. Toby Maquire wants to be involved, and Raimi wants him back, so that’s good news there. Unfortunately, all the casting rumors are not good ones. Word is that Raimi has discussed bringing back Mary Jane with Kirsten Dunst reprising her role in the next film. There is where I sour on the casting ideas. I couldn’t stand her performance as MJ. She was terrible, and did not remind me of the MJ from the comics in even the slightest way. I was hoping that the end of Spidey 3 would serve as an excuse to keep Dunst away from the franchise. I’d rather see the love interest in the next film be Gwen Stacey. She was introduced in the last film, so there would be no worries about introducing a new character to audiences. Comic fans will point to the fact that the death of Gwen Stacey was a massive event in Spiderman lore, and it helped shape who Spiderman is today (in the comics of course). Taking that plot line, and spreading it out over the course of two or even three films would greatly enhance the drama and raw human emotion that made the first two Spidey films so special, and that also happened to be the only real good thing about the third film.
As for villains, I keep hearing people clamoring for more Venom, or his symbiote offspring Carnage. It was rumored a short while back that Raimi was interested in featuring Morbius and the Lizard. Another villain whose name has been tossed around in recent months is Kraven the Hunter. Spiderman has one of Marvel’s best rogues gallery, so there is no lack of options here. I’ve always been a fan of Elecktro and Shocker, and I think the two of them would work well together in the same film. Neither one of them is too big to be a solo villain, yet neither is too small to rule out. They would be the perfect combo of villains for our favorite web slinger to face off with. As much as I want to see those two in the same film, I can’t argue with the fact that an appearance by the Lizard is way past overdue. They’ve been teasing it for a while now, with Parker’s professor getting enough screen time to give fans the reasonable expectations that the Lizard would be squaring off with Spidey some time in the near future. The problem is, I don’t think the lizard is a strong enough villain to be the only baddie of the film, and the only other villain I think would work well with him would be Kraven the Hunter, coming to New York to hunt down the elusive giant Lizard. I’d heard before the release of the second film that Raimi was seriously considering Kraven as a villain, to be played by B-movie icon Bruce Campbell. It would make sense, as Raimi and Campbell are close friends with a long history, and Raimi has found a way to incorporate him in other Spidey flicks. I’d love to see those two team up, as long as Campbell is the one playing Kraven.
I’m really glad Raimi admits that his last film wasn’t great, and he seems to genuinely want to make up for this by taking the time to do the next film the RIGHT WAY. Sam Raimi is an immensely talented director, and he has shown he has a very unique and solid take on the character that is close enough to comic lore to appease fanboys. There is no one I’d rather see in the directors chair for this film, and I completely trust Raimi to produce a rock solid film with proper character development, which was exactly what was missing from the third film. He knows that, and he will find a way to correct that. No matter who he chooses as the villains, or who he chooses for the love interest, I have faith that Spiderman 4 will be a box office smash, and it will be good enough to actually deserve all the money it will undoubtedly make.
I’m curious, What are your thoughts on all this? Do you think Sam Raimi deserves another crack at Spiderman? Can he make up for his past mistakes? Who would you like to see as the film’s villain? Please, let your voice be heard! In the mean time, you can rest assured that I will be keeping you all informed of any news as it develops.