The Tangeled Web Of Spider-Man 4

If you’ve been to any of the nerd related sites over the past week or so, you’d be aware of the massive changes and shifts to occur to the planned release of Spider-Man 4 (or Spider-M4n, depending on your source).

The first big announcement came late last week, as Sony announced that Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were being removed from the film as director and star respectively, pushing the release date of the next webswinging flick from May 2011 to Summer 2012.  The new plan – a reboot, taking the character back to his roots.

Why would Sony want to make such a dramatic change?

Tensions with Raimi.

After the high grosses (but critical lashing) of Spider-Man 3, Raimi and Maguire were hesitant to pull the trigger on a fourth Spider-Man film, unless the script was up to par.  Sony, seeing how much money Spidey 3 made, and having a deal with Marvel over the character rights similar to the Fox-Marvel deal (i.e. you have the rights, you have to make a film in x years), wanted to strike while the iron was at least still warm.

But, Sony, realizing the connection that Raimi had with the fanbase, wanted to proceed with the flick.

His vision for the film?  If rumors are to be believed, he wanted to take Avatar on directly, pushing the CGI in the next Spidey flick to the next level and shoot it in 3D. Considering the third film cost a reported $258 Mil, Sony had to be a bit nervous about the prospects of the cost of the next Spider-Man, let alone bringing back Raimi and Maguire for it.

What made Sony execs even more nervous was Raimi’s envisioned storyline:

Peter Parker gets over MJ, finds a new girl, falls in love. But: Peter also discovers her father is actually the Vulture, a naughty green guy with wings to be played by John Malkovich. Peter is torn between the love of his new lady and taking down the Vulture. Being a Spandex tight-ass, he decides to take down the Vulture, and kills him. This patricide goes down poorly with Peter’s new fiancée, and she rejects him. Despondent, Peter decides to abandon his superpowers, and Movie No. 4 ends with Peter Parker throwing away his Spider-Man mask, and audiences wondering if they are watching Superman II.

Pretty grim, yes? It doesn’t help that the script, 3 writers deep, was being described as a “schizophrenic mess”

So it’s easy to see why the progress on the Fourth film was being delayed, and it was eventually killed last week.

After a week of rumor and scuttlebutt, we can finally put some details to rest about the relaunch of Spider-Man, set to come in 2012.

Officially announced today by Sony (as I rumored last week), director Marc Webb will be helming the project.  With only one theatrical feature under his belt ((500) Days of Summer), it’s a risky move, but I think he can pull it off.

Furthermore, in the interest of starting fresh, it’s being reported today that the film will take it’s notes from the Brian Michael Bendis helmed Ultimate Spider-Man series.  This is a great move from the creative team, especially as in my book, that’s the greatest Spidey comic of the past 10 years.

Webb thus far is not signed on for a full trilogy, but one last bit worth noting…the budget for Spidey 2012? “Just” $80 mil.  Could this be the “indie” styled comic book movie nerds have dreamed of? Or will the production values falter under an inexperienced director with little budget?

Either way, all eyes are on Marc Webb as the next step in the Spider-Man film legacy is being taken.  And you know I’ll report every moment of it. Color me tentatively excited.

Peter Parker gets over MJ, finds a new girl, falls in love. But: Peter also discovers her father is actually the Vulture, a naughty green guy with wings to be played by John Malkovich. Peter is torn between the love of his new lady and taking down the Vulture. Being a Spandex tight-ass, he decides to take down the Vulture, and kills him. This patricide goes down poorly with Peter’s new fiancée, and she rejects him. Despondent, Peter decides to abandon his superpowers, and Movie No. 4 ends with Peter Parker throwing away his Spider-Man mask, and audiences wondering if they are watching Superman II.