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The Amazing Spider-Man

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Links to the threads on Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014).

Links to our threads on the original Spider-Man (2002) at the old Novogate discussion board:

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EXCLUSIVE: Sony Locks In Sam Raimi & Toby Maguire in 'Spider-Man 4'; Studio May Shoot '4' and '5' At The Same Time

It's time to end once and for all the rampant speculation. Sony doesn't want any info to leak but I'm told that both star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi will be returning to make Zodiac screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt's script of Spider-Man 4. Sources tell me that Sony has recently locked in both veterans of Spider-Man 1 through 3. And I do mean recently because just a few weeks ago sources told me that Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal was openly discussing Tobey's potential replacements with various Hollywood agents because Tobey was hanging tough about a deal. "She was looking around to cover herself because Sony wanted him badly and Tobey wasn't sure he wanted to do it," an insider explained to me. There's no deal yet for Kirsten Dunst but Mary Jane Watson will be featured. I'm told Sony "would never recast her" despite her rehab problems.

Nikki Finke, Deadline Hollywood Daily, September 5

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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'Spider-Man 4' lands Pulitzer pen

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire got out of a rabbit hole, only to be ensnared by a spider's web.

Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer in 2007 for his drama "Rabbit Hole," is in final negotiations to write "Spider-Man 4" for Columbia.

Hollywood Reporter, October 31

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Scribe tapped for 'Spider-Man 4'

Gary Ross has been brought on board to do a rewrite on Columbia's "Spider-Man 4." . . .

The move also puts Ross back to work with Maguire, with whom he worked on his directorial vehicles "Pleasantville" and "Seabiscuit." The two were also working on "Tokyo Suckerpunch," a drama set up at Columbia; that project is now on hold as Ross tackles another writing project, Columbia's Lance Armstrong biopic.

Hollywood Reporter, July 8

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Sony sets writer to spin 'Spider-Man'

As Sony Pictures Entertainment preps a fourth installment of "Spider-Man" to begin production early next year, the studio has quietly engaged screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen "Spider-Man 5" and "Spider-Man 6."

Vanderbilt was the first writer on "Spider-Man 4." Director Sam Raimi brought on "Rabbit Hole" playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to rewrite him, and Gary Ross is now rewriting that script. The studio is enthusiastic about where it stands as the picture begins prepping for an early 2010 production start for a May 2011 release.

Raimi didn't embrace all of Vanderbilt's ideas, but execs at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios have. Vanderbilt has been hired to pen the fifth and sixth movies, which have an interconnected storyline. That's what was originally discussed when Vanderbilt signed on to write "Spider-Man 4," but the idea of shooting a fourth and fifth film back to back with the original cast was scrapped.

Sources said it was unclear whether Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be back. If they aren't, Vanderbilt's script would be the blueprint for a franchise reboot. . . .

Variety, August 16

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Movieline reports on villain news:

If negotiations proceed according to plan, Malkovich will be playing Spider-Man’s nemesis the Vulture, who packs a punch despite his advanced age. The Vulture is able to fly through the air and brandish his sharp wings to attack Spider-Man.

As for Hathaway, that’s where things get tricky...

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IESB Exclusive: SPIDER-MAN 4 Production on Indefinite Hold

Apparently, several department heads working on the SPIDER-M4N production were notified of the halt last Thursday. Spidey and friends have some issues that need to be dealt with before production can move forward once again. Oh, and the film is known as SPIDER-M4N within the production offices so take note! . . .

An inside source working on the project tells IESB that there are some major issues director Sam Raimi is dealing with that include an incomplete script. And why is the script incomplete? Looks like Raimi and the studio heads at Sony Pictures can't agree upon a villain for the film.

Raimi is pushing hard for the Vulture to be the big baddie, something he also pushed for in the third film to star alongside the Sandman but didn't get and we all know how that one turned out. Vulture was to do his evil deeds alongside the new Goblin and Sandman. A single concept art sketch can be seen in "The Art of Spider-Man 3" book. Vulture and Flint Marko would have been cellmates who escaped together, with Vulture pressuring the more passive Marko into committing crimes.

On the flip side, who does the studio want to be the villain? Our source says they seem to only be interested in featuring which ever character is selling books right now but basically they have no idea, just not the Vulture. . . .

IESB.net, December 17

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EXCLUSIVE: 'Spider-Man 4' Studio Denies Rumor Of Unexpected Delay

Not so, says the studio. Speaking to MTV News about the "Spider-Man 4" rumor, a spokesperson for Sony denied the report of an unexpected, indefinite hold on production. . . .

Further calling the IESB report into question, a source close to "Spider-Man 4" told MTV News that, while production is indeed on hiatus, it's a planned break for the holidays (as most studios take around this time of year), with production expected to resume early next year. The source told MTV News that work is still underway on the script, which is standard operating procedure for any film right up to the point when principal photography begins.

This comes as no surprise, given "Iron Man" actor Jeff Bridges' recent revelation that the 2008 blockbuster's script was actually being written as principal photography progressed. (And we all know how that turned out.) . . .

MTV Splash Page, December 17

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I keep hoping this project will come to a significant standstill and Raimi will walk away. I loathe all three of his Spidey flicks and would be interested in seeing someone else take a stab at the franchise. That said, unless Maguire and Dunst walk as well, I'll never be entirely satisfied with this franchise.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Sony postpones 'Spider-Man 4'

A holiday hiatus has turned into an indefinite vacation for "Spider-Man 4."

A Sony source confirmed that the studio is postponing production on the fourth installment of its superhero franchise, which was scheduled to begin lensing in February. Word began circulating among fanboys in mid-December that pre-production had ground to a halt on "Spidey 4" due to script problems with the Sam Raimi-helmed tentpole. At the time, the studio insisted that crew members were merely taking a two-week Christmas break.

Variety, January 5

'Spider-Man 4' delayed over script clashes

Sony and director Sam Raimi are at loggerheads over which direction to go with the villains for the latest installment -- an impasse which has prompted the studio to delay its scheduled spring production start and potentially to bump the pic from its May 11, 2011 release slot.

Raimi wants to have a criminal known as the Vulture act as the primary antagonist in the film while the studio, which dislikes the idea of the winged wrongdoer, is pushing for a romantic sub-plot involving a burglar named the Black Cat in addition to another villain.

A succession of writers has tried to marry the two parties' differing visions to no effect.

Hollywood Reporter, January 5

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Raimi, Maguire Out of 'Spider-Man 4'

Sony has pulled out of 'Spiderman 4' with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire because of scheduling conflicts with the director, and will reboot the franchise for 2012 with another team, the studio announced on Monday .

'Spiderman 4' was supposed to have been released in 2011. The franchise has produced billions of dollars in revenue for the studio, all of them directed by Raimi.

The studio released this statement . . .

TheWrap.com, January 11

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You would think that without Raimi and Maguire they'd get rid of the "4." Might make things easier on them.

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You would think that without Raimi and Maguire they'd get rid of the "4." Might make things easier on them.

They actually sent the '4' to the gallows and then buried it in potters field. It's on Youtube.

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Incidentally, if you look a few posts back in this thread to August of last year, you'll see that it was already being reported BACK THEN that Sony had commissioned a reboot screenplay just in case the deal with Raimi fell through.

Nikki Finke and/or Mike Fleming say, among other things, that Sony may be thinking of taking this movie in a 3D direction. And FWIW, David Poland notes that this, the first big scoop of the combined Finke-Fleming duo, shows Finke's ego clearly overriding Fleming's journalism.

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'Spider-Man 4' scrapped; reboot planned

The scrapping of the movie is not without cost.

Millions have been spent on the fourth installment and on the script alone, whose writers have included Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire and Gary Ross. Alvin Sargent was in the middle of the latest draft when the plug was pulled. Preliminary special effects work also had been done.

Hollywood Reporter, January 11

Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire out as 'Spider-Man 4' falls into tangled web

Will the next "Spider-Man" film be based on the Marvel Comics series "Ultimate Spider-Man," by Brian Michael Bendis, which has an especially young Peter Parker and lots of classroom angst? Sounds like it in this latest report from John Horn on Company Town, our sister blog.

Hero Complex, Los Angeles Times, January 11

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Zooey Deschanel as Mary-Jane Watson, anyone?

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It's Official! Marc Webb to Direct Spider-Man!

Marc Webb, the director of the Golden Globe-nominated Best Picture (500) Days of Summer, will direct the next chapter in the Spider-Man franchise, set to hit theaters summer 2012, it was jointly announced today by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Written by James Vanderbilt, Webb will work closely with producers Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin in developing the project, which will begin production later this year.

ComingSoon.net, January 19

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Meanwhile, Disney expert Jim Hill notes: "one of the main reasons that Sony moved so quickly to announce their reboot of this film franchise after Sam Raimi said that “Spider-Man 4” couldn’t possibly make its previously-locked-in May 5th, 2011 release date was this Studio’s very real fear that – if they dawdled – Disney’s lawyers might then find some loophole in Sony's original licensing agreement with Marvel that Mickey could then exploit. Which would then allow the Mouse House to reclaim the motion picture rights for this particular superhero from Sony / Columbia Pictures prematurely."

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Zooey Deschanel as Mary-Jane Watson, anyone?

I'll see that and raise you Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Peter Parker?

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I don't know if I would buy either of them as high school students, talented and loveable though they are.

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FWIW, the Hollywood Reporter adds:

The plan for the movie is to be in the $80 million range and feature a cast of relative unknowns (so you can quash those Rob Pattinson or Gordon-Levitt rumors at this point). And the story will be pared down to center on a high school kid who is dealing with the knowledge that his uncle died even though the teen had the power to stop it.

The touchstone for the new movie will not be the 1960s comics, which were the inspiration behind the movies by Raimi, who grew on up on them, but rather this past decade’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley where the villain-fighting took a back seat to the high school angst.

I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

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FWIW, the Hollywood Reporter adds:

The touchstone for the new movie will not be the 1960s comics, which were the inspiration behind the movies by Raimi, who grew on up on them, but rather this past decade’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley where the villain-fighting took a back seat to the high school angst.

I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

You know, I have no problem taking the inspiration from Ultimate Spider-Man, as the series has had it's moments and some nicely re-imagined take on characters and villains. But while the angst is there, Bendis still had plenty of action. It just seemed like it was less focused on action. He spread out his stories. But an $80 mill budget? If you ever read Bendis' Ultimate pidey, he could go pretty extravagant with the action. I suppose they could tie Spidey in now...the Sam Jackson Nick Fury played a bit of a father figure to Spidey in the Ultimate books.

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Nezpop wrote:

: I suppose they could tie Spidey in now...the Sam Jackson Nick Fury played a bit of a father figure to Spidey in the Ultimate books.

Oooooh, I hadn't considered the possibility of tying this "rebooted" Spider-Man into the new movie continuity. That could be really interesting -- and if memory serves, Samuel L. Jackson did agree to play Nick Fury in considerably more films than the ones that have already been announced.

(A year ago, it was announced that Jackson, after appearing as Nick Fury in the first Iron Man, would reprise the character in no less than NINE new films, but the only titles that had been announced at the time were Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers and POSSIBLY an entire movie devoted to S.H.I.E.L.D. But that would still leave four movies yet to be determined. Since they found a way to fit the rebooted Hulk into the new movie continuity, via Robert Downey Jr.'s cameo at the end, there would certainly be a precedent for using the current reboot as an opportunity to bring this Marvel character into some sort of continuity with the others.)

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I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

Well, personally, I find the idea that Spider-Man is deserving of the CITIZEN KANE of superhero movies a bit off. But I've always been a DC guy rather than a Marvel guy, and while I think there's potential for a really good Spider-Man flick, all three of Raimi's efforts failed to win me over (in fact, I'd argue that all three of them are terrible).

Anyway, the small budget, in concept, doesn't phase me. For a while, I've been saying that the comic book films need to downsize. They're so obsessed with epic scale when smaller-scale stories can be just as effective and more profitable for the studio, while furthermore allowing for greater artistic freedom since the risk margin isn't so severe. The studios should be cranking out plenty of $50-80 million features. I'd love to see the Batman films turn to a more intimate focus, or see a one-off film all from Lex Luthor's perspective (based on the LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL miniseries, no less). And for the next Superman film, I'd love to see them adapt the best Superman story of them all--SUPERMAN: FOR ALL SEASONS--which is more grounded in Norman Rockwell Americana than epic displays of heroism and nods towards Greek mythology.

But with Spidey, I fear this means that we'll get Spider-Man meets TWILIGHT, driven and about displays of teen angst near high school lockers. Teen/young adult angst was something I was hoping the Spidey franchise was finally going to move beyond. Ah well.

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I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

Well, personally, I find the idea that Spider-Man is deserving of the CITIZEN KANE of superhero movies a bit off. But I've always been a DC guy rather than a Marvel guy, and while I think there's potential for a really good Spider-Man flick, all three of Raimi's efforts failed to win me over (in fact, I'd argue that all three of them are terrible).

FWIW, Peter is misremembering somewhat. :)

The phrase "Citizen Kane of super hero movies" is associated in my film writing not with Spider-Man, but with Batman, and specifically with Batman Begins (though without entirely committing to the identification; my exact words were "It's tempting to call Batman Begins the Citizen Kane of super-hero movies; at any rate, it’s the closest thing so far").

With regard to Spider-Man, I cited a different cinematic touchstone, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Specifically, I wrote:

I felt that Spidey deserved the quintessential comic-book movie, not just a better-than-average one. I wanted Spider-Man to be the Raiders of the Lost Ark of super-hero movies, but what I got was more like the Pirates of the Caribbean — still good, but not good enough.

Incidentally, on Marvel vs. DC, I wrote in the same review:

Full disclosure: I’ve been a Spider-Man nut since my earliest youth. Other boys at school would debate who was the greatest, Superman or Batman; I always knew it was Spider-Man. From the sheer ordinariness of the real person behind the mask, to his wisecracking, almost playful combat style, to his doting relationship with his Aunt May, Peter Parker has always been to me both the most human and the most colorful of classic comic-book heroes — the quintessential comic-book hero.

So there. :)

On Raimi's films, I am just all right with the first one, LOVE the second one, and really, really enjoy the third, faults notwithstanding and even to an extent because of them.

However, I readily acknowledge that a totally new interpretation of the character could easily be a good thing. One that gives more credit to Peter's science smarts, for one thing, one that is more self-aware and . The filmmakers should check out the Spectacular Spider-Man series on Disney -- it's the best screen adaptation of the character to date (though as a film Raimi's second film is awesome).

FWIW, at the end of my third review I wrote:

What remains to be seen, if there are more films to come, is whether the filmmakers can finally take Peter past his extended adolescence, and let him finally become Spider-Man in fact as well as in name.

Ironically, the next film looks to go backwards in that sense, which may be a good thing too.

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One thing that stands out to me in recent years with both fans and creators in regards to Spider-Man is a fear of him growing up. I think I may need to work on this some more and then blog about it...but to put it in a short statement...

He can't be married! We want Parker to have love troubles with many options. He can't be a high school science teacher! That's a grown up job. It is ironic to me that a hero whose mantra is "with great power comes great responsibility" has a creator and fanbase who want to see him pretty responsibility free.

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One thing that stands out to me in recent years with both fans and creators in regards to Spider-Man is a fear of him growing up. I think I may need to work on this some more and then blog about it...but to put it in a short statement...

He can't be married! We want Parker to have love troubles with many options. He can't be a high school science teacher! That's a grown up job. It is ironic to me that a hero whose mantra is "with great power comes great responsibility" has a creator and fanbase who want to see him pretty responsibility free.

But, see, I think I'm as hardcore a Spider-Man fan as they come, and I'm just the opposite. One of the things I enjoyed about JMS's stint on Spider-Man was that Peter was a grown-up married guy with responsibilities -- and JMS portrayed that in a way that was interesting to me as a grown-up married guy with responsibilities. (I also appreciated JMS's portrayal of Peter's somewhat Job-like relationship with God, particularly given JMS's own atheism.)

When JMS's final issue ended with the mystical unraveling of Peter and MJ's marriage, while I appreciated the artistic and dramatic reasons for those choices, and the way JMS handled them (understanding that they weren't entirely JMS's own choices), I had less than no interest in going back to reading about bachelor Peter. I looked at the next issue or two but stopped collecting pretty much immediately. I, for one, want Peter's life to go forward.

Edited by SDG

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It's an experiment waiting to happen: Pick a comic-book hero and have a completely original movie about him or her made once a year. Line up the directors. Turn it into an ongoing course in filmmaking theory. Each participating director would have a chance to draw attention to different elements of style and storytelling invention. Why not Spider-man? What superhero is more deserving?

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