EDITORIAL: What In The World Happened To The SPIDER-MAN Franchise?

Just in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu ray/DVD release tomorrow, I've decided to share my opinions on why this once considerably good franchise fell off the rails, along with how it could improve. Hit the jump to check it out..

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By D117 - 8/18/2014


Time And Effort


First, let me start this off by saying that I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. They are great films in general, and continue to cave the way for superhero films in modern times. Now back then, it seemed that Sony had established a basic routine for the slate of original films. Which was simple, put Peter Parker to the ultimate test by balancing school, a girlfriend and personal issues. Thing is, after 5 films it started to get repetitive, but I'll explain more on that later. With the collaboration between director Sam Raimi and Sony, things where going along swimmingly. Both films had a solid story, interesting characters and a cohesive plot/narrative. And that ultimately showed through, there was no half-assed attempt to put everything together, the heart and soul was there, particularly from Raimi who had a strong passion and understanding of the character. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the rebooted series.

 

The obvious reason is because Sony needed them to get made so they can still hold on to the license, ultimately leading to the time and effort portion going down the drain. Let me rephrase, it's sort of there. But if it was balanced out, maybe the focus of the newer films would be based on the quality, not just quantity, which leads in to my next point...


Money



 

The Spider-Man franchise is profitable, no doubt about it. I mean that's the reason Sony has the rights in the first place right? Well yeah of course. But here's one of my main issues, look at the process of Spider-Man 3, one of my most anticipated films going into 2007. Something felt wrong, the story was sloppy, an incoherent plot/narritive and too many damn villains. How the hell was that possible? Where was the fleshed out characters, and intriguing story? Gone, and many people jumped the gun and pointed the finger at Raimi, sure he was the man behind the camera, but how else could this get screwed up? You guessed it, Sony. The third picture grossed over $890 million worldwide, which left fans and audiences scratching their heads in confusion. Now Raimi will forever be labeled as a hack, overrated and simply responsible for single handily destroying Spider-Man.  Which to me is downright silly, I mean to be honest development hell, and the franchise as a whole to the side, if it wasn't for him and Sony showing a great ideal of confidence, there wouldn't be any movies based on the titular hero, I mean if you still hate the guy then okay, nothing I can do. Look, the point is that Sony put there hands in the cookie jar when they weren't supposed to, in other words, they did Raimi dirty. Just because your film made a shit ton of dough, doesn't mean it's good. 

With 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man the legitimate question was this, do people still care about this franchise? After the falling out with Raimi and Sony on the potential Spider-Man 4, you knew that they where pressuring Raimi to a full extent, script issues and just overall a messy situation, ultimately leading to the films cancellation. Good ol' webhead was starting to get squished under the feet of powerful executives and producers, not to mention a certain someone named Avi Arad. But, The Amazing Spider-Man ended up being a success, despite under grossing Spider-Man 3. Leading into this years The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being the lowest grossing out of the 5 films, just $706 million, less than the first film, which leads into this franchise showing fatigue.


Don't Plan Ahead, Have A Primary Focus



 

Like I've said, 5 films in, and now we have established a trilogy, and two films with another film on the way. Now back to my point about how the films started to get repetitive. Of course the rebooted films are supposed to feel different, but are they really that drastic in change? The way l look at it is this, the story is changed up by now introducing Peter's parents, giving them a main plot point to the first film. The problem with this was how The Amazing Spider-Man was advertised as the "Untold Story" to have people wanting to see more, which unfortunately left them and myself feeling cheated. Once again Sony had this trick up their sleeve, yet again interfering with the directors work, this time the man behind the lense was Marc Webb. What set this film apart from previous entires, was its dark and gritty tone and feel, and the addition of Gwen Stacey being the love interest, instead of Mary Jane Watson. Of course having a new lead in Andrew Garfield taking over the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man from former star Tobey Maguire, who Garfield greatly admires as an actor and being blown away by his interpretation of Spidey, who I think both excel in the role, bringing in a great range of sensibility and making each their own respectively. With this years The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I expected it to be a vast improvement over the first film, and ultimately so that wasn't the case for me. There are some things I like of course, Garfield being the main thing who completely nails the role, amongst other things. But Sony couldn't just leave things alone, not to mention the sloppy writing and dull/goofy villains, speaking of which was done so poorly. Again too many villains, and lame subplots about Peter's parents, which had me throw in the towel saying "enough is enough". Now with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 being pushed back to 2018, along with The Sinister Six being set for release,Venom and an Untitled Female Superhero Project (Black Cat, Spider-Woman?, *sigh) I mean does it matter anymore? As long as these films keep making money, Spider-Man isn't going back to Marvel anytime soon (unfortunately), the focus is no longer based upon a single film, now it's about catching up to Marvel Studios in a foot race, to start building a cinematic universe. 

Give The Director Room To Breathe


 

In closing, both franchises and directors suffered from studio pressure. I think it's best for Sony to let Webb do his own thing, going into his last outing as director. Moving forward, I would like to see Miguel O'Hara/Spider-Man 2099 and Ben Reilly, but of course that's not happening because Avi Arad claimed that Peter is the only one who can be Spider-Man. I mean this is the guy who said he was the "King" of all superheroes, give me a break. I'm not looking forward to the future now to be honest, slight chance of me remaing optimistic. It's time for Arad to go I believe, because this franchise is slowly crashing into the ground. To quote Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider Went Up The Water Spout, Down Came The Goblin, And Took The Spider Out!" It's not only the villains that are trying to take the Wall Crawler out, it's the freakin' company that owns him...

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146 Comments
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sikwon - 8/18/2014, 2:41 PM
Ahree. Twice.
ScottMontgomery - 8/18/2014, 2:53 PM
My biggest problem with the Spider-Man franchise is they have basically made the same movie 5 different times, why do they expect different results when they keep doing the same thing over and over again?
McNyagano - 8/18/2014, 3:03 PM
I liked TASM2 but SM2 is still the best Spider-Man film and overall one of the greatest CBMs to date. The real arch enemy of Spider-Man is Avi Arad. Fire that guy and those Sony execs who edited the film and you'll be set. Also, Webb is an inferior director to Raimi. I'll give him the Goblin fight and Gwen's death but he is no Raimi in terms of directing. Andrew Garfield nails Spider-Man though, especially in TASM2. His Peter Parker is ehhh ok I guess. he's too 'cool' for my taste.
kinghulk - 8/18/2014, 3:04 PM
ive ha enough of peter parker give us a diffrent spiderman like miles morales.
TheAbaryMan369 - 8/18/2014, 3:19 PM
Spider-Man is one of the greatest comic characters of all time, he deserves better than this. Marvel Studios is probably laughing their ass off at the way Sony is handling these movies, and Stan Lee is probably/should be crying.

What they need to do is stick to the basics, while at the same time, differentiate itself. I'd like a reboot where the film begins about a year or two after he gets his powers, and it's all about the new responsibilities he faces. Have the film be fun like he is in the comics, but also emotional and full of meaning and wonderful moments. That's the new part, the classic part would be going back to the routes of having him struggle with the identity, work for the bugle, go through high school, get a girlfriend, and most importantly, make sure his confidence gets higher as he becomes Spider-Man and have him go through the change of becoming confident as Peter too. I think something basic like that would make for a great movie.

Also, stop with the Sinister Six. Use one villain that is actually written well and you're good to go.
GiantNerd - 8/18/2014, 3:20 PM
"Spider-Man isn't going back to Marvel anytime soon (unfortunately)"

The thought of a Marvel Studios Spiderman is bitter sweet.
MercwithMouth - 8/18/2014, 3:21 PM
I got nothing against Raimi, I just think he made 3 terrible movies. His Spider-Man series wasn't for me. TASM, I loved, and TASM2 I haven't seen yet, hopefully it's good. I like Webb's vision.
MercwithMouth - 8/18/2014, 3:23 PM
@Abary

I doubt Marvel Studios is laughing...considering Kevin Feige was an Executive Producer on TASM, and Marvel receives a percentage of movie profits...
BatzFTWfan - 8/18/2014, 3:29 PM
@MercwithMouth : If it wasn't for 2 first Spider man movies, we wouldn't have any movies of the character by now. While i respect your opinion, i think you can agree on the villains of 2 first movies were great. Dafoe stunned as Goblin, especially Doc Octopus was the best part of Raimi's trilogy.
GiantNerd - 8/18/2014, 3:31 PM
@MercwithMouth

I actually liked the first TASM. I think Garfield fits Peter/Spiderman way better than Maguire. It was another origin story so I thought that sort of worked against it just slightly. I expected the sequel to be a lot better considering they could go anywhere with the story since they got the origin out of the way but I ended up not liking it at all really. You'll have to tell me what you think of it.
AlexanderLykins - 8/18/2014, 3:34 PM
WYLEEJAY - 8/18/2014, 3:40 PM
Stan Lee co designed Spider man and Peter Parker, with the thought of having a super hero struggle with the every day problems a normal person deals with. They wanted him to be more relatable to the readers. They made him a genius to flesh out the character more, so the character can use his brains to figure out problems as well as his muscles.

That being said, I enjoyed the Raimi films quite a bit. I really enjoyed Harry's story arc through the first two films. He was overly annoying in the third, plus Emo Parker and lack of my favorite villain Venom makes the Third film my least favorite.

Now I myself, happen to have a lot more in common with Webbs version of Peter Parker. So that along with a much more comic accurate Spiderman makes this my favorite version of the character. A new story arc for Harry has my interest. I liked Electro. His super cheesy jokes made sense to me because the character has a misplaced sense of confidence now that he has all that power. Not to mention the fact that Spiderman has made horrible mistakes since his first appearance in the comics, mistakes that the character learns from. Sure the editing is a little off in the first movie, but when I watch either of the Webb films I feel like im watching the character I grew up with, and not just accepting the film thats before me cause its my only option. Now I have options when I want to watch Spiderman. Unfortunately for the Raimi films their no longer the ones I can watch over and over again. Thank you Webb for putting a huge smile on this Spiderman fans face.
GiantNerd - 8/18/2014, 3:45 PM
@WYLEEJAY

Did you think the editing in TASM2 was better? Just curious.
dethpillow - 8/18/2014, 3:55 PM
pretty right on article, I think. except I find it hard to blame Arad directly too much for anything. I just can't see how he's really allowed to have much direct say in anything. BUT... just the presence of this man is gonna just make every possible decision and move more difficult and suck energy out of everything. he is incomprehensible and I think he is genuinely personally invested somehow in the character of Spider-Man.
that's just the feeling I get looking at it, is this man is not directly to be blamed for anything, but just as a part of the environment and a constant voice in everyone's ears, I'm sure he is making things worse by his presence.

@TheArbaryMan369 - that's pretty much exactly, well said and straight to the point, what needs to be done. cutting out all this and that.

Spider-Man is great cuz as a solo franchise, which I think he needs to be, he is a perfect comic book hero to fit into that Bond model that everyone always talks about.

there's major events that mark periods of his life, but overall, he can be seen as "just leave the room the way you found it". What I think they should've done is maybe 2 standalone Spidey films, skip origin and just jump right in.

They obviously really wanted this angle with Oscorp and genetic mods, probably leading into symbiotes and clones, and in a lot of ways I can dig that. That premise just fits in so many ways to reimagine things from his history.

But, just for the sake of actually being good, I think it should have started out 6 months after he got his powers, he's in the middle of gang war. Kingpin vs Tombstone, maybe something like that. Kingpin is swearing Norman Osborn in different ways to start supplying him with experimental tech. but that's the only background. other than that, straight Spidey vs gangs, no one superpowered except at most the Enforcers or Shocker or maybe Rhino at the very most.

then follow up with a second standalone film. something fun like maybe JJJ/Scorpion/Smyth/Spider Slayers film. just good clean Spider-Man story.

then follow that up with a 2 part rise of the Goblin/Death of Gwen Stacy arc. then you could actually, if you wanted to bring in the mystery of Peter's parents. that didn't have to be jammed down our throats and threaded out over three or more films. cuz it was like that. it was like taking thread and then jamming thread down our throats. not a bowling ball or an anvil or a piano, or even a needle and thread...but just purely goddam thread was being jammed down our throats.

GliderMan - 8/18/2014, 3:55 PM
I think y'all like to complain too much. Then again, TASM2 is the one and only superhero movie I have a real problem with.
dethpillow - 8/18/2014, 4:03 PM
but actually, simply saying that he fits that "Bond model" of films is really not what I mean.

cuz there is an ongoing and unfolding soap opera to Spider-Man. there's lots of connections that gotta build up over time, which is why, really, he's better suited for something more episodic like TV.

so I just mean as far as figuring out a model for his movies, you're gonna some connective tissue and continuity going on no matter what. but the TASM movies were a story line way more suited for TV. movies need to have room to feel more compact and standalone at times.

and I think Raimi's first two did a great job of that. we never got the payoff for Lizard, we never got the possible payoff for Bruce Campbell as Mysterio. in some senses, he pulled a good balance, like if we think of Spidey 2, it kinda feels like what I'm talking about for a standalone film.

but at the same time, Raimi let the movies adhere to straight blockbuster type expectations of resolution and major life lessons learned and epiphanizing and things like that. and I don't think you should do that with ever Spidey installment.

sometimes it's just a story that helps define the character more by seeing him in relation to whatever adversity he's faced with. he doesn't need to give up his mask, or get married, or committ to this or that, or go evil or redeem himself every goddam movie.

some Spider-Man movies are just simply "this is the time that all this shit happened. it was crazy, that's why we're telling you about it."

and simply that. that doesn't mean there's no character growth or that there's no story arc or anything. it just means that it's not gonna be full of shit and making stuff up at the end of it.
Dingbat - 8/18/2014, 4:04 PM
@ScottMontgomery

Insanity, that's why. But they do get the same results so they'll never change it.



WYLEEJAY - 8/18/2014, 4:13 PM
@GiantNerd0720. Imo......it was edited better. The deleted scenes that have been popping up on here.....were better off on the cutting room floor. They just dont seem to serve the story well.
ScottMontgomery - 8/18/2014, 4:20 PM
@Dingbat I respect you because you used a Danny Mcbride gif
Dingbat - 8/18/2014, 4:24 PM
@ScottMontgomery

Interestein - 8/18/2014, 5:07 PM
Fantastic article. If Sony lightens up, I'd like to see Raimi return to the franchise in 10 years or so with the classic cast back, like SPIDER-MAN: REIGN or something. End the story off well, maybe even a Directors cut of Spider-Man 3. I do have faith in The Sinister Six in the hands of Goddard.
MexicanSuperman - 8/18/2014, 5:17 PM
I love the TASM series and I like the Spiderman trilogy.
MercwithMouth - 8/18/2014, 5:55 PM
@BatzFTWfan

I'll give you Dafoe. He was incredible as Norman, and one of my favorite CBM villains. I'll also give you Raimi's origin, it was perfection, and the reason that Marv Webb had to change the origin.

I will not, however, give you Doc Ock. Raimi's Ock was not Doc Ock. Molina was impressive in the role, but the role was all wrong. Doc Ock should be maniacal, pure evil. He should not be a failed scientist trying to prove he's not a hack, and sacrificing himself for the greater good. Wasn't Ock.

But, just my opinion.

Oh, and I actually like Topher as Venom. He pulled off the right amount of crazy in the 3rd act. He was not good as Eddie Brock though.
nailbiter111 - 8/18/2014, 5:56 PM
Very good!
Reasonnnn - 8/18/2014, 5:57 PM
One name: Avi Arad.

He is everything that is wrong with Sony and Spider-Man.
marvel72 - 8/18/2014, 6:15 PM
you get the amazing spider-man 2 tomorrow,we got winter soldier yesterday in the uk.
D117 - 8/18/2014, 6:19 PM
@nailbiter111 Thank you good sir! And everyone else, thanks for the kind words, much appreciated!
D117 - 8/18/2014, 6:20 PM
@marvel72 Lucky, Winter Soldier was fantastic
Inhuman - 8/18/2014, 6:27 PM
It shitty franchise. Thats what happened. Cant wait till Spider-Man reverts to Marvel Studios one day
JediPhilosopher - 8/18/2014, 6:33 PM
Raimi's first Spider-Man just shined. The second had great moments, but, and I admit I'm no comic book expert, Doc Oc and everything about him seemed off. I had trouble dealing with the way the tentacles move and seem to have unlimited power reserves. And yeah, he seemed off based on what I read about the character as well. These latest movies, I would not pay to see.
nonserviam - 8/18/2014, 6:41 PM
People will always pay to see a Spider-Man movie. As soon as it's no longer "fresh" they'll reboot it, and people will rush to see the "New" interpretation. Sony will never let go of Spider-Man. Marvel could make him the most unlikeable character and kill him off causing people to lose any and all interest in him and Sony would still pump out Spider-Man movies just to keep the licensing.
Canary - 8/18/2014, 6:51 PM
I must confess: I have always loved Marvel Comics since I started reading them in the late 1970s. I never liked Spiderman, never got the "Spiderman Love" and was more into the teams, ie. the Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Defenders, Guardians...
Even though I saw all the Spiderman movies - Raimi/Webb, I still didn't get the love.
Sony's Spiderman is just someone I don't connect with...not like the Marvel studio movies...
marvel72 - 8/18/2014, 6:58 PM
@ D117

you know it,my favorite comic book movie this year & my all time favorite comic book movie.

well at least until avengers age of ultron.
PrinceAwesome - 8/18/2014, 6:59 PM
Jesus Christ, man. I understand the sentiment of the horrid atrocity that was 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', but an ENTIRE franchise shouldn't be rebooted after one bad film (nevertheless, we dont need third incarnation of the same character within the reign of twenty years).

No one was crying 'reboot' when Iron Man 2 came out. Why cry out 'reboot' for this one as well?

Jollem - 8/18/2014, 7:02 PM
yeah, these movies have been great so far. they should just keep doing what they're doing
Jollem - 8/18/2014, 7:03 PM
nice effort with the write-up, tho. maybe you should do one on the abyssal iron man franchise
nonserviam - 8/18/2014, 7:06 PM
@PrinceAwesome

I don't think he was crying out for another reboot, if anything he was implying that we've already seen the same crap over and over. He even stated he likes Garfield, which I have to agree, he is the only saving grace to the new franchise.
He's simply stating they are rehashing the same crap over and over. 5 movies in and he's still a fresh faced super hero in a coming of age story.
If anything he's stating that
1. Sony needs to let the directors control their own $#!+ and back off.
2. Avi Arad needs to go away, far far away.

But of course I could be wrong and maybe you read something different than I did.
Pending - 8/18/2014, 7:10 PM
I hope Sony keeps doing what they're doing, that'll drive the franchise into the ground so much faster and possibly be put into better hands.
Jollem - 8/18/2014, 7:14 PM
kevin smith said the "driving into the ground" bullshit and people like to repeat it
Jollem - 8/18/2014, 7:15 PM
there's actually a lot new this version is doing compared to raimi's
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