I recently re-watched (and discussed) Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy: Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). And while I was reminded that Spider-Man 3 was a problematic in places, revisiting the films also solidified my opinion that they are an excellent series of movies.
Across the course of the three films, Raimi’s series introduced a whole new generation to the Spider-Man mythology, brought in countless characters from the comics, and approached the material with respect. The films mixed humour with heart, and maintained the important message of power and responsibility to ensure the series kept heroism at the forefront of everything.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy ended in 2007, but as many fans will know, it almost became a quadrilogy, with Spider-Man 4 poised to appear, with many of the trilogy’s principal actors set to return. Unfortunately, that movie never came to pass, and the series was ultimate abandoned in favour of a reboot in the shape of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014).
The Amazing Spider-Man series came and went in the space of a couple of years and was eventually replaced by a new Spider-Man. This one made his debut in 2016 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While we all moved on and accepted each new Spider-Man in turn, I can’t help but still feel like it was a crying shame that Sam Raimi’s-era of Spidey films ended in 2007. Despite the ups and downs of Spider-Man 3, I would have happily watched more movies in this series – and still would.
Across the course of three films Raimi created a rich and well-thought-out world, filled with interesting and quirky characters. He brought the ’60s-era of the Spider-Man comics to the big screen with warmth and depth, to reflect the importance of those stories to fans (himself included) who fell in love with Spidey during the early days.
I mentioned this in my previous discussion of the films, but to me the first entry in the series, 2002’s Spider-Man, felt like Raimi was setting the foundations for the world. He may not have known at the time that he would stick around to direct Spider-Man 2 or Spider-Man 3, but he was most certainly using that first film to build something magical, designed to continue for years and years.
In the same way that Richard Donner put so much content into Superman: The Movie (1978), to flesh out the world of its hero, Raimi did a similar thing for Spider-Man. This then allowed the sequels to push forward, introducing new story beats and characters, while also linking back to all of the set-up from the first entry.
With each new movie the world became more expansive – more believable. These were not throw-away or instantly forgettable movies, these felt important, imaginative, and part of the fabric of cinema.
So, seeing all this come to an end after three films is still a little upsetting. I’m not sat here bawling my eyes out you understand, but there is a feeling of sadness that washes over me every time I get to the end of Spider-Man 3 and remember there is no more to come.
I like The Amazing Spider-Man movies, and I think the lead stars, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are excellent as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy respectively, but I do feel that it is a shame these films jump-started the series at a time when a reboot wasn’t necessary. All of the hard work and effort to create the previous world was effectively erased so that something new could take its place, and that still doesn’t sit right with me.
I firmly believe the film series could have continued as it was – there really was no need to reboot. I understand that there were delays with Spider-Man 4 and due to the deal between Sony and Marvel time was ticking away over the rights to the property, but an alternative solution could have been reached.
Just imagine if Dylan Baker had been able to transform into the Lizard. Picture a world in which J.K. Simmons, Bill Nunn, Ted Raimi, and Elizabeth Banks still occupied the Daily Bugle offices. Marvel at the idea of Mr. Ditkovitch becoming a friend and ally to Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
OK, so that Ditkovich thing might just be in my head, but it would have been fun.
All of the characters created for these movies had the ability to go places and develop further in future pictures. From Ditkovitch to Betty Brant and ‘Robbie’ Robertson, there could have been endless story development.
My point is, there is something special about Raimi’s Spider-Man movies that makes them seem so solid, so real. I’m not bashing any of the Spider-Man movies that have been released since, I just wish that one didn’t have to disappear for the next to exist.
If you’re a big fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies then let me know what you think about the trilogy. Do you think it should have continued beyond the three movies and if so, what characters or storylines would you have liked to see? Maybe you have a favourite villain that you think should have appeared in the series. Whatever your thoughts, be sure to let me know in the comments section below.