Driver's EDitorial #08: Bring on Spidey 4!
by: Brad Sturdivant
Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
There’s a lot of negative buzz going around the web world regarding Sam Raimi’s upcoming SPIDER-MAN 4. I’ve read everything from “Raimi doesn’t have it anymore” to “Spider-man 3 killed the franchise”. It’s ridiculous how fair-weather fanboys are. If a couple of snobbish critics dislike a film, the fanboys jump on it and the next thing you know, SPIDER-MAN 3 is the worst movie ever made. That’s insane, as is the notion that Sam Raimi destroyed the franchise or that he can’t make another great Spider-man film.
First, let’s get something out of the way; SPIDER-MAN 3 was not a bad film. Yes, it had its problems, but overall, it was a fun film. It was a good summer blockbuster and it still has the best action scenes in all of the Spidey films. I loved the opening fight between Peter and the New Goblin. It also had more action than the other films and was void of any slow spots that the other two suffered from. Despite its problems, SPIDER-MAN 3 was fun and far from the abomination that people are trying to make it out to be. If you buy into the hype that the studio forced Raimi to do some of the things he did, then you should have no fears about the fourth film.
Raimi just needs to make the film he wants to make. He needs to ignore everyone around him (ie: the studio) that want him to make a movie to sell action figures and not a truly great film. He also needs to avoid trying to make a better film than the DARK KNIGHT. There’s no competition between the two franchises because both of them are different, with different tones and goals. Getting into a mindset where you have to beat something that you’re not competing with could mean disaster for an artist. Aside from Superman, Spider-man is one of the most beloved superheroes of all time. There are plenty of great stories to be told and all Raimi has to do is tell a great story, like he has done so many times in the past.
However, in telling the story, he needs to do something with Peter’s love interest. Early reports have Kirsten Dunst reprising her role as Mary Jane Watson and if there’s one area of the Spider-man franchise that really needs some work, it’s with her character. Bryce Dallas Howard was only in the third film for a little while, but I found her ten times more appealing than Dunst. If Raimi has to come to one glowing realization, it’s that Dunst is a huge negative for any film she’s in. I’d like to see the Gwen Stacy angle explored some more and maybe boot out Dunst.
I know all the hype lately has surrounded the DARK KNIGHT, and that’s fine. But let’s not forget about our friendly neighborhood Spider-man. With a returning cast and a director that feels like he has something to prove, Spidey 4 should be a blast.