Toby Maguire was a great Spiderman, don't get me wrong, he was, but it's time for a change. Marvel have got the rights to most of their characters back, started up their own studio, really put effort into making it work, got bought out by Disney and all that has happened post Spiderman three. Lets look at the hows and whys shall we?
Spiderman is a great character, Iconic in the comic market and more, a true media legend. He's captured more than a few crooks and imaginations along the way to becoming one of the true powers of Marvel and he's been written and drawn by legends so when Sam Rami (a Hollywood legend) was given the task of bringing 'webhead' to the screen we all felt good. Months of waiting, hoping it wouldn't suck, that the movie industry wouldn't balls it all up followed and then came the release. It was great!
Move over Spiderman because here comes Spiderman Two, a movie so good it had to get a restraining order to stop me watching it while it undressed! Yes, Maguire was great again but lets face it Alfred Molina was perfect! The intellectual struggle between the villain and Parker were great, the quips were there, the Train scene?! Oh god it was good! For me it was the best Superhero movie ever made up until that point. It still stands in the top ten for sure, perhaps even the top five depending on your level of Spidey love. Bring on Spiderman three we screamed! We must have it! Keep this cast and crew together and we are in business! They did and we looked for a classic. We didn't get one.
Spiderman three was a messy disaster. As good as the Sandman was (he was just brilliant) he couldn't detract from Rami's dislike of the Venom character, something the studio decided needed to happen. Third film means three villains right? Wrong! It was a botched blockbuster because the studio was smelling money and they had forgotten that it was Spiderman's excellence that had brought the money to them, not just the mask and a cool villain. Lets face it, they got all Batman & Robin.
I feel for Rami and Maguire, it can't feel good to know you went out on a whimper. Yeah, it made money but it wasn't very good and if I was either of them I'd be gutted especially following what they'd achieved in Spiderman Two. Saying all this we look towards the new film and ask whats the point? Why bother going back to the beginning? Universe continuity is the answer.
Marvel studios fought to make great films about their great characters; they succeeded. They also had a vision, one that was recently realised in the immensely brilliant Avengers Assemble. They wanted to make lots of films, make lots of money and have characters that existed in the same universe as each other giving them the ability to 'cross-over', to enrich each others movies. They have done this but there are some corners of the universe that are still all Han Solo namely anything pre The Incredible Hulk.
Spiderman is a big part of the Marvel Universe and most of the material for the Marvel movies comes from a range of comics they released called The Ultimates. In this side universe everything's a bit harsher, more realistic, harder edged and some of the origins were altered to make the transition to a darker future. Spidey was one that fell under the re-write and it did the job.
The Ultimates were excellent and made it viable to make these movies without asking that painful question; when do we start all these characters from? They've been going for at least forty years? So the Spiderman reboot is a great thing! It means they can give us a Spiderman that's in the same playground as The Avengers and it looks like they've done a really good job! Garfield looks great in the costume, The lizard is the villain and Rhys Ifans is perfect for the Ultimates incarnation of that character. Can I also point out that The Lizard was kicking Spidey's ass for years before Venom was even a Wink in the Beyonder's eye, so fuck Venom, he should have been well down the list anyway.
Spidey is coming in from the cold...and I can't fucking wait!