Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The Spider-Man 4-6 Game Plan
According to yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Spider-Man 3 made $373 million in worldwide ticket sales over the weekend, beating out both the previous domestic box office champ (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and the previous worldwide box office champ (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith).
I’m quite glad to hear it did so well, because that means there’s going to be another one. And hopefully, it will be another one directed and co-written by Sam Raimi* and starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst**. The first one is rumored to be in consideration for and/or considering doing a hobbit movie, Maguire was talking about leaving after the first film, and Dunst has said repeatedly over the years that she thinks three is plenty.
The money oughta change all three of their minds, though and, at the least, they could always take a longer break between films in the future. Because these three, along with J.K. Simmons and Dylan Baker, need to make at least three more movies.
Yes, three more.
Because, let’s face it, MJ and Peter are in a rough patch of their relationship right now, and I’d really, really like to see them get married and have a happy ending, rather than have Raimi switch MJ out for one of the other love interests. But, more importantly, how awesome would Spider-Man 6: The Sinister Six be?
Okay, so here’s the plan.
For Spider-Man 4, Baker finally becomes the Lizard. They’ve been teasing us for three films now, let’s finally make this happen, huh? Seeing that 3 made so much more dough than 1 or 2, I’m afraid that means we might see at least two villains per movie for the rest of the franchise, but I personally think it’s a mistake. Sure, more money was made here, but the last movie was a critical darling and a box office success. Isn’t having a gigantic pile of money that you can feel truly proud of earningworth giving up a few million worth of Vulture action figure sales for? (Mike Sterling says throw Kraven into the Spidey vs. Lizard mix; that would work, but I’d rather see a wedding and more Jonah and the Bugle staff than a big game hunter with a funny vest).
That will bring us to #5, and for that I propose one of two very lame villains—Mysterio or the Chameleon. Why would the movie want to bother with a special effects master-turned-master illusionist or a master of disguise? Simply because either of their powers would make for a neat movie, one that would allow former castmembers to return.
For example, imagine Chameleon played by Topher Grace, acting like Eddie Brock. Peter/Spidey knows he’s dead, but look—there he is! Or ditto James Franco’s Harry, who Peter also knows is dead. Chameleon could pretend to be Eddie, Harry, Norman Osborne, Uncle Ben, Aunt May, MJ, Otto Octavius—any character who has previously appeared, played by any of those actors, so a lot of the great actors who have been killed off could be involved in another film, and players like Rosemary Harris or Dunst could get a little more to do—like fight Spider-Man. Brilliant, no? (My email address is up in the right-hand corner if you want to talk more about this later, Mr. Raimi).
And that brings us to movie #6, the perfect film to close the franchise out on (not counting the J. Jonah Jameson trilogy, which has to happen, of course).
And who would make for a better villain for a sixth Spider-Man than the Sinister Six?
Of the original line-up, we’ve only seen two appear in the movies, and one of those has died. It would be cool to team-up the surviving villains of the first five movies for the blow-out sixth one, with new characters to fill out the roster. Or simply return one or two, and introduce the rest of the Spidey villains Raimi really, really wants to do, particularly the ones like Electro and Rhino who are basically just thugs, and thus don’t need the rich back story that Doctor Octopus got or The Lizard almost certainly will get.
I’d propose Mysterio, the Vulture, the Scorpion, the Rhino, Electro and the Sandman. Or, if we’re going for a greatest hits theme from the other films, Sandman, Venom (um, Brock bonded with the symbiote, and enough of it survived the explosion to reconstitute itself?), the Lizard, Mysterio or The Chameleon (whoever you put in five) and introducing Electro and the Scorpion.
If I were in charge of this franchise, I’d generally steer clear of ever using the Black Cat, whom I think will seem too derivative of Catwoman when it comes to cat-themed, live action super-vigilante types, Kraven the Hunter (whom is a cool Spidey villain, but not as filmic a one as…every other Spidey villain, and the whole, “I hunt the most dangerous prey of all” thing has already been in seven million movies), Morbius (We’ve seen enough vampires in films, thanks) and Man-Wolf (ditto for werewolves), even though that last one would give us a nice Jameson-centric plot, giving Simmons more to do that his wonderful gruff editor schtick and set up a nice conflict for Dunst's MJ ("Oh no, my former fiance has superpowers and is fighting my current super-powered fiance!").
Of course, the bad news about Spider-Man 3 doing as well as it did is the exact same as the good news—it means that they’ll be making another one no matter what, even if Raimi, Maguire and Dunst all decide to work on projects that don’t involve Raimi having to spend much time with Avi Arad, Tobey Maguire helping teach kids about spiders, or Dunst having to do a press junket that involves Comicbookresources.com.
There aren’t that many superhero franchises that have reached the point of three films before—just the first cycles of the Batman and Superman franchises, and X-Men—but it seems to me that they’ll keep doing them until they get so bad they don’t make a lot of money, which means all franchises have to end on a down note (Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and Batman and Robin…I didn’t think X-Men: The Last Stand was much worse than the previous two, but I know the conventional wisdom is that it blew).
So, worst case scenario, maybe Sony will rush out a sans-Raimi Spider-Man 4 featuring Carnage and the Hobgoblin, directed by Uwe Boll.
*But bring that Michael Chabon guy back to help out with the script, huh?
**I realize with the introduction of Gwen Stacy, and the possibility of introducing Felica Hardy somewhere down the line, Mary Jane is probably the least important of these three, but dammit, I really like what Raimi’s done with the MJ/Peter relationship and I really like Dunst, and would rather see a Spider-Man movie with her than without her in it.