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5 Rules for a Spider-Man Reboot

How to Make the Perfect Spider-Man Movie

By Chad Derdowski     November 04, 2009

5 Rules for a Spider-Man Reboot
© Mania/ Robert Trate


What do you do when a formerly successful film franchise has run its course? Do you hang it up and hope to find another diamond in the rough? Hell no! You reboot! It’s worked for James Bond, Star Trek, Batman, Jason Vorhees and even the Hulk… well, maybe not so well for the Hulk. But the point is, a reboot can be a great way to inject some vitality into a sagging franchise and filmgoers have proven they’ll accept it.
Does the Spider-Man franchise need a reboot? Maybe, maybe not, but with Sam Raimi signed on to direct the fourth installment (but not 5 & 6), we’re left wondering which direction the ship will sail once Captain Raimi has left the vessel. And because we’re all former Boy Scouts, we live by the motto “be prepared.” So here are our rules for the next guy to step in after Raimi: our Rules for a Spider-Man Reboot.

5. Skip the Origin Story

Who are you? Where did you come from? You seriously don’t know Spider-Man’s origin? The first Spidey film was an origin story and the second opened with a montage that recreated it. Every animated version of Spider-Man has retold the origin and next to Superman and Batman, he’s the most well known costumed crimefighter on the planet. A 10-minute sequence at the beginning of the movie with a Stan Lee voiceover explaining the story will be enough. Don’t waste our time by making us sit through it again.

4. Ditch Ditko – We’re Raving About Romita!

The whole puny nerd with powers thing was great in the first three movies, just as it was great in the first 38 issues of the comic. But once “Jazzy” Johnny Romita took over, the book took on a whole new look and feel, one we’d like to see replicated in the movies.
Romita was a veteran of romance comics and brought that style to Spider-Man, recreating Peter as a buff dude with hip hair and hot babes lusting after his web-shooters. Sweater vests and spectacles were out and a sexy, swingin’ Peter Parker was in. Tobey Maguire is a fine actor and completely fit the role of the classic nerd that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created in the early years of Spider-Man, but the progression of time saw Uncle Ben’s favorite nephew finally blossom into manhood and the movies should follow suit.

3. Be Conscientious of Continuity

Pete and Mary Jane were married in the comics when the first Spider-Man movie was made, so it only made sense to use her as the love interest in the film. But if the series is rebooted, we’d like to see the filmmakers adhere a little more closely to the events as they actually took place.
Let’s see Gwen Stacy as the love interest of the first of the new installments and maybe even a mention of the fact that Peter briefly dated Betty Brant. Then when the sequel is made, have Gwen die at the hands of the Green Goblin; don’t blow your wad in the first movie like Raimi did. Introduce the Black Cat as well as Mary Jane–don’t forget that Peter played the field.
And while we’re on the subject of continuity, how about J. Jonah Jameson as a villain? Take a look back at some of the earliest Spider-Man villains and you’ll find that a large number of them started out as common criminals until some crazy scientist was hired by JJJ to create a new supervillain to destroy Spider-Man. Bring back some of that wackiness.
And don’t let everyone and their brother find out Spidey’s true identity either! Yes, it’s logical to assume that a few people are going to figure it out and we loved the fact that Aunt May knew and let us know she knew, but never really came out and said that she knew in Spider-Man 2. But one of the biggest selling points of Spider-Man is that he can’t catch a break and a big part of this is caused by his double identity. When everyone knows who he is, they’re a lot more likely to let it slide when he breaks a date or shows up late to a play.

2. Keep the Mask On!

This is the biggest A-#1 issue we have with all three Spider-Man movies. Okay, the numerous dance scenes in Spider-Man 3 are the biggest problem we have, but this one is a close second… we’re not buying tickets to see Tobey Maguire-Man, we’re buying tickets to see Spider-Man, and the fact that he has ended every single film in the franchise with his mask off has never sat right with us.
If it’s a matter of the studio wanting to make sure they get their money’s worth and wanting to make sure we know who’s in the starring role: don’t bother. We know. We’ve watched the first 2/3 of the movie – the stuff where he’s Peter Parker and he’s walking around in street clothes. The actor’s name is plastered on the posters and in the credits. We know who the star is, but maybe the studios don’t–the star of the movie is SPIDER-MAN, not the guy who plays him. Yes, we want a good actor in the role, but we also want to see Spider-Man look the way he actually looks in the comics! With a mask!
If it’s a matter of an actor’s vanity: suck it up. You’re playing Spider-Man. Spider-Man wears a mask. If you’re not a good enough thespian to act with a full facemask on or if you’re the sort who refuses to make a film in which the viewers can’t see your face then take your ego and get the hell out of our Spidey movie. Take a lesson from Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta – real actors act and if you’re a good enough actor, you can do it with a mask on.
And while we’re on the subject of masks, would it kill the costume designers to get the eyes right? Spidey has rounded, bubble-shaped eyes that point in the corners, not triangle-shaped ones! It might seem like a minor nitpick, but the rest of the (incredibly iconic) costume is dead-on. Why not do the eyes the way they’re supposed to look?

1. Have Fun!

Our final rule for a Spider-Man reboot is to just have fun with it. Yes, with great power comes great responsibility and a big part of the appeal of Spider-Man is his everyman status: he’s been repeatedly crapped on and then kicked while he’s down. But the one thing Sam Raimi seems to have forgotten is that when Pete puts the costume on, it’s a release. The shy bookworm disappears and is replaced by a wisecracking joker. We got a few one-liners and a “whoo-hooo!” or two in the three Spider-Man movies, but it wasn’t nearly enough and frankly, it just didn’t feel like Spider-Man. We saw a whole lot of pathos and more than enough weeping (dear lord, it felt like Peter did nothing but cry in the first movie), but where were the laughs? Spider-Man is known as a character who takes two steps forward and then three steps back, but Raimi barely let him get one foot in front of the other before kicking him in the nuts.
As we suggested earlier, we’d like to see a more confident Peter Parker in these movies-the guy who met Gwen Stacy at the Coffee Bean or took Mary Jane out dancing. More importantly, we want to see a Spider-Man who mocks his enemies while dancing circles around them. We want a Spider-Man who not only infuriates the villains by defeating them, but also insults them the whole time he’s doing it. We want a Spider-Man who makes us laugh and makes us feel good about ourselves because he’s just like us: he has a whole lot of bad times, but like the comic-reading geek who finds release in the adventures of Spider-Man, Peter also finds that same sense of escape and excitement when he puts on the tights.
And for God’s sake, stop crying all the time!

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garygriffith03@yahoo.com_home 11/4/2009 2:55:56 AM

the comment i just read is dead on point. its good. excellent. spiderman is a popular superhero.

it would be good to see him use web shooters because its what he uses in the comic book.

as far as adding new faces,the fans should see peter interact with other characters that he grown

attach to.also,let the fans see spiderman fight the scorpion,shocker. these villans could also give

spiderman a good fight if the studio decides to use these villans and if the script is good. but it may

awhile to see if the studio will continue to reboot the franchise.


Flint521466 11/4/2009 4:32:37 AM

Rule#1  NO BeeGee's music. Period.

Rule#2 If we are gonna be forced to look at Kirsten Dunst, again, she SHOULD be topless.  Topless throughout the entire movie.   


Dazzler 11/4/2009 4:33:20 AM

I agree the most with a funny SM.  Way too depressing a guy when in suit. 

Wiseguy 11/4/2009 4:54:50 AM

I agree with most if not all of the list but we're still possibly loooking at 3 more before a reboot

EagleManiac 11/4/2009 5:33:56 AM

I thought there was already a "perfect" SpiderMan. It was SpiderMan II. Amazing how people are when it comes to movies today. When Spidey 2 came out, it was hailed as one of the best comic book movies ever done. Now we're talking a reboot. Sheesh.

Matador 11/4/2009 5:50:23 AM

Well it might not need a reboot but maybe  a new director and some fresh faces as actors. Because come on people Toby can't stay young forever. And Dunst topless yeah about that I might not want to lose my lunch next to a kid even her tits and candy corn teeth may reappear its ugly head. But hey Dunst I hear there makeing Clash of the Titans you'd fit nicely in that movie.

UberGeek 11/4/2009 6:32:19 AM

No more effin reboots! We've been rebooted to death. Reboot rage has set in. Spidey doesn't need a reboot. Keep with the sequels.

monkeyfoot 11/4/2009 6:52:46 AM

Good ideas to be incorperated into the franchise, especially the mask thing. I think the reason they do that is that Raimi probably wants to get Tobey emoting and the audience seeing his pain and happiness, but it's been used way too much in these movies. I like the V for Vendetta analogy. Keep the mask on!!

shadowprime 11/4/2009 7:27:01 AM


I don't think we need a reboot for Spidey, but all for some tinkering around the edges, some discussion of possible changes in direction!

Gotta agree with the kudos for SPIDERMAN 2 ... IMHO, hard for a Spider-Man movie to top it. In fact - blasphemy to some, I know!- I think Spiderman 2 is the best "bright" superhero movie yet made (with THE INCREDIBLES a close second!) . WIth the trend towards making everything "dark and gritty",  I think Spidey 2 showed you can still go the other route.

The "mask thing" is funny - it has been a while since I saw IRON MAN, but didn't they also have Downey lose the helmet in the final battle scene? I can appreciate the thinking - that actors express emotion largely with their faces, so a full face mask limits the ability of the actor to ...well ... ACT ... but yeah, would be nice to see Spidey finish a movie in full mask, etc. Just saying. 

And yes, I would like to see a bit more of the wise-cracking Spiderman. This part of his personality has been played up or played down by various writers/creative teams over the year, but for me, it is a core part of who Spidey "is" - and esp early on, it really highlighted the difference between the "wallflower" Peter Parker and Spider-Man... Peter really came out of his shell when he donned the mask.

AND strongly agree with the last point - Spiderman should be FUN. Yes, there has been angst and anguish for Spidey over the years, loss and dark times, and I DO think that Peter Parker's day to day unmasked travails with his personal life is part of the Spidey "canon", BUT.... we have TONS of dark, gritty, somber, anguished heroics these days (and to be clear, LOVE "Dark Knight").  Keep Spidey fun. Not silly, not at the cost of heroics (again, see Spidey 2!) but FUN.



timesobserver 11/4/2009 7:44:13 AM

A very good review but I can't help but notice that a few of the suggestions on here were ones that I made a few weeks ago. (Check out the link).

If that's the case, it's nice to know that my rules for the next Spidey movie had an impact!


Anyway, I like your suggestion with Gwen and you are right, a 10-minute recap of how Peter got his powers would be nice.

Let's also add that the bad guys don't always have to die. I'm a big fan of putting them in jail. It's just sort of done to death that the villain dies in the end. (Didn't mean to pun.)

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