We Can Fix Spider-Man 4

Posted: January 8, 2010 in Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , ,

Okay. So, Spider-Man 4 has hit a production snag. This seems to be because Sam Raimi would really, REALLY like his movie to feature the Vulture – an octogenarian in a bright green bird suit. The studio, meanwhile, would prefer a love-triangle element featuring the Black Cat (a busty woman in a skintight black costume).

In Raimi’s defense, the last time the studio pushed Raimi to include a character he wasn’t interested in, we got Venom, who was at least partially responsible for the big old clusterfuck that was Spider-Man 3.

In the studio’s defense, the character he DID want to use was Sandman, who was a neat pile of special effects with a tenuous connection to rest of the movie. And this time he would rather choose a pretty uninteresting character (old man in bird suit) over what would at the very least be a pretty reliable Spidey-Mary Jane-Black Cate love triangle, and also hey look, hot woman in skintight black leather.

But in the end they’re both very, VERY wrong. Here’s something I wrote back in June ’08. It is the plot of Spider-Man 4 that EVERYONE AGREES would be better than whatever it is Raimi and Sony want to do:

Here’s your plot:
Dr. Curt Connors (supporting player all-star Dylan Baker) has finally made a breakthrough with his lizard-based limb-regrowing formula, with the help of Peter, now working in his lab as a graduate student.
But when the formula goes crazy, Connors turns into The Lizard, and rampages through the city. Peter concocts an antidote and promises Connors’ wife he’ll save him. But then, enter celebrity hunter Sergei “Kraven the Hunter” Kravenoff. Kraven boasts that he’ll hunt and kill the Lizard for a pay-per-view special.
Peter Parker’s assigned by the Bugle to take pictures of the production, which means he’s working in close proximity to Kraven…who starts to realize there’s more to Peter than meets the eye.
And if all THIS wasn’t enough, Peter and MJ are trying to put things together for their wedding, and he’s got to do things like pick up invitations and bla-bla-bla all the opportunities for light comedy that Sam Raimi tries every movie.
It all ends with a big-ass fight between Spidey, Kraven, and the Lizard, as Spidey tries to subdue each of them without hurting them – or allowing them to hurt each other. Finally, Kraven’s taken down long enough for Peter to give Connors the antidote, returning him to normal.
Now, depending on how you want to play Kraven, you can have a “wa-wa-waaaa” moment where buffoonish Kraven realizes that he’s got no one to “hunt” and gets embarrassed and slinks away. Or, the Noble Hunter can realize he’s been hunting the wrong prey, and solemnly walks away from the pursuit.
And what does Peter get? He gets to go home to a girlfriend who loves him, and the satisfaction that he put his life on the line and things turned out okay. Which is the most Peter should ever be rewarded with, really.

Thematic Beats:
– Peter gets to feel his usual undeserved guilt, this time on account of helping Connors with his formula;
– Connors represents yet another villain for whom good scientific intentions went wrong;
– Connors’ family connections can contrast with Peter and MJ’s impending marriage, showing (via MJ, who by now displays a kind of cop’s-wife mentality on dealing with a loved one in constant danger) how strong that kind of commitment can be;
– Because the Lizard antidote could also negate Peter’s powers, he has an honest reason to ask himself how important his Spider-Man duties are to him.

Big Exciting Action Beats:
– A big fight scene or two each for Spidey Vs. Lizard, Spidey Vs. Kraven, and then the big snazzy three-way fight scene at the end;
– And the rest of the movie gets to be a pretty fast-paced chase movie.

Yeah, But What About Bruce Campbell?:
– Maybe we can throw him in as a loser supervillain – let’s say Mysterio for the name recognition, but someone like The Spot or The Kangaroo could do just fine – Spider-Man has to take time away from the chase to quickly beat up (and hey, there’s three villains for you!).

Now, it might look like I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. I haven’t. A basic understanding of available characters, recognition of what makes a standard Spider-Man story, and five minutes of brainstorming – that’s all the brain-power I expended. Like five minutes.

So if this movie actually happens and doesn’t look like what I’ve described? You’ll know shit went horribly, horribly wrong pretty much immediately.

(And we’re back in the present, where things went horribly, horribly wrong pretty much immediately. I hate being right.)

  1. braak says:

    I still think there’s merit in having a Spider-Man movie where all of Spider-Man’s villains appear for, like, a minute each. He’s on his way to do something, but has to stop Stilt-Man. Got those invitations for the wedding? Yes, I–wait, hang on, the Rhino. &c.

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    “Oh man – the post office is closed AND The Spot wants to kill me? Just my LUCK.”

  3. K. Liebert says:

    Hot damn that sounds good.

  4. Tad says:

    i’m so torn: holland’s idea has character and plot and all that good stuff, but the hot woman in skintight black leather has a hot woman in skintight black leather!

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    @Tad: I’m pretty sure that’s what every meeting between Raimi and the studio has been. “But…but HOT WOMAN!”

  6. V.I.P. Referee says:

    “…Connors represents yet another villain for whom good scientific intentions went wrong…”

    Yes, there is an awful lot of that, in “Spider-Man”, isn’t there? The films are starting to resemble ornate campaigns against “Monsanto”. Apparently, we wouldn’t have to worry about biotechnology and the GREAT POWER that goes with it, if scientists would just stop doing their science. Maybe Peter will altogether avoid that immoral, science-y crew, after he’s married.

    And there’s never enough screen time for Bruce Campbell, in my opinion; there is, however, far too much screentime allotted to women in black, leather, body suits.

  7. Jeff Holland says:

    I think everyone should note that truly responsible scientists don’t do experiments alone and in secret. They work with teams, and observe proper testing procedures. And that’s why they don’t end up in horrible mutating accidents. (It’s also how they maintain their grant funding.)

    Other than Reed Richards. Sure, why NOT steal an experimental rocket with your girlfriend, her gearhead kid brother, and a pilot who keeps INSISTING the shields aren’t strong enough? What could POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

  8. braak says:

    There is nothing about Reed Richards’ life that has even remotely hinted at anything like responsibility.

  9. Moff says:

    I have to add my voice to the chorus praising this idea. Kraven would make a fantastic movie villain, too.

    @braak: I think his TOTAL BORINGNESS hints at responsibility, albeit arguably mistakenly.

  10. braak says:

    Fair. Enough.

  11. Jeff Holland says:

    Oh, he’s not responsible JUST BECAUSE he used supervillains as his wife’s OB-GYNs on two separate occasions.

    So judgmental.

  12. V.I.P. Referee says:

    The truly responsible scientists are working alone in labs for 12 hours at a time. Watching tests. Recording. Observing. Oh Look! Another test. Another set, another–blah!–scan screen. Always one step away from either:

    A.) An unending boredom that begins to blur the boundaries of space and time or

    B.) The lean toward play-doh funtime and games of scientific seediness that might culminate into something cool, useless and potentially dangerous. Glowing, green mice. Almost evil (not really, but we’ve been trained to think green, glowing things = Abject annihilation).

    The irresponsible scientists are running their mouths at conventions and then running back to their underlings, with a: “Shite! How do we make my statement legitimate?”

    The real danger lies in scientists who, apparently, have no remote understanding of the basic dangers of the stuff they’re working with. This is the gal making shadow ducks with radioactive rods or the guy who just swallowed a roll of quarters, saying: “Okay, on the count of three, you’re going to turn on that big ol’ magnet and we’re going to see what happens! This is going to be sooo awesome!!”

  13. […] Lies Spider-Man 4 Huh. So after all the trouble I go to to fix Spider-Man 4, Sony goes ahead and pulls the plug on […]

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