Six Rules to Follow to Avoid A Sinister Mistake of A Spider-Man Film


There’s so much rumor going around regarding the future of Spider-Man in cinema to the point in which it is almost unpredictable. Regardless, I feel as if there eventually is some sort of foreseeable future, the film(s) to come should follow the following rules:

1. Don’t retell the origin story

If filmmakers find themselves in a reboot situation, the origin story need not be re-visted. We’re going to the movies to see the superhero be a superhero. His motivations can be encapsulated in flashback sequences at the most, but I’m sure viewers that have seen Spider-Man in comics, film, on TV, and/or while playing video games understand the origin, and if not, can look back to them or even watch them for the first time. Otherwise, we as Spider-Fans get the picture.

2. Peter must face guilt when not acting as a hero and the real-world problems of an everyman

The original Spider-Man trilogy by Sam Raimi did an amazing job at putting Peter at fault for what happened to his Uncle Ben, just as it happened in the comics. In the reboot, however, Peter is not only absolved of the guilt of Uncle Ben’s death by having Uncle Ben initiate a conflict with the burglar, but also the death of Gwen, as she voluntarily goes to help Peter in his battle with Electro, ultimately getting herself killed at the hands of the Green Goblin (which even then we see no one get blamed for directly). Peter is a character that not only needs to avenge others, but redeem himself when he defies the great responsibility he should have of his great power.

Not only that, but Peter, at this point, should be in college. We should see now what we saw in the best Spider-Man film of all time, Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, when Peter is missing classes due to being a superhero, or even delve into the financial issues Aunt May touches upon in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Yes, Spider-Man is one of the greatest superheroes, but his alter ego, in essence, is still a young adult trying to make his way in the real world.

3. Stick with one, prime villain

Raimi’s Spider-Man and most of all Spider-Man 2 were two of the best Spider-Man films because there was just enough to focus on. Spider-Man, while beginning the story, sets up the subtle, unrequited love of Peter Parker for Mary Jane Watson and a one-on-one conflict with Spider-Man and his archenemy, the Green Goblin. Spider-Man 2 ups the ante, and does so extremely well, by delving into the problems of being both Spider-Man and Peter Parker at the same time, intensifying the secret-keeping from love interest Mary Jane and vengeful Harry Osborn who wants to kill Spider-Man, who he believes killed his father, and another one-on-one conflict with Spider-Man and Doc Ock, the one super villain best portrayed on the big screen by Alfred Molina.

Overall, even with everything that’s going on in Spider-Man 2, the one central conflict allows these other subplots to fit into the film.

Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did not follow this rule and, thus, were harder to follow, and even harder to enjoy. In Spider-Man 3, Peter had to deal with Goblin Jr. (who could’ve easily been an ally if Bernard told Harry his father inadvertently killed himself earlier on), Sandman (who was foolishly made into Uncle Ben’s killer, who even more foolishly accidentally killed him) and Eddie Brock/Venom (who received hardly any screen time as one of the villains we admire the most). In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter had to deal with Rhino (who wasn’t really a problem due to his minor encounters, but I’ll get to that later), Electro (who had potential as a villain if put into a different Spider-Man film alone), and the Green Goblin (who should’ve been the only villain in the film considering Harry was connected to Norman who was connected to Peter’s parents, who are supposed to be the focal point of the reboot in the first place).

Overall, it was way too busy in both films to fit anything else of importance (which is my next rule) because of the overload of conflict.

My solution to this problem would be to have only one prime villain. Something new that can be attempted, rather than having street crime for Spider-Man to take on, is to have minute villain encounters, much like Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. These can either be vigilantes or henchman to the main villain.

4. Invest time into established subplots

The film that had that optimum amount of subplots was Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. The struggle of being Spider-Man and Peter Parker and Peter losing his powers as well as trying to keep his identity a secret from Mary Jane and Harry Osborn due to that struggle were two subplots that coated the main conflict between Spider-Man and Doc Ock.

It seems as if the two other main conflicts in the overloaded Spider-Man films should be replaced by subplots. Spider-Man 3, for example, would’ve been better off with the sudden death of Gwen Stacy (which would consequently give Eddie a reason to hate Spider-Man) to remind Peter that “with great power, comes great responsibility” with immense guilt that attracts the alien symbiote. This, and a quicker resolved conflict between Peter and Harry would coat the conflict between Spider-Man and Venom.

Another example, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, would be better off differently as well, but I’ll save that for another article!

5. Have no established love interest

In Raimi’s trilogy, the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane went strong for the first film and even stronger in the second, but failed miserably in the third. In Webb’s films, Gwen was a breath of fresh air into the love interest subplot with stronger chemistry between the two and the level of trust Peter has in her to immediately tell her he’s Spider-Man, consequentially removing the problematic concealing of Peter’s superhero identity. One problem…Gwen’s demise was inevitable, and audiences were left devastated.

It begs the question, do we really need a love interest if all it has amounted to in these films is demise, physically (death) or emotionally (aftermath of symbiote possession, despite the hopeful tone of the ending)?

My answer…no. Introduce these characters, but make them friends, and any interest towards them should be subtle.

6. Give villains unique origins

Lastly, what they’ve done in the reboot is have all of the villains thus far come from Oscorp. We know that the Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin, Rhino and, at some point, Doc Ock and Vulture all come from the same place. Sure, it’s convenient to have all of the villains come from the corporation owned by the archenemy, but it seems way too convenient. Each villain should have their unique origins and unique motivations (that may or may not eventually unite to create a team, à la The Sinister Six)

If you enjoy what you’ve read here at Whatever a Spider Can, we’ve got some exciting news for you — you can be part of the team here too! We’re looking for enthusiastic Spider-Fans to write for us on anything Spider-Man related. just fill in the form you’ll find here and tell us why you want to write for Whatever a Spider Can. We look forward to hearing from you!

Want more Spider-Man news? Subscribe to the Whatever A Spider Can newsletter to get the latest news and rumors about upcoming movies, TV shows and comics before anyone else. Or you can follow us on Twitter @WhatASpiderCan or like us on Facebook.