What A Tangled Web: Spider-Man 4 Killed. Raimi, Maguire Out

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Has there ever been a superhero movie franchise as bizarre as Spider-Man?

When I saw the first film back in 2002, I thought it worked as a piece of pop fluff, but didn’t quite register on any of the emotional levels one would hope for from one of the most popular comic series in print. Then I almost refused to see Spider-Man 2 which, prior to The Dark Knight, turned out to be the best superhero film ever made. I bought into Peter Parker’s big-screen world lock stock and barrel. Sam Raimi was a god. (More at Techland: See the 5 Underrated Sci-Fi Movie Masterpieces)

And then there was Spider-Man 3. The disgusting, dismaying, disheartening defamation known as Spider-Man 3. Epic fail. No more need be said about that (though we have plenty more to say about the other worst superhero films of all time)

Now late Monday comes the news that Spider-Man 4, which had been in the middle of script disputes, has been killed and gutted.  From Deadline Hollywood:

Raimi told Sony Pictures: “I can’t make your date. I can’t go forward creatively.” And, so, once he said “That’s it”, Sony Pictures co-chairman Pascal and Columbia Pictures’ Matt Tolmach decided they didn’t want to replace him and instead chose to reboot the franchise. Insiders also tell me that Tobey Maguire heard the news in a phone call with Amy today. I’m told Tobey wasn’t upset…There will be no Spider-Man 4. Instead, Mike Fleming is told, the studio will focus on a Summer 2012 reboot from a script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast.

So yep, gone is the director. And the talent. And all on the heels of John Malkovich’s revelation that he was to play The Vulture in the movie. Instead, think reboot. We’ll be getting a whole new cast, in a 3-D venture, in 2012, as Sony attempts to revamp a franchise that had gotten so very, very bland (see the YouTube clip below)

I’m fine with the news. Actually more than fine. There is now talk that Raimi might be hopping over to World of Warcraft instead.

To quote my colleague Peter Ha: “Why?! Why are they making another Spider-Man movie?!” (See Techland’s top 10 sci-fi movies of the decade)

The good news Peter: “They” aren’t making it any more.

The bad news: Someone else is.