Since his comic book debut in 1962, the Spider-Man mythos has become far-reaching and prolific with multiple series dedicated to the web-slinging hero. In the film world, Sam Raimi’s trilogy was a series of monster hits, but each movie following the original in 2002 had a tough time trying to maintain a similar standard of excellence. And then there’s the Amazing Spider-Man series and the most recent installment which made Sony rethink their entire approach to the character following its poor reviews.
David Koepp, who wrote 2002’s Spider-Man, recently spoke with Empire about how he would theoretically save the series.
If I were in charge of Spider-Man right now, and money was no object, I would… (Pauses) Well, now you can see why they are having trouble! (Laughs) Not so easy, is it?
When I was doing Spider-Man the first time, I remember distinctly having thoughts about three movies, each of a different kind. The way the comic-book lines switched, it was Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man… there were a number of them.
So rather than try to pursue the same course, or any kind of similar tone, you’d have strikingly different tones. The classic Spider-Man, that would be the top-of-the-line, studio Sam Raimi ones, then the Amazing Spider-Man ones, they’d be done for $75-80 million, and have a rougher, edgier, almost R-rated feel to them – if not R-rated, though I don’t think they could ever bring themselves to do that. Tougher, nastier, a rougher look… shorter movies. I don’t like superhero bloat, personally.
And these series didn’t have to be consecutive, they could be released concurrently. Then I also thought there should be a Spectacular Spider-Man series, because Spider-Man leaves out a large group of its audience. Little kids are fascinated by Spider-Man by the time they are three, or younger. But when I was a kid, I loved the animated series, so I always thought there should be separate lines to cater for different ages of Spider-Man fans.
And I’d certainly develop other characters in the Spider-Man universe, which is what they are trying to do, I know. Black Cat deserves her own movie series. As for the superhero genre generally now, I am stunned at its viability, its quality, its longevity, and its ability to grow and deepen. I think they’re great. I was so continually wrong about where superhero movies were going that now I am just an audience member, thrilled to see them continue to improve.
It’s not too far-fetched to believe that an R-rated Spider-Man film would work: it could be brilliant. Yet, there are few studios who would gamble on an R-rated superhero film simply because it limits the audience, and less audience means less box-office. If Sony were to follow Koepp’s plan, though, they could conceivably make a ton of money off the other two series of films which would allow for more wiggle room when it came to the more adult Spider-Man.
In theory, it could revive the franchise and allow audiences with varied tastes to enjoy their Spider-Man à la carte. The drawback to Koepp’s idea? Possible Spider-Man overkill, and too much of anything is a bad idea.