15 February 2018

How I Would Wrap Up the Abandoned Sam Raimi Spider-Man Saga, pt. 1

Last year, for those not in the know, a wonderful new meme came into existence: the Raimi Meme. It revolved mostly around Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy - the ones that started so strong and ended with the dumpster fire that was Spider-Man 3. Much like the Star Wars Prequel Memes, Raimi Memes praised all three Spider-Man flicks - even unironically supporting the third. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. Fuck it. Spider-Man 3, a decade later, can be viewed as a farce; a cheesy cornball comedy. Although I typically hate when people say a movie is "not to be taken seriously," Spider-Man 3 is, when it comes down to it, not to be taken seriously. When you bear that in mind, the movie can be some semblance of entertaining.

Yes, it's still very not good. And yes, it resulted in the abandonment of what began as a promising superhero movie franchise. But the unfortunate fact of the matter - one that none of us really wants to face but can't be denied nonetheless - is that the long-awaited Spider-Man 4 is a movie we will never see. We'll never know what Sam Raimi and friends had in store for us in the fourth Spidey flick, if they had anything planned at all. This is a tragic fact. I'll give you a moment to let it sink in. I know. It sucks. Oh boy, yeah no.

All of that being said, I'd like to propose an idea not only for Spider-Man 4, but for the rest of the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi Spider-Man films. I hope I don't piss off too many people with this. I know a lot of folks might loathe it. Regardless, I've put a ton of thought into this, and I feel confident enough to share it with the world.

Spider-Man 4

It's seven months after the events of Spider-Man 3. New York City's still as brimming with crime as it's always been, but Spidey's still at the ready and kicking ass. But Peter Parker isn't the same Peter Parker we've come to know and love. This movie will start off a bit like 2004's Spider-Man 2, in that Peter is absolutely goddamned depressed over the fact that he will likely never be with his beloved Mary-Jane Watson - of course, this time it's not because of the great power stemming from his great responsibility, but rather because he fucked up big time seven months ago when he put on the symbiote Spider-Man suit and went all Ike Turner on MJ. The two have yet to reconcile their differences, as MJ understandably cannot forgive Peter. The film will open with a narration by Peter explaining all of this, just before he spots a bank robbery in place and swings into action.

I like the idea of various B-list Spider-Man villains showing up in these movies not as the Big Time Baddies, but just as thorns in the Web Slinger's side. Therefore, the baddie robbing this particular bank will be none other than the Shocker. Spider-Man will hurl corny electricity-related puns and quips at Shocker during their ensuing quarrel, and maybe there's just a moment when the depressed superhero drifts into his own miserable world - but in the end he does what he always does and kicks the villain's ass, just in time for the police - who of course now welcome Spider-Man with open arms - show up to take Shocker into custody.

Something that's bothered me since Spider-Man 2 is the lack of closure we got with the whole John Jameson debacle. What happened to him? Did he move on? Did he off himself? I believe there's a deleted scene where Louise - MJ's friend and actress pal who delivers the bad news to John that MJ's left him at the alter - flirts with John and it's maybe-sort-of implied that they might end up together, but if we're being honest, that's stupid. So let's ignore all of that. I propose instead that John Jameson wanted to get as far as he could from the world, and what better way to do that than to literally go to the moon? Yes, it's cheesy, but hasn't the Raimi saga been pretty cheesy all in all?

So Jameson accepts a mission to, I don't know, go to the moon. For some reason. I haven't fleshed this part out yet. Maybe they're just dicking around looking for moon rocks or replacing the now-white sun-bleached American flag with a new, radiant red-white-and-blue. Who the hell knows? Whatever - point is, a crew of astronauts led by John Jameson lifted off from Cape So-and-So and landed on the moon. John and another astronaut go into some crater because moon rocks, and the ground beneath the one guy collapses out of nowhere. The guy falls down a hole (fuck the lack of gravity; I don't need to explain this weird science) and injures himself, maybe even dies. John of course, ever the hero, comes after him, floating down safely using his jet boots or something, only to find his friend dead with a broken neck. But there's something strange about this hole - the surface through which his friend broke is made of hard plastic - or some other material found only on Earth. Has somebody else been here before? Curious, John investigates the vast cavern. Etched into the walls are some sort of alien writing, runes and all that, with drawings depicting a wolf-like creature. At the end of the cavern is a shrine with a bright bluish white diamond floating in midair. John, the idiot, approaches the jewel and it glows so bright he has to shield his eyes, and screams.

We'll cut to two other astronauts floating down into the cavern. They find John, who has fainted, and help him up. As they go to escape, we see that the diamond on the shrine is gone.

Dun dun dun.

Back aboard the ship, the remaining crew frantically lifts off, heading back home. They contact Houston or whatever and explain the situation. John sits by a window, awakening from his little faint-coma. (I'm bad with words; give me a break.) He looks out the window and sees the moon, glowing the same faint bluish white as that diamond in the cavern. Suddenly, his chest glows that same hue, and he coughs as he falls to the floor, gripping his chest. The torso of his suit rips open, revealing a hairy brown chest - but we see nothing else. Not yet.

Back on Earth, the men at Cape So-and-So are talking to the astronaut crew via a giant screen, when all of a sudden, some unseen entity attacks the crew. Each of them is torn to shreds in that beautiful horrifically violent Sam Raimi fashion, until the feed cuts off. Two men in suits look at each other, concerned. We maybe get the vibe that they know something.

The ship crashes somewhere in the Midwest, and John crawls from the wreckage relatively unharmed. He has no recollection of what occurred aboard the ship, and is confused and tearful to find his dead crew. He takes off and ends up at some shit tavern in Nebraska, where a television informs him that the folks at Cape So-and-So have found the space shuttle's wreckage and have confirmed that all of the crew is dead. This upsets John, since he's, y'know, obviously not dead and they couldn't have possibly found his body. Somebody's up to something.

This has been pretty long so I won't get into a whole lot of detail from here on out - John ends up going to the home of an older astronaut who had gone to the moon back in the '70s. He's looking for answers. The astronaut tells John that they found something horrible in that cavern and opted to board it up, telling nobody about their discovery save for some suits back home. They discovered that the only way to kill those affected by the diamond is with a silver bullet - and the dude turns his gun on John, who has already turned into - THE MANWOLF. The astronaut lets out a screech of horror as the growling wolflike John Jameson attacks.

Back in Manhattan, Peter's dealing with his depressing shit. He's just floored. Everything sucks. Maybe there's a scene where he tries to fix things with MJ but she just won't have it. Aunt May gives a rousing speech filled with cliched advice. Peter probably doesn't even thank her as he heads back home on his stupid moped.

Okay, so Manwolf's whole thing is that he wants to hunt down everybody involved in this moon conspiracy. Most of them reside around North Jersey, since I'm pretty sure there's some military bases or army camps or some shit up there. This, of course, takes him to Manhattan, because it makes sense that some of these suits would live there. It gets all over the news that this werewolf-esque beast is wreaking havoc all over the city, appearing every night. For those who've stuck with me thus far, this is where it gets juicy.

See, Spider-Man 3 did that thing where they had multiple villains. And it sort of went haywire. But either way, they had more than one baddie, and I feel like the sequel needs to follow suit in some fashion. So, what villain could we possibly introduce in a movie with a wild animal running around New York?

You know who I'm talking about.

Deep in the heart of Australia, a badass albeit highly narcissistic fella with his own Steve Irwin-esque TV show is falling on hard times because people just don't watch that sort of shit anymore. His agent or publicist or whatever recommends that he announce he'll be flying to New York for a special series within his show - one where he promises to hunt down, capture, and slaughter the werewolf rampaging through the city.

Yes, indeed: Kraven the Hunter has entered the building.

Meanwhile, Manwolf has killed off all the folks involved in that weird moon conspiracy, but his thirst for blood has yet to reach its end as he has now achieved uncharted levels of insanity. His primal instincts kick in, and he inherently thinks back to the one thing that's fucked him up above all else - his broken heart. He stalks MJ night after night, not quite getting close enough to arouse her suspicion. One night, MJ finally agrees to meet up with Peter for dinner, and look at that, they're actually getting along! But of course, Manwolf sees the couple and it hits him - Peter Parker is the man MJ left him for.

That night, while a happy Peter heads home, he's attacked by Manwolf. Maybe at some point early on he, as Spidey, had gotten into a few fights with Manwolf. (Actually, there's no maybe about that - obviously it's been established that Spider-Man and Manwolf are fighting foes.) This time, though, he's just Peter Parker. Of course, once it's revealed to Manwolf that Peter is gifted with the very same superpowers as Spider-Man, John puts two and two together and comes to the conclusion that his nemesis Spider-Man is the very same as his new enemy, Peter Parker.

Alright, yeah, I'll wrap this up. Kraven eventually decides that while he's trying to boost his ratings, he may as well go all out - he publicly challenges Spider-Man to a hunt. First to capture Manwolf wins. The winner won't win anything save for the satisfaction of winning, and bragging rights, naturally. The city cheers on Spider-Man, who says fuck it and accepts Kraven's challenge. Of course, Kraven is a deceitful dick, so he persuades Manwolf to team up with him - only to betray him once he's got both Manwolf and Spidey in the same room. Kraven gets hurt in the ensuing fight - the final climactic battle - and Spider and Manwolf are just going at it. Finally MJ shows up unexpectedly (or maybe she's kidnapped by Manwolf the way she always is) and talks down Manwolf. John backs down, seeing the monster he has become, but he doesn't forgive MJ or Peter. Regardless, in a final act of selflessness, he sacrifices himself somehow (maybe stabs himself with a silver-whatever) and dies. Kraven the Coward gets up and snatches Manwolf's corpse while his camera crew films it, and he proclaims that he is the one who's defeated the terroristic werewolf. Spidey figures okay, fuck it, who cares. During the battle, I should have mentioned, Kraven sees that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, because naturally his mask is torn off at some point. So at the end, before Kraven heads back to Australia, Spider-Man confronts him, making sure he'll keep Peter's secret. Kraven sort of smiles and says something along the lines of, "Why would I give up my prey so easily? You're my hunt, Spider-Man, and mine alone." before heading off. Some awesome line like that. We hate Kraven, but we also love him. He's like the asshole lead male in a Wes Anderson movie. He's Royal Tenenbaum. It's impossible to fully despise this son of a bitch.

In the end, to wrap up this nonsense, Peter and MJ make up when they realize that their love for one another will never die, and they can't risk losing each other again. They've learned some lesson about forgiveness from John Jameson and that whole fiasco. Peter proposes, MJ says yes, and we end the film with their long-awaited wedding ceremony. A much-needed happy note.

The end.

Okay. This was a long post, so I'll save Spider-Man 5 for another one. But I will say this much: Spider-Man 5 will be the final installment in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man franchise.