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Delving into the 17-year Saga of Spider-Man 3: How the Original Sony Plan Might Have Spared the Film from Disaster

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Bangkok, Thailand - Aug 18, 2018: New Spider-Man PS4 game event in PlayStation Experience SEA (South East Asia) 2018. Spiderman model showing at demo booth with gamer playing trial version of the game (Sushiman / Shutterstock.com)

Key Takeaways:

– Screenwriter Alvin Sargent had plans to divide Spider-Man 3 into two sections to simplify the storyline and pay suitable attention to each character.
– The inability to find a suitable midpoint to split the story resulted in a compact version of Spider-Man 3, cluttered with characters and subplots.
– A combination of several reasons, including a surplus of characters and lack of creative control by Sam Raimi, led to the 's failure among critics and .
– Despite criticism, the original Spider-Man trilogy featuring retains its fan base and is available on +.

The Spider-Man Franchise: How it Began

When the Spider-Man franchise, headlined by Tobey Maguire and helmed by Sam Raimi came into existence, it spurred a new age of for a global . Especially adored was the second chapter, while the concluding third part sadly didn't garner similar appreciation. Today, we aim to scrutinize why the third installment, which launched exactly 17 years ago, wasn't as celebrated as its predecessors.

Overloading Spider-Man 3: The Challenge of Too Many Characters

The plot of Spider-Man 3 was stuffed with an excess of characters, from Harry Osborne and Sandman to Venom. With limited time, the film failed to effectively develop the story of these characters, leaving with a potentially confusing storyline. Alvin Sargent, the screenwriter for the movie, suggested a solution—splitting the story across Spider-Man 3 & 4. This approach would have simplified the narrative, providing sufficient time to explore each character thoroughly. Tragically, no suitable split point was identified for the narrative, leading to this idea being discarded.

Spider-Man 3: Was Splitting the Solution?

A compelling argument has been made that splitting Spider-Man 3 into two would not only have unbundled the complex narrative but also potentially boosted box-office returns for Sony. Given the commercial and critical success of the original Spider-Man trilogy, a fourth film could have propelled the franchise to higher heights. However, the complex nature of the third film's script resulted in a compacted version of Spider-Man 3, crammed with too many subplot and characters for audiences to enjoy unabridged.

Sifting through the reasons for Spider-Man 3's Failure

Despite being the final chapter of a beloved franchise, Spider-Man 3 disappointed critics and fans alike. A significant contributing factor to its downgrade in public opinion was the inclusion of several characters, clotting the storyline. Another grievance was the lack of creative control enjoyed by Sam Raimi, unlike the debut and second installments of the trilogy. The multitude of subplots left for difficult on-screen balance. As actor Thomas Hayden Church wittily put it, it was like attempting to force ten pounds of story into a five-pound bag.

Bungling the Character of Gwen Stacy: Adding Insult to Injury

Bryce Dallas Howard, who portrayed the character of Gwen Stacy, was criticized for being merely a prop to provoke jealousy in Kristen Dunst's MJ. The intricate relationship between Peter and Gwen, and the complexities of Gwen as a character, were glaringly neglected. These factors ultimately led to the story failing to forge a bond with the audience. This setback signaled the end of plans for a fourth movie and the culmination of Tobey Maguire's iconic Spider-Man trilogy, which lives on in the memories of fans and is available to stream on Disney+.

Indeed, the Spider-Man saga, continually expanded and reinvented, endures as an influential aspect of superhero film , despite the mixed reception of Spider-Man 3 that ended the Maguire era. Even as it celebrates its 17th anniversary, fans look back on the trilogy with a mixture of nostalgia and contemplation, speculating about how different things might have been if Spider-Man 3 had a divergent path.

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