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Sam Raimi: The Problems With Spider-Man 3 Were "My Mistake"

Illustration for article titled Sam Raimi: The Problems With iSpider-Man 3 /iWere My Mistake

In his appearance on the Nerdist podcast, Sam Raimi had a lengthy discussion on everything that went wrong with Spider-Man 3. He both identifies mistakes he made and has a pretty good sense of humor about it.

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The whole thing is well worth listening to, if only for Raimi talking about what Bruce Campbell was like as a young man, but the discussion of Spider-Man 3 and its failings starts around the 1:04:40 mark, where Raimi says:

Working in that big budget arena, with so much at stake, with much beloved characters that Stan Lee created, people really hold them so dear to them that you don't want to mess up and I messed up with that third Spider-Man. People hated me for years. They still hate me for it.

... It's a movie that just didn't work very well. I tried to make it work, but I didn't really believe in all the characters, and so that can't be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn't love something, it's wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it.

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He's probably talking about the inclusion of Venom, which was added to the film at the studio's insistence. It's interesting of Raimi to basically say that he should never have worked on a movie that included major characters he didn't like. In a way, he's almost conceding that he sort of checked out in the third movie and it was clear to everyone. (Although, elsewhere in the podcast, Raimi does say that he was never exhausted by all the work.)

Host Chris Hardwick then says that it must be hard to get to the third movie, where the origin story's been done and now everyone wants to see the second movie topped. Raimi responds:

I think [raising the stakes] was the thinking going into it, and I think that's what doomed us. I should've just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar. I think that was my mistake.

It's also nice to see Raimi owning up to his part in the film's problems and have a bit of a sense of humor about it. When he's asked, after saying people hate him for it, what people say to him, Raimi says, "We hate you." It's clearly in a joking manner, and he's not harboring any malice towards people for hating the film. He jokes about it again later:

Raimi: Directors don't like to talk about their bad films.

Hardwick: I don't think that 'bad' is the right word.

Raimi: Awful.

That's both an admission of Spider-Man 3's very obvious problems and a self-deprecating joke. Well done, Sam Raimi.

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Of course, he's less sanguine about a more recent bad film, Oz the Great and Powerful, saying about it only, "I did the best I could." Maybe in a couple of years he'll dissect what went wrong with that as well as he does for Spider-Man 3.

[via Comic Book Movie]

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falseprophet
falseprophet

Host Chris Hardwick then says that it must be hard to get to the third movie, where the origin story's been done and now everyone wants to see the second movie topped. Raimi responds:

I think [raising the stakes] was the thinking going into it, and I think that's whatdoomed us. I should've just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar. I think that was my mistake.

I've heard a couple of filmmakers say similar things before, but has any film franchise successfully avoided this? Has any film series that got up to three or more films managed to scale things back from a previous installment?

There's James Bond, but even aside from the hard reboot of Casino Royale, every time they've changed the actor it's effectively been a soft reboot of the series, and it usually gets uncontrollably big by the third installment with that actor. And I'm not sure I count the recent trend of adapting a book series and cutting the last book into two films, where the first film is just two hours of plodding set-up, and the second is just two hours of climax.