Why are the ‘Spider-Man’ Movies ‘Starting Over’?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 14th, 2012 at 7:49 am,

Spider Man 2002 Amazing Spider Man 2012 Movies Why are the Spider Man Movies Starting Over?

“Why are they starting the ‘Spider-Man’ movies over?”

It’s a question we’ve heard echoed again and again (and again) by casual movie fans who have recently seen the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man; those still wondering why, what should’ve been the fourth film in a popular movie franchise, is now a film with an all new cast, an all-new look, but is essentially the same origin story that was covered by director Sam Raimi and Co. in the 2002 Spider-Man.

Comic book fanboys and/or hardcore cinephiles can probably explain the situation – but to those still looking for answers, today we have a rundown that will help explain what is going on with this Spider-Man movie situation, and give you some information that will make you sound like the smarty in the group, when the subject inevitably comes up in social discourse.

Comic Book Retcons

Ultimate Spider Man Comic book Why are the Spider Man Movies Starting Over?

Properly referred to as “retroactive continuity,” ‘retconning’ is when comic book creators go back and revise aspects of a character or story that have been previously established in continuity. See, comic books are a unique medium in that they’ve run for an incredibly long time, but under the guidance of many different creative visionaries. The writer/artist team that created Superman in the ’30s had different ideas and sensibilities than the creative team in the ’50s, the ’80s, and so on; Batman has been around since 1939, and even “newer” superheroes like Spider-Man or the X-Men have been around since the ’60s, about half a century (or more). In that time, more than a few writers and/or artists have altered a superhero’s backstory, powers, costume, attitude – sometimes even their identity (for example, since 1940 four different boys have taken on the mantle of Batman’s sidekick, Robin).

On the one hand, the constant change of creative teams keeps a comic book character fresh, as new people bring new ideas to the table, and keep the character relevant and connected to the (at that time) current generation. On the other hand, there is the danger that a prior idea may become outdated, unsustainable over a longer course of storytelling, or was simply born of an era and/or social context that no longer exists. When that happens, comic book creators rely on ‘retcons’ to right (and re-write) the (possibly) outdated aspects.

Marvel Ultimate Universe Why are the Spider Man Movies Starting Over?

The revamped heroes of Marvel's "Ultimate" Universe.

In 2000, Marvel Comics launched their “Ultimate Marvel” comic book universe, starting with Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man. The goal was simple: create an alternate reality in which popular superhero origin stories were re-told in a modern context – free from decades of convoluted and dated backstory. New readers could start from a fresh beginning and follow a character through a more familiar world; longtime readers could get a new take on their favorite heroes, but could still enjoy the “classic version” being offered by the original comics.

As you may surmise, a modernized look at Marvel superheroes also became the basis for a fair number of superhero films – including the upcoming Avengers movie, which borrows many elements of the modern “Ultimate” universe – not least of which is a Nick Fury who looks like (and is played by) Sam Jackson. Thanks to a wonderful and dedicated creative team (the same writer has written all 140+ issues of the series), Ultimate Spider-Man‘s modernized take on the web-slinging superhero became a hit – and the primary inspiration for the franchise reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man.

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Amazing Spider-Man’s ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ connection…

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TAGS: spider-man, the amazing spider-man

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  1. Oh F**k off Sony. I’m sick of the same movies over and over again. I’m not going again to the same sh*t

    • Sorry to hear you feel that way, seen the film last night and it was a totally different movie from the original “Spider-Man” in my opinion. yeah Uncle Ben getting killed and Peter’s bite by the Spider was the same, but i’m telling you man the tone, pulse and feel of this movie was completely different in my opinion. Sony has done some real stupid things, i can’t dissagree with you there. All i can say is i enjoyed TASM, and thought it was pretty damn good.

    • I just saw the movies last night also and it was amazing! They should of started with this one instead. It was funny, suspenseful and action packed. Andrew played a much better role as Peter Parker. Go see it. You know you want to.

    • When are people going to wake up and see that all of these adventure stories are retelling the same tired old cliche archetype that originated THOUSANDS of years ago? A dragon/lizard/reptile threatens the world and a hero/savior needs to rescue/save the princess from the tower (skyscraper in this case) and, thus, save the world? How many times have you seen this rehashed plot before? How many remakes/remixes of the same crap do people have to see before they tire of it and realize they’re being duped? WAKE UP! Oh and research the electric universe to learn about this archetype in more detail and where it originated: in the planets.

  2. Just saw the new ASM in IMAX 3D tonight, anyone complaining just needs to shut up and go watch it. The first hour of this film blows away anything that was seen in the garbage that they put out before. I did like the first spider man but felt it was way to campy and when the 2nd film was pretty much the exact same plot as the first but with a different villain I knew they were running dry, but I refused to watch the 3rd as they gave the role of one of the baddest mofo’s in the spidey universe to Eric Foreman. This reboot is exactly what should have been done long ago.

  3. I thought it was a great movie, but in all honesty… it wasn’t needed when we already had 3 previous SM movies. They could have easily changed things up a bit for SM4 and dropped the campy tone a bit. IMO I feel Tobey Maguire was a much better fit for the character and would have preferred to see him continue the series and not do a fresh boot within such a short time of an already fresh boot. Kinda makes the whole movie, regardless of how good it is… seem kinda redundant.

    • I just saw it and I have to say I really really enjoyed it. I think in the next years people are going to forget about the pervious Spider Man.

    • I agree completly!

  4. I loved the first 2 spierman films, Riami did a gret job with them, but the 3rd he was forced to do venom even though he reall wanted Sandman, Spiderman 3 was bad because of to many sub-plots. Spider-Man fanboys hated it because it was to diffrent from the Comics. Sorry but who cares? if you already know the story why would you pay to go watch it?

    The Amazing Spidrman was good, but Webb just stuck to the comic book storylines, pleasing many fanboys but I would rather go and watch Spierman 4 then the Amazing Siderman any day

    I think it is way to soon for a re-boot, only a couple of years ago i was a kid waiting to seeSpider-Man 3, now ther restarting it? I would have easily rather waited another couple of years to see Spiderman 4

    • You sir are a lost cause. A movie based on a comic should hold true to the comic otherwise it’s just stupid. The first run of spiderman was terrible, sure Peter Parker is whiny at times, but the movies made him out to be too much of a whiny emo p*ssy for lack of a better term. Sam Raimi has been known to be a good director but the franchise was only downhill after the first movie. Dr. Octopus was just a lame villain all around, though I never cared for him in the comic either.
      Besides there is nothing more agitating than seeing your beloved childhood icons that you grew up reading/watching get raped when they are put on the big screen. Just like the X-Men movies after the first one they were blah and terrible mostly because they went off on a random tangent an made stuff up that didn’t happen.
      And the Wolverine movie was definitely a wth moment. They shouldn’t have let Disney get their say in making it PG-13 because wolverine is a Rated R kind of character. They mingled too many plotlines and made too much crap up in that. I bet you’re just like every other terrorist like Michael Bay and think The TMNT should come from space. That’s a big Hell no. He already raped the Transformers enough that he shouldn’t get the chance to rape the TMNT.

  5. The Original Spider man is tobey Maguire and is the best. All those people that think just because this new guy is on the new movie now tried to make tobye maguire look like a fool. But i imagene went the firs movie of spider come out no one think that the original movie have more potential i mean have drama, action, comedy ,cool moment. In the new movie every one that saw the movie in the beginning know that don have sense. I mean they jump all the drama and he can not even pull on the web right. not seem to have super strength didn’t see him lift a car or something like that. and the end it makes no sense because it was the funeral that was stupid tobey Maguire has more style and all you seen spider man-3 know that besides being laughed and cried. ( I have nothing against this new character but let’s be realistic This guy not even is half of the original spider Man) TOBEY MAGUIRE TO MY WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST SPIDERMAN

    • Have you seen the new movie? because it was amazing and Andrew Garfield was incredible. Tobey Maguire can go f*** himself.
      No I’m kidding. Tobey is a great actor but Garfield is far more fitting for the role.
      I guess this is my opinion, which I am entitled to have, but I preferred this movie.

    • I AGREE TOBEY RULES!!! THE ORIGINAL ONES HAD SO MUCH MORR EMOTION AND MEMORIES PACKED IN THEM… YAH INO TASM IS AWESOME BUT THEY WILL NEVER COMPETE WITH OUR SPIDEY!!!!!!!!

    • YES

  6. A few things that annoyed me though, was they made him out to be less then what I would consider the real SpiderMan. He had to make a device to shoot webs… with all his strength like ripping car doors off and stuff, he seemed to be able to get injured rather easily and whats with divulging his identity so quickly and easily?

    • @BCrossan
      The Spider Man in comic book uses device to shoot webs as well, so this one is closer to the comic book in a sense.

      • That is only one style and publishing of the comics where he uses a device to shoot webs. The majority of the the comics he does not do so. Stan lee even said he hated the idea of spider-man needing to use a web shooting device. He said it takes away from his character.

        • This comment is bad. Really bad. He doesn’t have a web-shooter in the “majority” of the comics? So I guess the first 520 or so issues of ASM isn’t the majority? Because Spidey didn’t go organic in comics until ASM 526 or something like that. In fact, as of “Brand New Day” he has web shooters again. Ultimate Parker always had webshooters…. so yeah. You’re full of crap.

    • Go read the comics. TASM was way more accurate than the other trilogy. Peter didn’t even meet Mary Jane until after he had a love interest in Gwen Stacey and he didn’t meet Harry until college. He had to invent and use web shooters (that would occasionally run empty or jam in the comics). And to everyone saying they liked Tobey better, you can’t be serious. Tobey brought ZERO life to Spider-Man who in the comics was a wise-cracking smart-@**. Tobey was just a life-less, dull, bore.

  7. Seriously i havent watched TASM yet but i agree with the guy above me.
    Peter was a smart ass who was picked in school. When he was under spidey costume he used to crack like there is no tomorrow. Toby was dumb and idiotic.

    When he started shooting web from his hand in the first movie i was like what the hell is wrong with these guys. The whole inventing the web shooter really made many fan respect peters intellect. in the last installations we barely get to see any contribution of peter parker in his spidey alter ego.

    In short original spidey yaked all day, last one with toby was as dead as door knob apart from the occasional hoots which was really pathetic.
    Original spidey had to invent the web, last 3 had his own web.
    Original started off with Betty as romantic interest then moved to Gwen and then after an unfortunate event moved to Mary Jane(if my memory serves well.)

    I heard that this time around considerable importance was given to peter parkers life. Thats a thumbs up for this one.

    Though i dont think that Lizard is a good choice for a villain as irl he was a really good fella

  8. tobey maquire didnt want to make a fourth movie. . . simple as that

    • Glad he didn’t.

  9. Just seen amazing spiderman and loved it thought it was brilliant and it’s the only comic film my husband hasn’t fallen asleep in ( he’s rubbish ) but he loved it too can’t wait for the next

  10. I think the change of characters in spider man suck s ass. The origina
    l charactors made spider man the change was stupid. The directors of movies are stupid and need to leave a good movie alone.

  11. I just watched the new Spidey movie. At first, I’d refused because they revamped the whole thing I and loved the original series, with the exception of #3. Though I thought it was silly they were coming out with a fourth movie also, I didn’t see the need for a completely new take on the whole thing. They should have just stopped with the third movie.

    As for the characters, I really enjoyed Toby Maguire as Spider-Man and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. I also understand the comic history and think that if they wanted to be true to the comics, they should’ve put Gwen in the first series of films and went from there. I did however, enjoy TASM’s wise cracks while under the mask, because that is more true to Spidey’s personality and the fact that he invented his web shooters because that was truer than the first films. But I HATED that he revealed his identity straight up with Gwen and that the unmasked him so soon. He didn’t get unmasked in the original film series until the second movie, and there weren’t a bunch of people around when it did happen, just usually one or two. Anyway, though TASM was alright, my opinion is that the original films were better. They should’ve just left off with the third film and been done with it for a while.

  12. About the “new Sherlock Holmes reboot” Sherlock Holmes and the reason of it’s charm is it (was, is)set in the 19th century…throwing it in the 21st century simply portrays it as “any other who dunnit” and leaves us without the charm and fantasy of the 19th century. For-shame. It takes much away from the story and shows the ignorance of some modern producers, directors and redactory minds instrumental in destroying a fine work of fiction.

    • lets see if my new gravatar shows up

  13. I understand the concept of keeping up with the times as a reason to reboot a movie about a comic book hero, but the previous spiderman movie was not that outdated to the point where it was unrelatable. My opinion this new spider man spiderman movie was made too soon and I’ve seen it and I wasn’t impressed.

    • @holly – I hear you, the “Spider-Man” films have been Sony’s bread and butter. It’s been their flagship franchise for a while, but now the ‘Bond’ films are starting to emerge as that. I myself enjoyed “TASM”, it was good though not as good as “Spider-Man 1 or 2 in my opinion. You do know the REAL reason Sony rebooted “Spider-Man” so fast, if they don’t make a movie in a cetain amount of time the rights will revert back to Marvel. I would love to see Marvel get those rights back, the only way they could do that at this point is by buying Sony out. Now of course now that they share ownership with Disney, they have the potential to do that, but they might just decide to wait for now. I am also interested in seeing how the sequel to “TASM” turns out, because i’m expecting it to be even better.

  14. It totally sucked.

    I got an hour into the movie before giving up, completely baffled as to why I was watching a remake of a film from 10 years ago, a much better film at that.

    I’ll save anyone who hasn’t bothered their time by telling you the 3 differences between the movie that I picked up on.

    1. In the new movie, Parker’s father was in involved in research with spiders.

    2. The girl isn’t called Mary Jane this time (what a twist).

    3. He makes his own web, instead of it shooting out of his veins.

    Does the above really justify making a new film?! It is nowhere near as good as Toby Maguire’s first Spiderman film and is a complete waste of money, for the film makers and the fans who may go to see it and be unaware that they have started all over again.

    • Unaware they have started again? Then they haven’t been paying attention!

      Who the heck would be a writer in this day and age?? You create a half decent character that is successful across different generations until you come to a generation who want continual what if scenarios spun off from your original creation until it resembles a pale imitation of what you originally created decades before!
      To make things easier, future writers could just put out a template which allows the public at large to create their own story instead of butchering an established story canon through endless reboots because it doesn’t fit into their fantasy world of how things should be!

      ” I use Eagle Hands Laundry for all my Eagles needs”

      • Loved your Post! Very knowledgeable and astute.

    • @Bob Gilmore – I myself would have love to see ‘Spidey’s’ rights reverted back to Marvel because i think they can do so much more with this iconic character. That being said i understand why Sony rebooted the film so quickly, so Marvel obviously would’nt get the rights back. Eventhough it seems i liked “TASM” more than you did, i still think MARVEL could do a superior job on ‘Spider-Man’ if they had the chance.

    • Sorry folks but I must agree with Bob Gilmore on several points. I saw The Amazing(?)Spider man remake,expecting a continuance of the story line NOT what I found, a new mini Godzilla flick. Kudos to your posting Gary, I have nothing to add to what we both picked up on.

  15. What a waste of money, time and effort!! Why not spidey 4 you tightwads?? Cant beleive they re booted after only a few years. The only good thing about TASM was seeing Denis Leary and Martin Sheen.. Sony, you suck! I dont see the point.

  16. I agree with most comments i also do not understand why they felt the need to remake the spider man saga.. but in saying that after watching this version of the saga im dam well happy they have i love the originals as much as the next fan but the entire feel of this movie was insane more action scenes more depth better graphics and just and over all better feel, I for one hope they re make all the spider mans and follow this story line so,, people do not have to agree with me thats fine but be open minded about it for this movie i rate 5 out of 5 good job sony

  17. “Regular Show” (October 29th, 2027) Rated: PG
    “Untitled ‘Regular Show’ Sequel” (April 25th, 2031) Rated: PG
    “Untitled ‘Regular Show’ Threequel” (October 14th, 2033) Rated: PG
    “Untitled ‘Regular Show’ Spinoff Film” (June 6th, 2036) Rated: PG

  18. I still cannot see the reason to remake a film that in essence was exactly the same as one just a few years go….what a complete waste of money! Surely someone can come up with some new ideas?

  19. I’ve been a fan of the comics for a long time now and have to say that this reboot was the best choice that was made in a long time. It follows more true not only to the comics but also to Peter Parker/Spider-man’s personality. I hated that Rami skipped over Gwen Stacy as well as ruined how Spider-man got the symbiote suit that became Venom. With the reboot it opens the door for the possibility of Spider-man to not only be in the next Avengers movie but also opens the door for the Secret Wars comics to be turned into a movie series as well. Without a reboot both would never have a chance to be made.

    Now as for people saying why not a Spider-man 4? Simple Rami never intended for more then 3 movies. With out Rami the other actors refused to do the reboot because Rami wasn’t the director so without any other choice it had to be rebooted.

    What I want to know is why people hate this movie when everyone has been begging since the first movie by Rami to have the Lizard as the main villan? The fans got what they wanted in this film and more yet they still want to rant about how bad it was.

  20. What really drives me insane is that they made ‘TASM’ only 5 god damn years after Spider-Man 3.

    They announced Spider-Man 4 was cancelled in 2010 and immediately started working on the next. Thanks for taking lots of time to make it work, Sony. I will definitely not be going to see the next one and was very disappointed with The Amazing Spider-Man.

  21. Just saw the new Spiderman on demand. Who the heck picked that dweeb to play TASM? Totally lacking in looks, charm, character, magnetism and he’s an anoying whiner. Not a hero I felt like rooting for and, I’m sorry, that guy and Emma Stone? As if.

    • Just watched TASM what a load of crap not a touch on the others why remake the first one that was loads better than this new one who why the world gone mad lets have some new stuff

  22. I’m amazed at how many people applauded the mediocrity of the Raimi movies and actually came back for more with this pointless & just plain boring remake. ALL of the movies have been badly directed and poorly executed. I remain truly perplexed at why no one seems to be interested in doing this great comic book any justice.

    • @Rodolphe – This is so true. No-one, or very very few anyway have picked up on how average all the Sam Raimi movies AND TASM were. The reboot featured an even more annoying lead character than the first 3. For shame Spider-Man fans. Especially those praising Sony.

      P.s. You do know that Spider-Man would be best suited as a TV series right? Because, Spider-Man IS a series of comic books after all. No? No-one? You all talk like these need to be put into movies.

      Movies are the wrong format for superheroes….

  23. Why dont they put the money to better use.

  24. I thought that the movie was overall good.. but as I’m a big fan of the first movies, I didn’t like several things about this one.

    I thought that the death of Ben was rather weak and unemotional. There was no real struggle of the character coming to terms with his powers as there was in the first one.

    Most if not all superheros’ struggle with wanting a normal life, a gf, wife or family and their desire to be the hero. They seems to rush through too many things in this movie that were more well thought out in the first ones, such as seeing Peter going over draft, after draft of his suit, coming to terms with the death of his uncle, etc.

    I definitely liked the hotter and more loyal gf in Gwen rather than Mary Jane, who was a whiny, selfish, untrustworthy person in the originals. They should have had this girl play Peters GF in the originals, or even Ron Howards daughter who played Gwen in Spiderman 3.

    I also didn’t like the use of the web shooters, even though I know that they were also in the comics too. You didn’t really get a sense of Peter realizing his strength or powers in this movies, as opposed to the originals where he was shown extensively practicing with his new-found skills and powers.

    There was also a clear screw up in the first scene with Peter in his costume when he confronted the guy with the knife. The cops shows up, shoots twice, Peter shifts out of the way of the bullets with the bad guy stuck to the wall directly in the LINE OF FIRE and somehow he doesn’t even get hit, and you see no bricks or anything falling off the wall behind Peter either.

    You could see that there spark from the gunshots was bad CGI too and just looked fake. Overall I think the actor was good in that he was fast, very athletic and many of the fight action scenes were very good.

    I also didn’t like that Aunt May, now played by Sally Field, just didn’t work as she was too young and again, just didn’t have that air of a true moral guide as did the first Aunt May.

    But overall, the movie just did NOT draw me in as did the first movies. The music was also likely a good part of that fail as I love Danny Elfman’s music and it is a good part of why the original Spiderman movies had that deep emotional impact with his powerful and sad score all at the same time.

    However, I do think that it was a good movie on it’s own and enjoyed watching it. But I often find myself going back to watch the originals over and over again.

  25. The original Spider-Man will always be my favorite…
    The remake isn’t a bad thing it’s just kinda a odd thing they
    would do, I expected a spider man 4.

  26. What I don’t get is why they paired Spidey up with Gwen. That is complete madness, he’s always with MJ.

    • @Tra – Because Gwen was Spidey’s first true love, MJ is the most popular but Gwen is the first. You probably just locked in on the original Spidey film series so much, MJ is all you cared to see. Don’t worry you’ll see MJ again in TASM 3, but personally i’m glad she’s not around right now. Let Gwen have her much deserved spotlight in the sun, it doesn’t always have to be about MJ which would be boring, the same girlfriend over and over get’s played out quickly. I like a different character with a fresh and new perspective, plus Gwen was really helpful and smart in TASM where MJ was just some dumb helpless airhead damsel in distress always waiting to be saved in the previous Spidey films.

  27. In reality i heard through the media there was a conflict in the storyline on the forth movie so they started over any true spider man fan knows the next movie would have been the end of Mary Jane which no producer would agree to and Stan lee would not change because it is Important to stay true to the original books and the fact that everyone peter Parker gets close to dies because of his alter ego.they should have done the movie. I’m sick of studios that insist on happy endings, real life is not always like that and it’s an important lesson. And i love mary Janes character more than anyone but come on…..that’s the way the sorry goes and Toby was a better fit for the part..

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  29. So now we got to remake the same movies every five years ??