While Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films are beloved classics, the director remembers how fans were initially so harsh about the organic web-shooters.
Sam Raimi reflects on fans’ initial backlash to him being hired to direct Spider-Man. Raimi is about to kick off the summer movie season for 2022 with the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, his first film as a director in nine years. The first week of May not only is the release of his newest film but marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Spider-Man which opened in theaters on May 3, 2002.
When Spider-Man was released in theaters, it was coming at a time when the superhero movie was seeing a comeback following the release of Blade and X-Men. Spider-Man shattered box office records, becoming the highest-grossing opening weekend at the time and Raimi went from cult icon to one of Hollywood’s most in-demand filmmakers. While the movie received positive reviews and is now considered a classic, prior to its release, the film received a fair amount of skepticism. In particular, the choice to give Spider-Man organic webbing as opposed to the mechanical web-shooters from the comics earned backlash. This choice originated in James Cameron’s early Spider-Man pitch that Raimi decided to incorporate into his film.
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Related: Why Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man Has Organic Web Shooters
In a 20th anniversary retrospective on Spider-Man held by Variety, Raimi openly discussed the early online discourse around the film’s changes to Spider-Man. The director said he did not have a good experience with the fan community when he was fired hired. He recalls how they wanted him to be removed from the film particularly after they heard about the organic web-shooters. When asked if he was aware of the early online message boards upset about the change Raimi said:
“I was aware of it, and it wasn’t a good thing for me. I didn’t have a great experience of the fans. I don’t think that the fans thought I was the right person to direct ‘Spider-Man’ in general. And then the organic web shooters — when the fans found out I was going that way, they tried to have me removed from the picture.”
Once audiences saw the movie, Raimi eventually became a fan favorite and in many circles healed up as the gold standard of comic book superhero movies, particularly after the release of Spider-Man 2 and his return to the Marvel Universe with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was met with warm reactions. Even the controversial organic web-shooters eventually found their way into the comics in 2005’s comic book arc “The Other”. The decision for organic web-shooters led to a great moment in Spider-Man: No Way Home contrasting Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man from Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland who both use mechanical web-shooters.
While comic book audiences tend to want adaptations to stick as close to the original source material as possible, sometimes there is a tendency to overreact before a single frame of footage is seen. This is an issue that extends as far back as the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman. Even recently fans have been upset about the change to Ms. Marvel’s powers from the comics in her upcoming Disney+ series. If any lesson can be taken from Spider-Man, maybe it is best to wait till the finished product is out to see if the minor change was bigger than the larger adaptation.
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About The Author
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Richard Fink is a news writer for Screen Rant. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2016 with a degree in Film and Media Production. He loves the finer things in life, like cold Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Richard is a fan of all things Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and Film History.
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