Spider-Man 4 delayed, we should be glad
The news that Spider-Man 4 has been delayed because of scripting issues is not bad news as so many believe. This is not the point where we should stand up and scream "it's doomed", but the point we should be glad that Sam Raimi has control and has managed to pull the reigns tight. Have you forgotten Spider-Man 3?
For it seems that almost identical issues are raising their heads on the fourth instalment that were a major problem in the third, the villains. In the third there were too many of them, and they were sorely underused.
Now word is that the script issues that have been rumoured for some time are actually an issue, and that Sam Raimi and Sony can't agree on the script direction for the villain, and indeed the entire film.
The article at The Hollywood Reporter, which mentions IESB for bringing up the issue some time ago, a rumour which was flatly denied by Sony as being just ongoing development, states that the key bone of contention is around the villain, and the fact Sony want to inject an extra level of romance into the story:
Raimi wants to have a criminal known as the Vulture act as the primary antagonist in the film while the studio, which dislikes the idea of the winged wrongdoer, is pushing for a romantic sub-plot involving a burglar named the Black Cat in addition to another villain.
A number of writers have attempted to bring the two ideas together, and have failed, and we can instantly see why. That would mean a romantic sub-plot with Black Cat, as well as a new costumed hero, and two villains, and that reeks to me of the over heavy Spider-Man 3.
Scriptwriters David Lindsay-Abaire, James Vanderbilt and Gary Ross have all had a crack at the script, and now Alvin Sargent is the latest to attempt to bring the two sides together, but through all of this I just keep seeing multiple villains and dual costumed heroes, and that already says too much to me.
Of course I'm not entirely sure that I side with Raimi, after all he's wanting to bring in a character called the Vulture, which would suggest a man wearing a costume that allows him to fly like a bird, and that just doesn't work for me, it's too human, too close to normal. All the other villains have had something truly super about them - Goblin's amazing heightened senses, strength and technology: Doc's merging with the amazing multiple armed device which increased his senses and strength; Venom who gave the wearer enhanced senses and powers through an alien creature, and Sandman who was changed into a creature that could control and become sand and all it's permeations of viscosity and strength. These creatures all had something truly special, the Vulture could just be strapping on a suit and gliding.
For me any of the other creatures before, and some of the ones rumoured, sound more exciting, and I have to say the idea of Sony's to keep going with Venom would bring something more interesting, but then we've already seen Venom done, albeit rushed into a quarter of a film.
The answer is not to push too much into the film, and to let the franchise hang with the man who has brought it this far and wants to finish it off, for him, in style. I would pin my trust with Raimi and then swap directors in the fifth.
Meanwhile, another script awaits Spider-Man 4, and it's far from dead.