So Sam Raimi is talking Spider-Man 4, and his projected villain line-up is Electro, Vulture, and possibly the Sinister Six? Right. As I said in my review of Spider-Man 3, it’s time to get Raimi off this train and hand it over to someone else who’ll bring a fresh look and no prejudices against masked villains.
If we’ve learned anything from the first three Spider-films, it’s that anything more than one or two villains is entirely too much for the screenwriters of the franchise to handle in under three hours. If three villains didn’t work, how in the hell are you going to get six villains to work?! That’s even before you factor in Electro and Vulture, neither of whom is a great villain and both of whom look pretty damn stupid even by comic standards.
The Marvel Universe is full of great villains, any number of whom can be applied to the Spidey Universe. I wouldn’t complain about Black Cat, Mysterio, Carnage, Venom again, Kingpin (who should be redone properly), or any number of other villains, but if I was scripting Spider-Man 4, I know who I would write into the story. It’s simple and logical, the groundwork has already been laid, so they’ll never do it. But what the hell; the whole point of being a geek is talking about comic book villains!
Of all the villains who could fit Sam Raimi’s anti-mask agenda, the only one who hasn’t been ruined by Daredevil or who isn’t exceedingly lame is Kraven the Hunter. That’s right, the guy in the leopard-print pants and outback hat. The only thing he needs to work, and work well, is the right actor in the role and a costume change. Pick a beefy actor, make him a crazed nature show host and big game hunter, and give him the proper incentive to go hunting for Spider-Man.
What’s that incentive?
Dr. Curt Conners, AKA The Lizard. He’s played roles in Spidey 2 and 3, and if he’s not going to eventually become The Lizard, why would they have featured him? What else would bring a big-game hunter into New York City aside from a giant lizard whose head would look awesome on anyone’s mantle?
This sets up the kind of moral ambiguity that Raimi wants in his Spider-films. Spider-Man has to protect Lizard from Kraven while protecting New York from Lizard. Spidey has to stop his friend and mentor, work on finding a cure (possibly with the help of Darkman), and also keep himself from falling victim to Kraven’s various traps and schemes.
It’s perfect. It’s reasonable, you don’t have to introduce more than one new character, nobody wears a mask, it involves plenty of cool Lizard CGI (if you give him the power to control other reptiles), it gets Mary Jane out of the way for awhile (allowing us to bring in Black Cat for Spidey 5 to appease Sarah), and you can wrap it up in less than 3 hours. Of course, that means it won’t happen, but I can dream, right?