Sam Raimi Was Reluctant To Direct Doctor Strange 2 After The Reaction To Spider-Man 3

"Spider-Man 3" has been an Internet punching bag ever since it came out in 2007, and director Sam Raimi took his fair share of body blows from fanboys and the press when the film failed to live up to expectations. In fact, the negativity he experienced in the wake of that movie was so intense that it made him think twice about accepting the job to direct the upcoming Marvel Studios movie "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

"I Didn't Know That I Could Face It Again"

Online fan outrage is far more vocal now than it was back then (I'd argue it's gone mainstream in the past several years), but Raimi bore the brunt of a big backlash at the time – especially coming off "Spider-Man 2," which is still widely considered to be one of the best superhero movies ever made. Speaking with Collider, Raimi said that when the opportunity to direct "Doctor Strange 2" came up, he was hesitant because of how sour the response had been in '07:

"I didn't know that I could face it again because it was so awful, having been the director of Spider-Man 3. The Internet was getting revved up and people disliked that movie and they sure let me know about it. So, it was difficult to take back on. But then, I found out that there was an opening on Doctor Strange 2. My agent called me and said, 'They're looking for a director at Marvel for this movie and your name came up. Would you be interested?' And I thought, 'I wonder if I could still do it.' They're really demanding, those types of pictures. And I felt, 'Well, that's reason enough.' I've always really liked the character of Doctor Strange. He was not my favorite, but he was right up there with the favorites. I loved the first movie, I thought [director] Scott Derrickson did a wonderful job, an incredible job. So, I said, 'Yeah.' They left the character in a great place. I didn't think I would be doing another superhero movie. it just happened."

Spider-Man 3 Wasn't Entirely Sam Raimi's Fault

People who are going back and checking out the pre-MCU Marvel movies may not know this, but "Spider-Man 3" is not what Raimi originally envisioned. The movie's producers essentially forced the filmmaker to include the character of Venom into the story and shoehorn in another potential love interest for Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the form of Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). As a result, the movie feels overstuffed and scattered, unable to sustain the weight of all it's being asked to carry.

In the end, everything seemed to turn out (mostly) fine. Venom eventually got his due with a successful franchise, and Raimi seems to have gotten over the Internet's harsh reaction and ended up back in the Marvel fold, taking an improv-heavy approach to "Doctor Strange 2." The only thing left behind is Raimi's unmade version of "Spider-Man 4," which would have incorporated Mysterio, Vulture, and Black Cat – and given how crowded "Spider-Man 3" felt, it might actually be a good thing that the fourth movie never materialized.