Sam Raimi Knows What Went Wrong With His Infamous Spider-Man 3

When Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" debuted in theaters in 2007, it was pretty swiftly decried as a major misstep in the hero's journey. It's a weird one, to be sure — an overstuffed sequel with a funky tone and plenty of narrative detours. /Film's own review by Peter Sciretta, while partly positive, noted that the "movie suffers from the suffocation of too much plot, and too many characters," and that it features elements that are "corny," "unneeded," and even appear "unfinished." That pretty much sums it up.

Hope for a fourth Spider-Man film with Tobey Maguire under the hood fizzled out in the early 2010s, when Raimi left the project and the studio instead got to work on the Andrew Garfield reboot. The filmmaker, who's currently making his superhero genre return with "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," has gone on the record about the project several times since, and he seems to lay the blame squarely on himself. The same seems to be true for "Spider-Man 3," which still earned box office bank despite its more errant and ill-received elements.

You have to believe in your characters

In a podcast interview with Nerdist (as reported by Entertainment Weekly), the filmmaker admitted that he "messed up plenty with 'Spider-Man 3.'" His reason? His heart wasn't in it as much as another super-fan's might be. He admitted:

"I tried to make it work, but I didn't really believe in all the characters, so that can't be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn't love something, it's wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it."

This is a noble thing to admit, and it certainly could have contributed to the bad reputation "Spider-Man 3" has earned within the superhero film canon, but Raimi surely isn't alone here. He made these statements back in 2014, and since then, Marvel, DC, and Sony have hired dozens of filmmakers to craft superhero stories for the big and small screens. Does each and every one of them have a box full of comic books on their bedside tables? Probably not.

That's not the only reason the filmmaker thinks the movie didn't work, though. He says he and the team went into the film with a plan to raise the stakes first and foremost, and that could've been what "doomed" the project. "I should've just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar," the filmmaker told Nerdist.

Strange love, or at least Strange like

Ironically, the filmmaker is now steering the ship on another comic book movie that's been touted by its cast for its massive, Spidey-film-topping scale. The good news is that Raimi follows his own aforementioned feedback with "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," as he told The Hollywood Reporter, "I've always really liked the character of Doctor Strange. He was not my favorite, but he was right up there with the favorites." It sounds like, for the filmmaker, being invested in the character is half the battle.

I watched Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" in theaters when I was the tender age of "super into emo boys," so I personally found Peter Parker's dark side detour hilarious and enjoyable. The film has gotten a minor reappraisal since the release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" put it on the audience's radar, but it still stands apart as one of the goofier entries into the Marvel comics film canon. Luckily, it didn't turn out to be Raimi's last at-bat with the superhero franchise. Plus, no amount of jazz club singing or comedic hip-thrusting can erase the perfection of "Spider-Man 2."