By Mark Bell | May 8, 2007

Now that “Spider-Man 3” has smashed all box office records currently known to man, there’s no way in Hell Sony will let this franchise bow out gracefully, regardless of whether the director or stars return for more installments. Luckily, director Sam Raimi has left, via the previous films, a step-by-step blueprint on how to make a successful Spidey film. To assist Sony in gouging this franchise until it can’t be gouged anymore, we present How to Make A Successful “Spider-Man” Film…

Credits should be cartoon panels or paintings explaining the previous films.
This could get problematic as the franchise reaches “Spider-Man 69: The Wrath of Slade,” but it allows the audience to sit with a silly grin on their face as their mind runs rampant with thoughts like “oh, I remember that” or “that was awesome.” The lesser controlled of the species won’t just think these thoughts, they’ll turn to their friends and say them out loud.

Voice-over to get the audience up to speed.
That Peter Parker’s got such a lovely voice, we really should let him use it, like immediately. Obviously the opening credits are helpful, but exposition is a truly spoken art. If done correctly, all major conflicts (except the newest super villain) can be hinted at ahead of time here (oh, Mary Jane is a shitty actor and Spidey’s pregnant… Dr. Connors, can you test this egg sac?).

Comedic cameo by Bruce Campbell.
Forget Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire or Kirsten Dunst! Every installment of the Spidey-chise has proven one thing: Bruce Campbell is not only hilarious, he’s often the best part of the films. Even those critics that have spent the better part of the weekend pooping all over “Spider-Man 3” will agree that Campbell is the man.

Cameo by a non-Lizard Dr. Connors.
Dylan Baker or no, Dr. Connors should always be the one-armed scientist who gives Peter help (or fits) without realizing his full potential as the Lizard. Why? Because every comic geek in the audience knows that eventually he’ll become the Lizard, and they will continue to fork over cash in the hopes that the next movie will finally have the transformation.

At least one major villain should be good-hearted.
Norman Osborn was weak, overtaken by his Goblin-serum. Dr. Ock was being controlled by the very arms he grafted to his back during a science experiment. Sandman was a well-intentioned robber turned accidental murderer who just so happens to find himself in the wrong open field particle accelerator test at the wrong time. None of them should be truly evil and without redemption, because Spidey needs to do more than beat them… he must save them from themselves. Bonus points for figuring out how to tie villains into Uncle Ben’s accidental death.

Visit to The Daily Bugle.
These can happen whenever we need a good laugh, or Peter needs money. J. Jonah rants are the second-best comedy next to Bruce Campbell.

Visit with Aunt May.
Peter must visit Aunt May, preferably for tea, and they should talk about silly s**t, with Aunt May bringing up Uncle Ben at least 15 times. Example:
Peter: “Aunt May, Mary Jane doesn’t like the way I give her head, I don’t know what to do.”
Aunt May: “Your Uncle Ben was great at giving head. Shame he was… you know… taken… *cries in her tea*”

Major villain or villains must fight Spidey at least once early on.
Should be an amazing fight where a skyscraper or other tall building gets wrecked, people almost fall to their death and Spidey comes out somewhat victorious (or the villain escapes without a true winner). Then, the fight will be forgotten for a good hour and a half.

Relationship with Spidey and Mary Jane must be on shakey ground.
Regardless of how the movie starts between the two, the middle should have them at odds, secretly crying over the other. There needs to be at least one scene of Mary Jane listening to the message Peter leaves on her answering machine without picking up the phone to answer, and the major conflict between the two of them should be something ridiculous or selfish, like Mary Jane can’t get the latest commercial spot because Spider-Man just saved some orphans.

Peter must rebel against Spider-Man.
One way or another, Peter has to decide that being Spider-Man as he currently is doesn’t work right, and must rebel. Either give up the gig, change costumes and become a bad-a*s, become aloof… something, Peter must rebel.

Cue rebellion montage.
During his rebellion or major change, Peter must have a montage of silliness backed by a classic tune that seems to have no place in the film. The more films in the franchise, the longer the silly montage.

Villain (or villains) must kidnap Mary Jane, therefore snapping Peter out of his rebellion.
MJ in danger is the only way Spidey will come to his senses, and the rebellion will end. There should be at least one shot of Peter pulling the Spider-Man costume out of his old trunk and staring at it as the music swells. Oh, and how about an Uncle Ben “responsibility” flashback for good measure.

Final fight!
Much destruction, Spider-Man’s mask must get shredded and someone must die, usually the villain. Everything ends with Spidey and Mary Jane together… or apart, but pining for each other hardcore.

I know, it seems like too much to handle, but aspiring “Spider-Man” screenwriters, if you use the above, at least two hours worth of your film is handled for you. Maybe write a scene where Peter is still living in that crappy apartment (“RENT!” guy and the overly-emaciated daughter are fun to visit with) and a few other sub-scenes to connect the major pieces above and, voila, you’re done with “Spider-Man 15: Time-O for the Rhino.” The point is, if Raimi can make hundreds of millions of dollars by sticking to the same formula, SO CAN YOU!

– Mark Bell, Editor-in-Sarcasm

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