There’s still no telling whether Sam Raimi will return for his fourth Spider-Man movie, but if he does, I’ve a feeling he’ll be working from the franchise’s best screenplay yet.
Judging from this year’s excellent Zodiac and his spot-on adaptation of Richard A. Clarke’s Against All Enemies (which Robert Redford is currently set to direct), it’s fair to say that James Vanderbilt has finally recovered from the frustration of 2003’s Basic to become one of Hollywood’s most justifiably in-demand screenwriters. And while the Academy will probably deny Vanderbilt a much deserved nomination for Zodiac, the fact that he just landed Spider-Man 4 might make this bullshit eventuality a little easier to stomach.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Vanderbilt won the gig by scaling back the supervillain circus that was Spider-Man 3 in favor of a more "character-driven approach". Cynically speaking, this could be an effective cost-saving measure for Sony, particularly if Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst opt out. That said, after the last movie, I’ll gladly take a revamped cast-and-crew if it means getting a sturdier narrative (and an absence of undercooked religious metaphor).
Vanderbilt’s also rewriting Wolverine for Gavin Hood at the moment. I had no idea he was a geek. Since Vanderbilt’s going the less-is-more route on Spider-Man 4, I’m going to guess that Dr. Curt Connors will occupy the sole villain position, though the nice thing about Spidey is that he’s no shortage of enemies.