Although Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy was key in developing the superhero genre as it is now known, not all its entries were a hit, and Spider-Man 3 is considered the weakest link, but its original plan would have made it even worse. After a long wait, Spider-Man finally made his big screen debut in 2002 in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, and it explored his origin story and his battles against his very first enemy: Norman Osborn a.k.a. the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). The success of Spider-Man made way for two sequels, though not all of them matched the success and quality of the first movie.
Spider-Man 2 saw the title character facing Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), and it’s considered not only the best movie in Raimi’s trilogy but also one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, but unfortunately, Spider-Man 3 didn’t have the same warm welcome from critics and viewers. Spider-Man 3 had too many villains, different subplots, and an overall messy plot, making it the worst movie in Raimi’s trilogy, but had the production team gone with their original plan for it, Spider-Man 3 would have been even worse than it already is.
Spider-Man 3 Was Almost Split Into Two Movies
After the success of Spider-Man 2, screenwriter Alvin Sargent was brought back to write Spider-Man 3, with Ivan Raimi writing a treatment after Spider-Man 2’s release. Originally, Spider-Man 3 was going to explore Peter learning that he wasn’t a sinless vigilante and even those he considered villains could have humanity in them, and in order to give closure to Harry Osborn’s story (as at the end of Spider-Man 2 he found his father’s Green Goblin gadgets and weapons), he was brought back with the intention of being “somewhere between” his father’s legacy and being his own person. Sandman was later added as an antagonist, and after pressure from producer Avi Arad, Raimi added Eddie Brock and Venom as well, followed by Gwen Stacy, and with so many additions to the story, Sargent considered splitting Spider-Man 3 into two movies.
Sargent’s script, with all those new additions and ideas, ended up being too complex, so he considered dividing it into parts three and four, with the intention of being filmed back-to-back, but he couldn’t find the right point in the story to cut it and create a successful intermediate climax (via EW). Spider-Man 3 remained as one movie, and while a couple of changes were surely made to make it less stuffed, it still had a bit too many characters, subplots, silly scenes, and loose ends, but splitting it into two movies wouldn’t have fixed any of its problems.
A Two-Part Spider-Man 3 Wouldn’t Have Fixed Its Problems
Splitting Spider-Man 3 into two parts could have made each one less crowded than the final product, but it still wouldn’t have fixed the biggest mistakes of the movie, and instead, it would have just made it a longer mess. Venom’s addition and presence felt forced (and visually, it wasn’t menacing at all), Sandman’s retcon as the real (though unintentional) murderer of Uncle Ben didn’t work and made way for a plot hole, and the Peter-MJ-Harry love-triangle was messier than ever. All these problems and more couldn’t have been fixed by dividing the movie into two parts, and it might have actually backfired and led to an even worse reception than the final cut of Spider-Man 3 got. Splitting movies into two parts can work depending on the story, characters, and the development of these, as was the case of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but it doesn’t guarantee success.