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Spider-Man 4 Is No More — New 2012 Reboot Headed for High School

Sony has now confirmed what the movie blog Deadline posted this morning: The troubled “Spider-Man 4″ is no more. After reported conflicts between director Sam Raimi and Sony execs over casting, and the recent announcement that the May start date had been scuttled, they’ve basically decided to pull an Ultimate universe and reboot the entire franchise in 2012 with Peter Parker as a high school student once more.

Most notably, this means that Spidey star Tobey Maguire and Raimi, who have anchored all previous three movies, are out. But what can we say? Rebooting and regressing Spider-Man to a simpler, more archetypal state is an incredibly comic book thing to do — especially since Marvel’s already done it in “Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Marvel Adventures Spider-Man,” not to mention “One More Day” — and in that sense it feels quite faithful.

We’ll certainly miss the awkward charm of Tobey Maguire, and while the loss of Raimi is a little troubling, we’ll reserve judgment until we hear who’s stepping up the plate. Overall, we’d much rather wait a couple years and see a movie as enjoyable as the first two “Spider-Man” films, rather than certain other movie we won’t name, “Spider-Man 3.” And hey, if we’re really lucky, maybe we’ll get something influenced by Paul Tobin’s excellent “Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man,” and his high school era Peter Parker.

In the meantime, we’ll have to find some way to make do with the roughly 5 billion Spider-Man comics coming out each month, but we feel confident that we will somehow struggle through. Bummer for John Malkovich, though, who announced his contested casting as the Vulture the same day as the reboot.

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