In 1962 a young cartoonist, Stan Lee, came up with an idea for a new comic superhero. During an era in which most of our superheroes were muscle-bound adults, young Peter Parker struck an unlikely figure.
An adolescent -- a pimply, gangly short-sighted teen you would expect to be the last kid picked for sports -- Peter Parker was no typical hero. However, his shortcomings struck a chord with a comic-book audience living through those same difficult times; victims of bullies who dreamed of waking up one morning with the power to stop them, to make a difference, to be someone -- anyone -- other than the nerdy kid they saw in the mirror.
Despite being rejected by Marvel Comics, Stan Lee persisted in selling the idea of Spiderman and was picked up by the struggling title "Amazing Fantasy" -- and the rest is history. Within a few years "The Amazing Spiderman" was a mainstream comic book.
Flash forward forty years to the release of Spiderman the movie. Following the success in 2000 of another superhero adaptation, the first X-Men movie, expectations were high for Spidey's first big screen outing. Not one to disappoint, Spiderman became the first movie in history to take $100million in its opening weekend, and the only movie ever to deny a Star Wars film the top spot at the box office.
The second instalment of the Spiderman series did just as well, taking $88million in its opening weekend and setting a record for highest takings on an opening day at over $40million. If enormous profits and critical acclaim weren't enough, Spiderman 2 went on to win the Academy Award for Visual Effects.
So, considering that the Spiderman series has so far taken almost $800million at the US box office -- and much more overseas and in the rental market -- next year's Spiderman 3 has some mighty big boots to fill.
From the look of it director Sam Raimi has every intention of living up to the standards he set for first two movies, and then some. With a budget estimated at $250million, Spiderman 3 will be the most expensive movie ever made, beating the previous record of King Kong's $207million by an enormous margin.
Spiderman 3 will see the return of Harry Osborn (James Franco), still set on avenging his father's death. Following on from the final scenes of Spiderman 2, Osborn will command the technology developed by his father the Green Goblin in his mission to kill Spiderman.
Osborn won't be alone in his quest. Rumor has it that a second villain played by Topher Grace (Mona Lisa Smile, Traffic) will be getting a piece of the action. Based on a villain from the comic book series, Grace will play Venom, a symbiotic life form consisting of an alien lifeform and journalist Eddie Brock.
While principal filming for the third instalment was completed in August 2006, it will take months to complete the complex CGI necessary for the movie. In fact, some key scenes were shot as early as November of 2005 to allow Sony Pictures Imageworks the time to prepare the visual effects.
It seems, then, that with the enormous budget, new villains and mind-blowing visual effects, Spiderman 3 will be aiming to not only live up to success of the first two instalments, but blow them away entirely.
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