Spider-Man 3 director Sam Raimi has reacted to Tobey Maguire’s infamous dance from the film becoming a viral meme, and defended it. Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is widely considered to have kicked off the current Golden Age of superhero movies. While today it is hard to imagine a world in which cinemas aren’t dominated by the latest MCU or DCEU projects, in the early 2000s, superhero movies were struggling to find their feet. However, Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man proved just how epic a superhero movie could be; casting top tier actors such as Maguire and Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin, and using groundbreaking CGI to make Spider-Man’s web-slinging come to life. Raimi’s Spider-Man later spawned two sequels, and the films became a blueprint for future superhero blockbusters.
However, Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 remains the most critically panned of the trilogy, and effectively ended the franchise. The film suffered from several issues, including an over-saturation of villains due to the studio insisting that Raimi include Venom in the movie, despite his protests. For many, the moment that defines Spider-Man 3 as the trilogy’s weak link is the moment when Maguire’s Peter Parker becomes possessed by the Venom symbiote. Peter proceeds to walk through the streets of New York with a new “angsty” look, and performs a now iconic but cringe-worthy dance. At the time of Spider-Man 3’s release, the scene was so glaringly different in tone to the entire rest of the series that it turned many off of the film. In the years since, it has found new fame as a successful internet meme. While promoting his new Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Raimi opened up about the infamous scene in an interview with Fandom. The director emphasises that the Spider-Man 3 dance was always intended to be funny, with Peter Parker being a “lame kid” imagining what it’s like to be “evil.” Raimi admitted, however, that the scene didn’t land with viewers. Well, we meant it to be funny, actually. It was Peter Parker’s version — this lame kid — of what it must be like to be his evil self. But he’s so whipped. He’s so out of it that that’s his take on it. And that didn’t go over well with the audience. But that’s what we were trying to do. So I’m not surprised that people… I’m glad people find it funny! We we wanted it to be fun.
Infamous Spider-Man 3 dance scene does actually make a lot of sense, despite how out of place it feels. Raimi has recently revealed that his original intention for the first Spider-Man movie was for it to act as somewhat of a “soap opera” about a shy boy who falls for the girl next door (Kirsten Dunst’s MJ). Given Raimi’s interpretation of Peter Parker, this heavily-memed scene actually emphasises just how out of step Maguire’s character is with an “evil” persona. No matter how people may feel about this largely panned Spider-Man 3 scene, it is certainly in keeping with Raimi’s original vision for Peter. In hindsight, viewers should perhaps not have been so surprised at how Spider-Man 3’s tone shifted from his first two films, as Raimi has been subverting audiences expectations like this ever since he released his Evil Dead sequels. At the very least, in this Spider-Man 3 sequence, the director provided Marvel audiences with a unique scene worthy of its status as a viral meme.