The upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness marks Sam Raimi’s surprising return to superhero movies. Few filmmakers played bigger roles in transforming Marvel from a comic company into a multimedia juggernaut than Raimi, thanks to the record-breaking success of his Spider-Man films. Raimi’s Spidey run ended on a slightly sour note, though, due to the unhappy production and reception of Spider-Man 3. The film has its defenders (like, uh, me) but the movie wasn’t as successful financially as its predecessors and got far worse reviews. Raimi never made Spider-Man 4 — or any other superhero movie until Doctor Strange 2.

In fact, Raimi is still so wounded by the experience on Spider-Man 3 that he almost didn’t take the job on Doctor Strange at all. In a recent interview he told Collider that the end of his time on Spider-Man was “so awful” that he “didn't know that [he] could face it again.”

He added...

The Internet was getting revved up and people disliked [Spider-Man 3] and they sure let me know about it. So, it was difficult to take back on. But then, I found out that there was an opening on Doctor Strange 2. My agent called me and said, ‘They're looking for a director at Marvel for this movie and your name came up. Would you be interested?’ And I thought, ‘I wonder if I could still do it.’

Raimi also explained that he always liked Doctor Strange, and ranks him among his favorite Marvel characters. “I didn't think I would be doing another superhero movie,” he explained, “it just happened."

Personally, I’m glad it did. Even if Spider-Man 3 is the weakest film in Raimi’s trilogy, it’s still good — and both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are wonderful movies that hold up 20 years later. They’re so wonderful, in fact, that people are freaking out about the possibility of seeing Tobey Maguire maybe back as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And that’s great; but if you ask me it’s  even more exciting that Sam Raimi is directing another Marvel movie.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to open in theaters on March 25, 2022.

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