Film franchises are Hollywood's third rail -- you never touch them when everything seems to work just fine. That's why Sony Pictures' decision to ditch 'Spider-Man 4,' along with Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi, seems ripped from the same counter-intuitive playbook that NBC used when it shuttled Jay Leno to 10 PM.

Had Sony proceeded with a fourth installment as planned, there were already good reasons for Maguire to hang up his webby suit. Peter Parker is a young student, preferably high school age. Maguire turns 35 this year, and, yes, he looks terrific, but he's entering Luke Perry territory -- a guy well beyond high school age who is starting to strain for teenage cred.
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