After rumors of infighting and rewrites, Sony abruptly announced that the fourth installment of the wildly successful Spider-Man series would go back to the story's roots, and sent stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst packing, along with director Sam Raimi. Will the reconceived film — a return to the hero's high school days with a more youthful cast and a darker, "Twilight"-esque edge — rejuvenate the Spidey francise, or wreck it? (Watch Tobey Maguire discuss "Spider-Man 4" before exiting the project)

A high-school Spiderman? Cool! This isn't bad news, says Charlie Jane Anders at "High-school Spidey could actually be great." Imagine his alter-ego Peter Parker as a young "outcast" who leads a secret life as "the city's greatest hero." As long as the "masterminds" behind the "awful" Spiderman 3 aren't involved, "it's hard not to cling to a bit of optimism."
"Spiderman Going Back to High School? Raimi's Spiderman 4 Officially Scrapped"

This is a disaster for Spiderman:
Are you kidding?, asks John Cooper on Reel Loop. This is "possibly the worst decision of all time." Sony has thrown out all the "character development" from the first three films, for a "gritty and contemporary" take on Spiderman. But making the series darker doesn't suit this "timeless character." This decision "reeks of complete and utter stupidity."
"Spiderman 4 Is No More; Series Will Be Rebooted"

Sony obviously wants a younger audience: Such "drastic treatment" of a "well-established" franchise is "extremely rare," says Marc Lee in the Daily Telegraph (UK). The reason for the reboot is Hollywood's "burgeoning obsession" with attracting young audiences following the success of the Twilight and Harry Potter series. It's far from clear, though, whether the "High School Musical generation" will be interested in a web-slinging superhero.
"Spiderman 4: Hollywood's fixation with youth"