Spider-Man is THE most profitable superhero ever. His market reaches every age and he has endured a very long time. He’s a great character, a young kid who has to learn responsibility as a superhero and also juggle his school life. He’s fun, he’s interesting, he’s cool. Spider-Man is pretty great. So why do Sony seem intent on ruining him?
‘Spider-Man‘ first came to film screens in 2002, played by Tobey Maguire and directed by horror director Sam Raimi. Sounds like a weird combination, but it worked out pretty well. It’s a good film that sees Peter Parker being bitten by a radioactive spider, gaining his powers and then taking on his best friend’s dad, the Green Goblin played menacingly by Willem Dafoe. It went well. So they did a second one.
‘Spider-Man 2‘ is up there with some of the best comic book movies in my opinion. Peter has doubts about his life as Spider-Man as he faces Doctor Octopus, a very cool villain. It deals with some really cool character stuff and has some great action scenes, still some of the best to this day. It’s a really great movie, and it did very well. so, naturally, they made another one.
Now, somewhere down the line here things started going wrong. Despite having made two great movies, the studio allegedly got involved more in this one. In ‘Spider-Man 3‘ Raimi’s villain was Sandman, who had ties to Spider-Man’s past. Determined to appeal to the fans, the studio forced Raimi to put villain Venom in the movie. And he doesn’t work. Played by Topher Grace, he’s cartoonish, petty and really not that great. And you can tell Raimi doesn’t like him either because he obliterates him beyond resurrection at the end. People didn’t like the movie and it didn’t do as well at the box office.
Raimi had a fourth film planned, featuring Vulture, Black Cat, the Lizard and Mysterio, but the studio didn’t want to carry on with Raimi’s Spider-Man. Fair enough I guess…. But you think they’d have learnt their lesson here. FIVE YEARS (yes, only five) later the series was rebooted with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘. Marc Webb was directing, Andrew Garfield was Peter Parker now and the Lizard was the bad guy. People generally seem to not mind this movie too much, but it’s not great and I’m not a fan.
In their infinite wisdom, this movie was to kick off Sony’s own shared cinematic universe to rival that of Marvel’s. Two years later a sequel, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ was released and saw Spidey facing Electro, the Green Goblin and the Rhino. It was rubbish. It made less than any of the previous films (although still quite a fair amount) and was panned by critics. It had no substance and was all set up for their shared universe. This universe was set to include a third Spider-Man film, a Sinister Six movie, a Venom movie and, if the Sony email hacks were to be believed, an Aunt May spin off movie! What a mess. Clearly Sony were planning for the future but they didn’t seem to care much for the present.
Needless to say, those movies didn’t happen…
2015. Sony agree a deal with Marvel Studios to reboot Spider-Man and place him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yay! That sounds great. And it was. Marvel had more control and his first appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ was awesome. He now had Iron Man as a mentor, was younger than ever before, played by actual kid Tom Holland and had a sweet new suit as well. Great stuff! This year he’ll appear in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘ alongside Iron Man as he takes on Michael Keaton’s Vulture. It looks great too.
However, Sony still seem determined to ruin it. The last trailer for ‘Homecoming‘ seems to reveal basically the entire plot, beat for beat, of the movie. Terrible marketing. Yes. But that might not be the studio’s fault. Lots of films do this. This is where things take a turn though. Sony are still intent on making this Vemon movie, and have even set it for release in 2018. However, they say it won’t be set in the MCU. A shame and kind of weird. But still. They are also developing a Silver Sable and Black Cat movie. Apparently, these movies will kickstart Sony’s own Spider-Man cinematic universe away from the MCU. Will Spider-Man even be in them? Who knows!
And now there are even reports that Sony aren’t happy with how Marvel is using Spider-Man, whether creative or budgetary reasons is anyone’s guess though. A ‘Homecoming’ sequel is planned for 2019 as well as Spider-Man’s appearance in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in 2018. Rumour has it though that Sony might want to take Spider-Man back after this and remove him from future MCU films. Now this, is a terrible plan.
The best Spider-Man stuff in 12 years has come because of Marvel’s input. Why Sony would ever think of rejecting their help is beyond me. Yes it may be expensive but it looks like it’s working. This is unconfirmed still though I know, and hopefully it either turns out to not be true or they change their minds. But if there is any truth then it makes you wonder just what is going on. And this whole, make their own shared universe thing… What? And R-rated Venom movie might be good. Some people might want to see it. and Black Cat and Silver Sable might be good. Some people might want to see that too. But a Spider-Man universe without Spider-Man? No thanks.
I’m sure Sony knows what they’re doing. They’re a massive company worth mega bucks. I’m just a fan who watches these movies. But I want to see good movies and if that’s what Marvel delivers and, judging by their track record, Sony doesn’t, then I want Marvel to continue to have some creative control over the character. Spider-Man is a great character and deserves great movies. Some collaboration is no bad thing at all. Some of Sony’s supposed ideas, well they might be…