Canceling The Sinister Six Would Be A Bad Idea For The Spider-Man Universe
As far as The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4, It seem like the jury's spoken in regards to Marc Webb's vision for Spider-Man, bogged down in parental intrigue that interests no one. Andrew Garfield has tried his hardest, but he hasn't been able to make people forget Tobey Maguire. Webb's direction isn't entirely to blame, but this series went from an automatic $300 million plus in America under Raimi to barely hobbling to the $200 million mark with 3D prices. And it's not as if Webb's films spend less money – well, they do, since Amazing Spider-Man 2's reported price-tag of $250 million is lower than the alleged $258 million cost of Spider-Man 3. But that's nobody's idea of cheaper, particularly since Sony spent a raftload on promoting the latest film. Webb had a LOT of help to make a smash, and this movie wasn't that: unfortunately Spider-Man is too fragile a property to just dump one director for another, especially with the tight release date frame.
And the character of Venom is wardrobe: audiences have no warm feelings for when he showed up in Spider-Man 3 played by a jittery Topher Grace. Venom isn't nearly the pop culture sensation he was in the nineties, particularly given how Marvel Comics overdosed on the antihero in that decade, and have thus far kept him on supporting casts in recent years. Series producer Avi Arad has kept Venom a top priority at Sony, forcing him into Raimi's third film instead of Raimi's preferred villain combo of Sandman and the Vulture, and teasing his arrival in the new films. But it's not like there are stacks of great Venom stories waiting to be told. Once you introduce his murderous enemy Carnage, you've painted yourself into a storytelling corner where you have to keep introducing symbiote-based characters like a clown car.
If there's any truth to this rumor, then it could be one of many dominoes falling. The announcement of The Sinister Six and the Venom movie were borne out of confidence for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Since that confidence was unwarranted, maybe Sony is putting the kibosh on Venom too. Or maybe the studio is just flat-out giving Spidey a rest. Spider-Man was a big deal because we saw the earlier movies at a time when the schedule wasn't littered with superhero movies. Sony should probably let us miss him a bit so that we can actually want him back. Populating his universe with interesting stories independent of his appearance might be the best strategy. The Sinister Six gives Sony the best opportunity to achieve this.
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