Spider-Man is one of the most recognizable superheroes out there and easily one of the most financially successful ones on the big screen. Sony's series of films, especially Sam Raimi's trilogy, acted as a forerunner to the comic book movie age we are now enjoying. Yet after the critically and commercially disappointing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony came to a deal with Marvel Studios to share the character, which brought Spider-Man to the MCU with actor Tom Holland. But as we've seen, just because Spider-Man is busy fighting alongside the Avengers, that doesn't mean that Sony is going to let all of its other Spider-related assets gather dust.
This fall, Sony will release Venom, the first film in a rapidly growing cinematic universe that will seemingly be devoid of Spider-Man. Venom is just the start, and recently, the reports, rumors and announcements of Sony's Spider-Man Universe films are coming fast and furious. To this point, the Spider-Man spinoff films on the radar are Venom, Morbius, Silver and Black, Nightwatch, and Silk. Sony seems to have a lot of things in the works to maximize its Spider-Man film rights, but what are we to make of this growing Spider-Man universe?
We don't have a lot of information right now and there are more questions than answers, but just based on what we know about Venom and what's been reported on, we can begin to make some preliminary judgments about how things are shaping up. Here's the best and worst of Sony's growing Spider-Man universe.
BEST: Going Dark And Serious
We still don't know if Venom will be rated R, but from what we've seen so far, from the lack of jokes to Eddie Brock's battle with an inner demon to even the color palette, it is clear that this movie will be dark in tone. It looks like a horror movie, and with Morbius likely to follow Venom, as well as the other movies on the docket, it becomes clear that Sony isn't going for lighthearted and optimistic. While the DCEU quickly did a tonal about-face after Batman v Superman, I personally didn't think the dark and gritty tone was the problem. A character like Morbius, with a morally complex and personal story, demands a serious tone. If Sony's Spider-verse has the conviction to really go dark with its content, then it will stand out from the other superhero cinematic universes by telling the kinds of stories they can't.
WORST: Relying Mostly On Anti-Heroes
So far it seems clear that Sony is going all-in on anti-heroes for its cinematic universe. Heck, the trailer for Venom literally has a sequence of title cards that read "Embrace Your Inner Anti-Hero." As I've said, going dark and serious tonally is a positive idea, but my concern is whether or not you can build a whole cinematic universe relying mostly on anti-heroes. Movies like Logan and Deadpool have shown how great anti-hero stories can be, but I wonder if you don't need some contrast within the universe. Wolverine has the X-Men, Punisher has Daredevil, but who will be the counterpoint to the anti-heroes in Sony's universe? This may have to do with the deal with Marvel, but Sony's universe doesn't seem to be using Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, Spider-Woman or any of the more traditional hero types with the possible exception of Silk. This may not be an issue, but it is something to consider.