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The Spider-Man film franchise is dealing with major problems right now. After the mixed reviews and lower-than-expected box office return of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony has been shifting their plans for the web-slinger’s cinematic universe. Changes range from pushing Sinister Six to 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to 2018, to even rumored contemplations of an Aunt May movie. The Sony email hacks have only further elaborated on the behind-the-scenes drama of the series, and if something isn’t done soon, Spidey may end up suffering more in the movies. Whether you’re a casual viewer or hardcore Spider-fan, this obviously isn’t idea.
It’s been reported that later this month will see a "Spider summit", held for Sony executives to decide exactly what the future of the Spider-Man franchise should be. One way or the other, it’s all the more important that the studio starts making some big changes if they’re going to improve the wall-crawler’s big screen situation. Fortunately, we have some suggestions on how they can improve their current dilemma and save this franchise. Sony executives, make sure to take notes!
7. Less Focus On OsCorpThus far, all of the Spider-Man villains in this film series have connections to OsCorp, whether it’s through the technology they use or how they obtained their powers. We get it - this company is running some sketchy experiments and has inadvertently led to super villains being created. While they do still need to wrap up the storyline of Richard Parker’s work for the company, it would be a good idea if this series stopped using the company as a crutch, especially when it comes to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. In the comics, Spidey’s bad guys come from all walks of life. Their origins aren’t all rooted from one source. Let’s move away from OsCorp and start delving into other areas of the Spidey mythos. Surely there are other ways to turn to the dark side besides being tainted by a massive conglomerate.
6. Keep Andrew GarfieldAmong the many rumors concerning this franchise is that Sony may recast Andrew Garfield at some point. Honestly, this would be a huge mistake. There are a lot of criticisms that can be directed at these films, but critical reception towards Garfield as Spider-Man has been largely positive. There are even fans who have signed an online petition to keep him in the role. Unless the studio decides to go the complete reboot route (we’ll talk more about that later), there’s no reason Garfield needs to be replaced if he’s doing a good job in the eyes of many. This is a straight-up "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" situation.
5. Scrap Sinister SixThe problem with a Sinister Six movie isn’t that its main characters are all supervillains. There have been many great comic book stories with bad guys as the leads, from the Suicide Squad of DC Comics to the Thunderbolts at Marvel. The issue is that the Sinister Six forms only to kill Spider-Man. That’s it. There’s no deeper reason for satisfying their thirst for blood other than revenge, and if the web slinger doesn’t even show up in the film, then what’s the point in watching the villains get together? Teaming the antagonists up may be a good idea for a standard Amazing Spider-Man film, but the franchise villains thus far simply aren’t interesting enough to sustain their own narrative. Certainly having the great Drew Goddard attached to the project gives us some confidence in its development, but Sony still might be wise to shelve this particular spinoff entirely.
4. Make Venom A PriorityHe may be one of Spider-Man’s deadliest adversaries, but Venom is also one of the few characters in the wall crawler’s section of the Marvel Comics world who has proven to work fine on their own. If Sony is set on giving one of the villains their own film, they need to focus their attention on making Venom a reality - so let’s hope that the rumor that the movie is "functionally dead" is false. If they want to use Eddie Brock as the symbiote host, set him up as an antihero rather than a straight up villain. That way instead of dwelling on his hatred of Spider-Man – something already covered in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 - Venom can focus on defeating its bastard offspring Carnage. Another option, if they want to give make Venom more heroic, is that Sony can take their cue from the current comics and make a movie about the Flash Thompson version of Venom. We can watch as he tries to be a superhero while also struggling with the symbiote’s dark urges.
3. Find A New DirectorMarc Webb has already confirmed that he won’t direct The Amazing Spider-Man 4, but with all the difficulties the franchise is dealing with, who knows if it we’ll make it that far? Given that The Amazing Spider-Man only earned decent reviews and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed (compared to the previous movies), a new director might be called for to provide a fresh perspective. Frankly, this reboot hasn’t done enough to distinguish itself from the previous Spider-Man films, and Webb might be partly to blame for that. Hiring a new director hasn’t always turned out well with superhero franchises (example: the ‘90s Batman films), but with the nose dive this series is currently taking, it could be just the thing to shake things up.
2. Get New ProducersAgain, fixing the Spider-Man franchise may just be all about finding new blood. Avi Arad has produced every Spider-Man film made, and while his hard work helped pave the way for modern superhero films, it might be time for him to step aside and let someone else take the reins of this franchise. The same goes for his partner Matt Tolmach. What Sony needs to find someone analogous to Marvel’s Kevin Feige; a person with the creative vision to get Spider-Man back in the right direction while also still understanding what makes the character tick. Arad served Spider-Man well for years, but now it’s time for others to oversee this endeavor.
1. Form A Partnership With MarvelIf Sony can’t fix this situation on their own, they made need to ask for assistance, so to speak. At one point within the last year the studio entertained the idea of entering into a deal with Marvel to split the character, but nothing ever came of that. It was also implied that if a deal like this was reached, Marvel would want to make their own Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character, meaning that the series would be rebooted again and a new actor would be cast as Spider-Man. It may sound drastic, but Sony might want to give this arrangement some more thought. If starting from scratch with Marvel at the helm is what it takes to get Spider-Man films of the same caliber as MCU projects, then a partnership might be just what the doctor ordered to get this boat back upright. This would also be a plus for fans, as it would mean we’d finally get to see Spidey fighting alongside the Avengers where he belongs. The odds on this option actually being explored are realistically slim, but we can still hope.