Time And Effort
First, let me start this off by saying that I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. They are great films in general, and continue to cave the way for superhero films in modern times. Now back then, it seemed that Sony had established a basic routine for the slate of original films. Which was simple, put Peter Parker to the ultimate test by balancing school, a girlfriend and personal issues. Thing is, after 5 films it started to get repetitive, but I'll explain more on that later. With the collaboration between director Sam Raimi and Sony, things where going along swimmingly. Both films had a solid story, interesting characters and a cohesive plot/narrative. And that ultimately showed through, there was no half-assed attempt to put everything together, the heart and soul was there, particularly from Raimi who had a strong passion and understanding of the character. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the rebooted series.
The obvious reason is because Sony needed them to get made so they can still hold on to the license, ultimately leading to the time and effort portion going down the drain. Let me rephrase, it's sort of there. But if it was balanced out, maybe the focus of the newer films would be based on the quality, not just quantity, which leads in to my next point...
The Spider-Man franchise is profitable, no doubt about it. I mean that's the reason Sony has the rights in the first place right? Well yeah of course. But here's one of my main issues, look at the process of Spider-Man 3, one of my most anticipated films going into 2007. Something felt wrong, the story was sloppy, an incoherent plot/narritive and too many damn villains. How the hell was that possible? Where was the fleshed out characters, and intriguing story? Gone, and many people jumped the gun and pointed the finger at Raimi, sure he was the man behind the camera, but how else could this get screwed up? You guessed it, Sony. The third picture grossed over $890 million worldwide, which left fans and audiences scratching their heads in confusion. Now Raimi will forever be labeled as a hack, overrated and simply responsible for single handily destroying Spider-Man. Which to me is downright silly, I mean to be honest development hell, and the franchise as a whole to the side, if it wasn't for him and Sony showing a great ideal of confidence, there wouldn't be any movies based on the titular hero, I mean if you still hate the guy then okay, nothing I can do. Look, the point is that Sony put there hands in the cookie jar when they weren't supposed to, in other words, they did Raimi dirty. Just because your film made a shit ton of dough, doesn't mean it's good.
With 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man the legitimate question was this, do people still care about this franchise? After the falling out with Raimi and Sony on the potential Spider-Man 4, you knew that they where pressuring Raimi to a full extent, script issues and just overall a messy situation, ultimately leading to the films cancellation. Good ol' webhead was starting to get squished under the feet of powerful executives and producers, not to mention a certain someone named Avi Arad. But, The Amazing Spider-Man ended up being a success, despite under grossing Spider-Man 3. Leading into this years The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being the lowest grossing out of the 5 films, just $706 million, less than the first film, which leads into this franchise showing fatigue.
Don't Plan Ahead, Have A Primary Focus
Like I've said, 5 films in, and now we have established a trilogy, and two films with another film on the way. Now back to my point about how the films started to get repetitive. Of course the rebooted films are supposed to feel different, but are they really that drastic in change? The way l look at it is this, the story is changed up by now introducing Peter's parents, giving them a main plot point to the first film. The problem with this was how The Amazing Spider-Man was advertised as the "Untold Story" to have people wanting to see more, which unfortunately left them and myself feeling cheated. Once again Sony had this trick up their sleeve, yet again interfering with the directors work, this time the man behind the lense was Marc Webb. What set this film apart from previous entires, was its dark and gritty tone and feel, and the addition of Gwen Stacey being the love interest, instead of Mary Jane Watson. Of course having a new lead in Andrew Garfield taking over the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man from former star Tobey Maguire, who Garfield greatly admires as an actor and being blown away by his interpretation of Spidey, who I think both excel in the role, bringing in a great range of sensibility and making each their own respectively. With this years The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I expected it to be a vast improvement over the first film, and ultimately so that wasn't the case for me. There are some things I like of course, Garfield being the main thing who completely nails the role, amongst other things. But Sony couldn't just leave things alone, not to mention the sloppy writing and dull/goofy villains, speaking of which was done so poorly. Again too many villains, and lame subplots about Peter's parents, which had me throw in the towel saying "enough is enough". Now with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 being pushed back to 2018, along with The Sinister Six being set for release,Venom and an Untitled Female Superhero Project (Black Cat, Spider-Woman?, *sigh) I mean does it matter anymore? As long as these films keep making money, Spider-Man isn't going back to Marvel anytime soon (unfortunately), the focus is no longer based upon a single film, now it's about catching up to Marvel Studios in a foot race, to start building a cinematic universe.
Give The Director Room To Breathe
In closing, both franchises and directors suffered from studio pressure. I think it's best for Sony to let Webb do his own thing, going into his last outing as director. Moving forward, I would like to see Miguel O'Hara/Spider-Man 2099 and Ben Reilly, but of course that's not happening because Avi Arad claimed that Peter is the only one who can be Spider-Man. I mean this is the guy who said he was the "King" of all superheroes, give me a break. I'm not looking forward to the future now to be honest, slight chance of me remaing optimistic. It's time for Arad to go I believe, because this franchise is slowly crashing into the ground. To quote Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider Went Up The Water Spout, Down Came The Goblin, And Took The Spider Out!" It's not only the villains that are trying to take the Wall Crawler out, it's the freakin' company that owns him...