FAN-ticizing: How Sony Can Have a Successful Spider-Man Cinematic Universe

Many Spider-Man fans believe that Sony Pictures hasn't always done the best job when it comes to adapting their comic book properties, so I've decided to take a look at what Sony's previous successes are and how they can improve in the future. I also add in a few of my own movie ideas, just for good measure.

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By Joseph Whelan - 4/10/2014
I'd like to preface this by saying that I am a huge Spider-Man fan and have been ever since I read my first comic book at age 3. Spider-Man's my favorite superhero and I care very much about his films and media portrayal. I love the character with all my heart and only want to see his films do well.

Previous Attempts at Success

 Sony Pictures has released four (soon to be five) Spider-Man movies, each with a varying degree of success. Every film has performed well financially, but many fans of the character have protested both of the main versions of the hero put on screen. The original Spider-Man movie, released in 2002, delivered an accurate tone to the original comic books and an outstanding villain performance (although the costume left a lot to desire). It's sequel, Spider-Man 2, continued on with the same tone and brought to the forefront some really deep characterization. Spider-Man 3, however, threw that all out of the window. Released in 2007, the film suffered from adding in too many new characters that didn't serve much of a purpose and unnecessary subplots. After a failed attempt at a Spider-Man 4, Sony ultimately decided to start fresh with 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. This movie took a risk by doing a few new things with the character, which has sadly alienated some fans of the franchise. This film did, however, do a decent job of establishing a universe for Spidey to live in and will be further expanded upon in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

I'm sure most of you are already well aware of this, but I thought a brief history lesson was appropriate to include to give some insight on some of the ideas listed ahead. So, without further ado, let me present a few ideas that I believe will make Sony's Spider-Man franchise even better:

Let Ultimate Spider-Man Influence The Tone

In my opinion, Ultimate Spider-Man has the perfect tone that should be implemented into the movies. Don't worry, I'm not talking about the television show with the same name. No, I'm talking about the (very different) comic book series. Brian Michael Bendis' take on Peter Parker was very modern and relatable, all the while still retaining the roots of the character and what made him so great. This comic series had Peter go through so many problems, and not just fighting super villains. Ultimate Spider-Man was absolutely superb at making realistic drama and was one of the few Spider-Man comics where the writers could also pull off some genuinely funny comedy in the middle of all that. The Amazing Spider-Man has already taken some inspiration from this comic series and its sequels would benefit from having their tone match Ultimate Spider-Man more closely.

Subtle Universe Building

Marvel Studios is the king of easter eggs and references to other characters and source material. From Captain America's shield in Iron Man to Doctor Strange being mentioned in the recently released Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel has done well to tease fans and get them excited for what's to come. And how were they able to pull off things like that without it seeming too ridiculous? By being subtle about it. Easter eggs from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (like Vulture's wings and Doc Ock's tentacles) are nice and all, but it's a bit too blatant for my liking. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who wishes they'd take a page from Marvel Studios' book. References to comic book canon is much more satisfying when it's hidden and only the truly dedicated fans are able to spot them. Captain America's shield being on Tony's work table in Iron Man was a great way to build a universe, and it got fans especially excited because it wasn't shoved to the audience's attention. People felt special when they noticed it; almost like it was a little secret between them and Marvel. Sony's Spider-Man series would make fans excited if they took this route.

Explore Other Spider-Man Related Properties

Even though Sony only has the rights to Spider-Man, they are more than capable of creating a universe that can have multiple heroes involved. Releasing just a standard Spider-Man movie every year would be plain boring and would get dull after some time. However, Sony can spice things up by going a different route every once in a while and exploring other universes linked to our wallcrawler. Heroes like Scarlet Spider, Black Cat, and even the superhero team Slingers (consisting of Prodigy, Dusk, Ricochet, and Hornet - all aliases used by Spidey) could make for interesting movies if handled properly. And why stop there? Why not go into some alternate universes? Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Girl, Miles Morales, and also Spider-Man Unlimited could make for some really interesting flicks. They'd be different from the norm and would attract plenty of attention. My point is that Sony can bring in any number of characters they want, and they'd be smart to. But the one things that absolutely needs to be done is...

Bring the Two Spideys Together

This is probably my most outlandish idea, but it is something that definitely needs to be done. Taking inspiration from Brian Michael Bendis' Spider-Men comic book, Sony should do a crossover film that unites both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire for one film. I understand that the probability for this would be extremely low, but Sony would only profit by doing this. Just think about it. The box office numbers for a film like this would be insanely high, maybe even possibly rivaling The Avengers! A movie on such a scale like this would be great for fans of either series, as it would be a way to give closure to those who were disappointed when Spider-Man 4 was canceled and would also serve a dual purpose of getting fans of the Sam Raimi trilogy to accept and love the new series. Just imagine a touching final scene where Maguire's Spider-Man gives Garfield's Spidey his approval and blessing to be Spider-Man. Just the idea brings a tear to my eyes... Sony couldn't possibly lose anything by making this film. They'd be making tons of money and fans would be satisfied. Heck, I'd even write the script myself for free just to see such a movie come to fruition. 

And That's a Wrap!

Thank you all for taking the time to hear my thoughts on what Sony should do with their Spider-Man franchise. I'd love to hear what all of you think about this, so go ahead and leave a comment if you so desire.


Source: Superherofan21
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29 Comments
MightyZeus - 4/10/2014, 8:57 PM
I like your ideas. They are all interesting ideas to expand the TASM universe even further and to make it more awesome.
nova480s - 4/10/2014, 9:02 PM
awesome ideas, man..my main gripe was the fact that the wings and arms were shown in the trailers...they should be waaay more subtle
Pending - 4/10/2014, 9:10 PM
Yep these are good ideas. Personally I'd like to see someone else take the spider mantle after TASM 3, like Miguel O' Hara or Miles. A soft reboot kind of deal.
GliderMan - 4/10/2014, 9:24 PM
"Bring the Two Spideys Together"

DONT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THIS IS A BAD IDEA. THE NAYSAYERS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOICE THEIR OPINION. IT MUST HAPPEN. IT WOULD BE EPIC.
ruadh - 4/10/2014, 9:35 PM
I'm very open to the SMCU, and excited for the sequels/spinoffs. Not into most of your ideas though.
Mrcool210 - 4/10/2014, 9:45 PM
A spider-men with tobey and andrew would be mind blowing, but it will sadly never happen :(
Wallymelon - 4/10/2014, 10:39 PM
Tovey and Andrew would be the end of the comic book genre.
dethpillow - 4/11/2014, 12:25 AM
good article... i really wonder what kind of idea u got for a story behind that Tobey/Garfield teamup. i liked your article, but that just sounds awful to me. I can't imagine it possibly turning out good. It's outlandish like you said, and it would get ragged on like crazy, even if the story was somehow "decent", and it just seems like a bad idea to me. But I am wondering what you imagine tho.

Like the Bendis Spider-Men mini was cool, but I think that kind of stuff just works so much better in comic books, where in a movie, it would just look like Tobey McGuire popping up and doing stuff, and pretending to be Spider-Man again for some reason. u know? If you're a fan of Spider-Men, now that Peter's back, I think he said he's gonna do a sequel to that, and explain the whole mystery about the 616 Miles.

I think a really essential thing that would help any Spider-Man franchise tho, and this is really important... is do one movie every year. maybe sometimes miss a year. but pretty much, every year, one installment. and be committed to recasting. and take things slow.

problem with Spider-Man movies so far, I think, is that he's a totally episodic character and the way that blockbuster movies tend to be made, they end up forcing all these epiphany moments and big grand developments. And having to cram too much in, becuz they know only a few are gonna get made before something changes. actor or director or whatever. And they rush through things too. And that's counter to how Spider-Man works best I think.

Like some of the things Raimi did... introducing Connors early on, possibly setting up Bruce Campbell to be Mysterio, having Betty Brant in the office... that's the kind of stuff that Spider-Man movies should be littered with. and not everything is gonna happen next movie necessarily. Like Lizard in Spider-Man 4 or 5 would've been perfect. or even later.

And taking your time and planting a whole universe around Peter, you have to have a movie a year to really do that. and you have to be ready for changes in cast, and just keep on going. Like when I plan out fantasy Spider-Man franchises in my head... it easily gets up to 12 movies. at least. And that's even rushing it. and it makes movies where the conflict between Spider-Man and a villain, and purely that and how that defines Spider-Man, what that shows about him... then movies like that become possible.

like my idea of Spider-Man vs Lizard, is just that. it's about that time that Connors became the Lizard and what that means, and how Spider-Man defeated him. And nothing else. there can be ongoing stuff in the background of course, threads going thru the movie that make for a continuity, but Spider-Man vs Lizard is all you need. It doesn't sound exciting as a plot, but that's really a heavy, deep movie that deals with pretty scary stuff about human nature and society, law, civilation and the idea of consciousness itself. and then on top of that, it defines Spider-Man depending on how he reacts to it and conquers it. And it's the kind of thing that changes a character but doesn't leave a mark, or a badge afterwards, it's the kind of story that could possibly happen at various times in a continuity. And not enough stuff like that is done in comic book movies. This is more like how actual movies are made usually.

it doesn't have to be like "Now I'm Iron Man and Tony Stark, but I'm Iron Man!"."now I'm Thor and I know Humility!!"."now I'm Iron Man and I know my legacy"."now we're the Avengers and we've banded together"."Now this" and "Now that"."Now SHIELD is dismantled and Cap is at a turning point".
i mean that stuff is cool, but there's also just such a thing as a story too.

And Spider-Man, more than heroes, like Iron Man or Thor, is strong enough that he can totally support a more natural and episodic way of telling his movies. so that every 3 movies, he doesn't have to end up full circle to something. some things are written in threes, and that's great. if something is conceived to be a larger, richer story that changes a character, cool, but not every time, u know? and it hurts Spider-Man especially.

so I think a change in how they approach it needs to be the #1 thing. they just have to look at it and pace it like... we're making Spider-Man movies forever. it's fine if he's in high school for 2 movies. he can date Gwen for 5 or 6 movies before she dies. and just recast him at sensible breaks in his life. or periods that might be tonally charged one way or another, or one director's vision. cast a director and an actor for 2 movies together, then recast when the next guy has a story to tell.

and to me, to do Venom right, u gotta have 3 whole movies. not 3 Spider-Man vs Venom movies. but starting with the symbiote getting attached all the way to Spider-Man kicking Venom's ass and thinking he's seen the last of him now.

people are like what?!?? noo!!! 3 movies???? for Venom?! but yeah, it would only take 3 years to do that, you'd tell it in a way where Venom actually meant something in the 3rd movie when he full on appears, and you'd also see maybe let's say... Kingpin, Tinkerer, Silver Sable, Kraven, Chameleon, Rhino, Hobgoblin and Black Cat. along the way. some of them as major characters some of them just being introduced and having minor parts. not even crowded, just sensibly written into the movies.

cuz some of those characters like Kingpin, Tinkerer, Chameleon would have already been introduced before in some way.

and people would have more of an emotional investment if you wrote these movies good, cuz Peter's life will have been built up and mean something to you. cuz you see it every year pretty much.
dethpillow - 4/11/2014, 12:31 AM
it's hard to believe that Raimi wouldn't have done Lizard next.

i really wish i could talk to Sam Raimi, like i was his friend or secretary or therapist or something and could actually ask naturally, outside of public... what was up with Spider-Man 4?
MightyZeus - 4/11/2014, 2:04 AM
@Pending, Miles will take over after TASM 4.
TheAbaryMan369 - 4/11/2014, 4:05 AM
TASM 4 should actually be a Spider-Man 2099 movie, then you can have 2099, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire team up to battle, like, Venom or something. It has the potential to be the most epic CBM ever.
GinjaNinja - 4/11/2014, 6:16 AM
Bringing two spidey's together would be bad. Here's why...

Andrews spidey had no idea who the original spiderman was, two different harry Osborn, everyone will think its a stupid idea and nobody will want to see it.
GinjaNinja - 4/11/2014, 6:16 AM
other than that I love your ideas
GliderMan - 4/11/2014, 7:34 AM
dougie must be punished for this act of blasphemy. Let the beatings commence. GUSTO!
VIRILEMAN - 4/11/2014, 7:54 AM
The two Spidey's meeting thing sounds really dumb. That kind of thing works in video games and that's it. On film it would be beyond stupid.
ALmazing - 4/11/2014, 8:15 AM
The concept of a Spider-man cinematic universe is ridiculous, there can be Spider-Man movies, sequels, prequels and spin offs but not a cinematic universe based on one character. It's like saying that just because x men has had spin offs and prequels, x men has a cinematic universe.
H3LLBLAZER - 4/11/2014, 10:28 AM
Just add this guy and I think it will work.








:)
CaptainAmerica31 - 4/11/2014, 11:24 AM
The two spideys coming together is dumb but other ideas are good. I think ultimate tone should be taken into consideration but they seem to be locked in on the more classic tone
LEEE777 - 4/11/2014, 11:27 AM
Awesome @ Superhero fan!

Love them ideas, love to see Spidey 2099 on screen too, big thumbs up man!

Oh hey, I thought that awhile ago too when I heard the new EVIL DEADS gonna crossover with the old EVIL DEAD (Army of Darkness Ash). Not only would it be so frickin' cool, it'll give Joe Public the realization that they are different worlds, different Earth's, different dimensions, you'd be surprised how many still don't get it!

And it expands the SONY-Verse MUCH more!!!

Great read!
LEEE777 - 4/11/2014, 11:30 AM
Basically the WEBB movie-verse is the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN anyways, love to see Spidey die and get replaced like what happened in his own Ultimate series.

Ultimate Comics Spider Man 200 cover art
uploading images


Titanace - 4/11/2014, 1:57 PM
I thought it was good up until the two spiderman idea. If that happens we will be soooo tired of spiderman. You can only cook eggs so many different ways...people will know they are just eggs. Time for sony to make a deal. Rent someone from fox or marvel for team ups. Or pimp him out to others studios. This shared universe of sony will fit in my closet.
TheLibrarian - 4/11/2014, 3:27 PM
The best thing Sony could do is make a Miles movie.

And THEN do a Spider-Men movie crossing Garfield's Peter and Miles.

Also they should actually get Bendis to write it. Kurtzman and Orci have made a [frick]in meal of it so far and no one writes Spidey (either Spidey) like Bendis.
TheLibrarian - 4/11/2014, 3:43 PM
@ Titanace, couldn't agree more. One character (even if it is the best one) and his villains can't sustain a cross franchise movie universe.

The Sinister Six and Venom movies are a seriously desperate attempt to jump on the 'world building' bandwagon. Honestly, despite my love for spider-man an and his world, these movies appear like nothing but a cheap (although probably very expensive) cash in and I wish I had the will power to not go see them.

Unfortunately I probably don't so will end up going to see them as anyway. Let's face it, I'd probably watch Barry Manilow take a shit on screen if he was wearing a spider-man costume.
CaptainAmerica31 - 4/11/2014, 4:47 PM
If Sony kills off Peter and replaces him with miles it'll give the producers time to let the real spidey rest up and then they can reboot five years after the morales series ends. It'll be a perfect plan to keep the rights
ibravosp5 - 4/11/2014, 5:02 PM

Lhornbk - 4/11/2014, 5:07 PM
Have one Peter Parker tell another Peter Parker that it's okay for that Peter Parker to be Spiderman. Really? Okay, first of all, you're not the first person to come up with that idea. Someone else wrote an editorial a few months ago suggesting that the Raimi films be considered part of a different universe/dimension, and have Tobey's Spiderman somehow jump dimensions into the new one. It was a bad idea then, and if anything your idea sounds worse. So a big, huge, gigantic no to that idea.

Some of your other ideas might work, although quite frankly I don't really like Spiderman that much, and so don't care if he has a good universe or not.
Titanace - 4/11/2014, 5:38 PM
@TheLibrarian.....you are a true fan. Spidey is lucky to have you....
Archangel82 - 4/12/2014, 9:03 AM
Very nice article, I too am a huge Spiderman fan. He is also my favorite superhero. I agree that Sony has the potential to build a huge Spidey-verse by exploring g all their character possibilities. Personally I would love to see a scarlet Spider movie and a Venom movie. The possibilities are endless. Here's hoping that Sony will deliver.
DarthBatman - 4/12/2014, 9:40 AM
Webb's films are pretty much a darker version of Ultimate Spider-man. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually bring Miles in.

The Spider-men idea wouldn't work at all. The general audience would either be confused or think its stupid and nobody would go see it. The same thing would happen if they tried the other properties idea. Also Maguire is turning 40. He's too old to reprise the role

To be honest I think Sony should just scrap the SMCU idea. I just don't see how the can build a cinematic universe around one character. They would financially be better off sticking with sequels

@ dethpillow Wasn't it confirmed in 2009 that Raimi wanted to do Vulture next

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