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.