Making Sense of the Spidey-Frenzy
The internet is ablaze with speculation, anger and confusion as to the latest Spider-Man news. But what does it all mean?
First off, I’m going into this fairly open minded. I haven't gone deep into many news articles and discussions bombarding the internet/ movie nerds everywhere.
For those who don't know #SaveSpidermanFromSony and #SaveSpidey are trending on twitter due to the news breaking from Deadline that negotiations as to the future relationship between Marvel and Sony have fallen through.
It's never been clear sailing
As evident in my Spider-Man: Far From Home review, I'm a big Spider-Man fan, so of-course this news is pretty devastating especially considering how Far From Home set up some big plot elements of future movies.
But let’s be fair, Spidey fans have had it pretty rough since 2007. We've we seen various versions of the character, with highs, lows and dozens of speculations and news as to where the character is going.
In the last year alone we have had three different versions of a "Spider-Verse" with the stand alone and clearly labelled "in association with marvel" film- Venom. We've had the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse and the MCU's Spider-Man: Far From Home.
These were three very different depictions of the character and continued the trend of the character's speculative future. Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, these are all pretty clear cut superheroes with largely definitive versions of the characters. As evident in Oscar winner Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man is a very adaptable character, with many iterations, seen in different ways by many fans. Heck the main lesson of that film is "what makes you different, is what makes you Spider-Man".
Spider-Man was never fully back in Marvel's hands and with an Oscar and the financial success of Venom under their belts, Sony can feel comfortable going it alone, especially when Tom Holland's Spiderman is one variation of the character.
In Sony's defence
To this day people still debate who’s the better Spider-Man- Toby Maguire, Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland. Many have even called for a live action Spider-Verse film starring the three actors or even the long dead Spider-Man 4 from Sam Rami re-surfaced into conversation thanks to the notion of different stories and worlds being on the table. A route DC is going down which could work out well with films like Joker.
Financially I can't see Sony going ahead with any of those ideas, but in their defence, I can fully understand their decision. The benefit to them making a deal with Marvel was access to some of their popular characters along with a bigger financial return.
As of now, it’s very, very unlikely that Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. or any other of the most famous characters in the MCU would appear in a Spider-Man film. Along with the fact that financially Marvel hasn't given them an Infinity War/ Endgame level boost at the box office, it doesn't give them enough to warrant what Disney is asking.
The Marc Webb films, despite taking a dip domestically in America, still overall made a very modest amount of money. Throw in Venom which took just over $8.5 million and the fact that Sony has two other big billion dollar (or near) franchises with James Bond and Jumanji and they set themselves as one of Disney/Marvel's biggest rivals.
Disney wants 50% of Spider-Man's income in return for a bigger investment but so far they're only giving about an extra 100-300 million at the box office?
Disney has had five, billion dollar movies this year with Spider-Man: Far From Home often considered their sixth. So of-course Sony feels they have become just become another cog in Disney's massive machine.
Sony can be a legitimate contender for Disney that in the last few years has made countless cash grab movies, dominating and damaging other studios. Buying Fox was not "taking back the rights" to the Fox owned characters, it just meant by owning the company that has the rights, they have in turn the rights to use them.
It’s a very different situation to what happened with characters like Daredevil and Punisher who transferred the rights back to Marvel when theit contracts finished.
Spider-Man is different. It one of Sony's biggest franchises and the only property to get them a billion dollar movie. So they will never let those rights go. As much as people petition and rant, at the end of the day Hollywood is a business and people will still pay to see these movies regardless of their quality and who makes them (just look at the audience scores for Amazing Spider-Man).
At the moment things are very much still in the air and it obviously a very messy situation.
Its now clear why Kevin Feige didn't announce any Spidey news at Comic-Con and will be interesting how this affects D23. These negotiations and talks are evolving all the time.
Sony has the groundwork from Venom to start their own line of Spidey films. For years there have been rumblings of Sinister Six, Black Cat, Silver Sable and Silk movies along with the Morbius film we are getting next year starring Jared Leto.
With all that in mind Sony has more than enough to make their own marvel universe work. With various Spider-Women, Venom spinoff characters and some of comic book's greatest ever villains. On top of characters like Mile Morales and Miguel O'Hara it could be quite enjoyable to see a Spider-Verse set aside from the restrictions or conventions of the MCU.
Mine and other’s problems with Tom Holland's Spider-Man was always the fact he was in the shadow and mentorship of Iron Man. It worked for those films, but has never felt quite right to the character's origins. Being free of the MCU could allow the character to return to some of his traditions.
The fact Sony owns the likes of Norman Osbourne and Kraven the Hunter, two fan favourite characters make it justifiable that Sony doesn't want Marvel to have access to these characters for only their benefit.
How will it all pan out?
The main obstacle in my mind, for all of this, is the third film in the "Home" series.
I cannot see Marvel allowing Sony to carry on with that continuity as they had so much involvement in its construction. I cannot see them being happy with Tom Holland and Jon Watts sticking with Sony when they have become part of the face of Disney's MCU. I can't see how Sony could continue the story of Far From Home (which heavily suggests not only the direction of its third film but also the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
That is what will be interesting in the coming weeks. If Sony and Marvel can agree to a third film to close out Tom Holland's version of the character, then great. But I'm a big believer that we don't need Spider-Man in The Avengers, or Venom/ Carnage running around an MCU film.
Let the character have a break and let Sony do their own thing. Just ideally- give us the Far From Home sequel and more J. Jonah please. Thanks.