There was a lot of gnashing of teeth in the geek world last week when Deadline broke the news that Sony and Marvel couldn’t come to a new agreement with Spider-Man’s film rights. As you’re all probably aware, Sony and Marvel managed to put their differences aside in 2015 to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Sony holding the movie rights to our favorite Wall Crawler, a deal was brokered that allowed the Marvel superhero to appear in Captain America: Civil War.
Under this deal, all of the live-action Spider-Man movies were produced by Sony but were made by Marvel. This led to a beautiful partnership where we saw the character appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
All of that is done now as Marvel and Sony could not come to a new agreement. Sony, Marvel, Disney and the fans started to point fingers regarding who to blame for this snafu. It’s been reported that Disney and Marvel went to Sony for a new deal that would essentially be a 50/50 split between the two, which would undercut Sony’s stake on future live-action Spider-Man films but the future of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would continue. Any way you cut it, fans are pissed at the outcome and are holding out for hope that the two can make up and come to an agreement sooner than later.
I believe that there are going to be a lot of talk about this who’s to blame for all of this. While I have my opinion on this, this isn’t what I want to write about. Rather, I like to make the unpopular case that a Sony made Spider-Man film might to well without Marvel. Seems outlandish? Actually, there are just a couple of things Sony needs to do if they do decide to go ahead with making new movies based on the Web Slinger.
First, and this might seem dumb… but why does Sony have to make a live-action movie of Spider-Man? It’s not like animated movies are chopped liver, right? Sony’s had some success with their animated films, specifically, the Hotel Transylvania series. Regardless of what you think of those Adam Sandler starring movies, they have made Sony a lot of money. So they can certainly do an animated version of Spider-Man that would work. In fact, Sony already went ahead and made a critically acclaimed and financially successful Spider-Man movie even while they were in the deal with Marvel. Maybe you’ve heard of a little film called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?
Like a lot of fans, I did enjoy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film was well received by both critics and audiences alike. It also made Sony a boatload of money with $375 million worldwide. Okay, that’s not Marvel Cinematic Universe level but, considering Into the Spider-Verse was made with a budget of only $90 million, that’s a good return on investment, don’t you think?
I even remember a lot of people calling it the best Spider-Man movie ever made! Think about it. Into the Spider-Verse was released after Homecoming and Infinity War, two Marvel/Disney made films featuring Spider-Man and deeply embedded within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the animated movie that isn’t part of the MCU is the best Spider-Man movie? That would be considered insane if Into the Spider-Verse didn’t hit it out of the ballpark! It’s safe to say that Sony can make the Into the Spider-Verse universe it’s own franchise and they didn’t need Marvel or Disney’s help to do it.
This does go against conventional thinking nowadays. There’s still a stigma that animated features are just for kids. For every Pixar film that’s released, you’ll get something like The Smurfs or an Angry Birds movie. This may be why, despite it being really good, the animated Into the Spider-Verse only made $375 million worldwide. I highly doubt Sony would stop making live-action movies and just concentrate on animated Spider-Man features. Besides, I hear Tom Holland, who is the current person donning the red spandex, is still under contract to make two more Spider-Man movies, Marvel or no Marvel.
This leads me to the other thing Sony has to do if and when they do move ahead with a future live-action Spider-Man film: do not interfere with production. This is the biggest thing that Sony has to do, or rather, not do if they want their Marvel-less Spider-Man to actually be embraced by fans in the future. As proof as to why I say this, let’s take you back when Sam Raimi took the helm of the Spider-Man film franchise way back in 2002.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy was a little bit kooky but had the heart of the comic book character. You can see there was a lot of love for Spider-Man and how much respect Raimi had for the hero. It wasn’t a pitch perfect rendition of the comic book Spider-Man. He took some liberties, like giving the Web Slinger biological web shooters and that weird Power Rangers-like outfit for Green Goblin. But, by God, Sam Raimi made it work! At least, for the first two Spider-Man movies. It was by the third film that the producers started sticking their noses into it.
Originally, Sam Raimi wanted to include The Vulture in Spider-Man 3 but Avi Arad “convinced” him to replace him with Venom, as he was the villain most fans wanted to see. The producers also inserted in Gwen Stacey for one reason or another. This led to Spider-Man 3 to be the bloated mess that it became. While I can’t say if Sam Raimi’s original vision of Spider-Man 3 would be good, I do believe it would’ve been better than what we actually got because the guy behind the camera would’ve given much more effort into putting what he wanted onto the big screen without putting the stuff he didn’t want as an obligation to please the people with the money.
Sony then rebooted the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man with Marc Webb in the director’s chair. I hated both movies. I say that The Amazing Spider-Man duology are the worst live-action Spider-Man movies right. now. A lot of it has to do with how Sony tried to make this a new “cinematic universe” right from the start without trying to make good movies first! After watching Amazing Spider-Man 2, I promised myself that I wouldn’t watch Amazing Spider-Man 3 or Sinister Six or whatever the next movie in this “cinematic universe” as protest!
But saying that Sony shouldn’t interfere in the production of a Spider-Man movie isn’t enough. They won’t get a good product if they actually don’t hire the right people to actually make a good Spider-Man movie. The most important thing Sony should do is get Spider-Man fans to work on the film! I’m talking about writers, producers and directors who have read the comics and knows the ins and outs of what makes Spider-Man such a beloved Marvel character in the first place!
Honestly, you would think it’s much easier to find a true blue Spider-Man fan to work on the film than for a producer to not interfere. You’d be wrong, though. There are going to be a lot of people in Hollywood who may even believe that they’re Spider-Man fans but they’re probably just familiar with the basics or, even worse, just the previous films that feature Spider-Man.
This is why Kevin Feige managed the Marvel Cinematic Universe so well. He was a guy who loves Marvel comics and knew what comic book fans would want to see on the big screen. He knew the traits of each hero but wasn’t complacent enough to not make adjustments to them. Sony will be hard-pressed to find someone with the same passion of Kevin Feige to work on their Spider-Man movies.
With all of that said, I am still hoping Marvel, Disney and Sony can find a deal that’ll have Spider-Man still living in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hope they can work out a deal that’ll make everyone happy, especially the fans who don’t want to see Spider-Man leave the MCU. If they don’t, I do hope Sony kept a close watch on how Marvel and Disney handled the iconic hero so they can try to, at the very least, copy those same practices when they do make another movie with him.
Oh, and Sony, at the very least, don’t rush and make him a part of Venom 2, please.
That would be a Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice level of a mistake.
Do you think a Sony helmed Spider-Man movie would work without Marvel or Disney? Let me know in the comments section below!