The original Spider-Man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, was one of the more instrumental works in helping make superhero movies into the dominating box office force that they are today. The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, which serves as a reboot of the seminal Raimi movies, hasn’t had the same good fortunes – and has left some (many?) filmgoers wondering why the reset button was hit in the first place (financial and rights reasons notwithstanding).
The first Amazing Spider-Man, which came out in 2012, was seen as a decent enough relaunch (one that borrowed heavily from the 2002 origin story) with a likable leading man in Andrew Garfield to help Spider-Man go down a new path. Then The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out this past May; it earned the overall worst critical reception for a Spider-Man film to date (read our review) and took in $203 million domestically and $709 million worldwide – the lowest in the franchise, so far.
Yesterday, there were rumblings that Sony executives are toying with the possibility of using the future installments to establish connections between Disney’s ultra-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe – a way to restore the Spider-Man brand to its former glory. Now, however, Badass Digest is reporting that instead of continuing the series and trying to fix it, Sony is planning to reboot the franchise… again.
Here’s what BD‘s Devin Faraci (a generally reliable source of information) has to say about the situation:
- Sinister Six, which is currently scheduled for release in 2016, will be a “soft reboot” of the brand that features a new actor in the Spider-Man role. Your Friendly Neighborhood will also team up with the six villains to fight against a larger threat.
- Solo Spider-Man films are done for the next four or five years as Sony sees if they can develop franchises starring any of the side characters.
- The long in-development Venom movie, to be directed by Alex Kurtzman, is no more.
As was the case with yesterday’s Disney/Sony crossover report, it’s vital to take all this with a grain of salt, but one thing we can guarantee is that this will add fuel to the fire that Sony has no idea what to do with their prized character. A few months back, this was why Roberto Orci left the series, and while some scheduled release dates seemed to indicate everything was back on track, here we are at square one yet again.
At this point, it’s unknown if anyone from the rebooted continuity will reprise their roles. Given that so much time in Amazing Spider-Man 2 was dedicated to establishing Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) as threats for Spider-Man, it would be a waste if they were not brought back at least. Since this is allegedly a “soft” reboot and not an all-out restart, it’s certainly in the realm of possibility that certain actors will be returning.
As for Garfield, we can only hope that the recasting element of the rumor is untrue. There’s no denying that the Amazing Spider-Man films have split fans in terms of their overall quality, but one thing mostly everyone agreed on was that Garfield fit the part naturally. His take on Spidey was very much in line with the comics, using the character’s sense of humor to inject levity into the action beats; and he was able to use his dramatic chops to fill out Peter Parker, namely in scenes with Aunt May (Sally Field).
No matter what happens, it appears as if Sony has bitten off more than they can chew. In the aftermath of The Avengers, other studios are attempting to set up their own “shared” cinematic universes, but that concept only works when you have a full library of titles to choose from. DC and Warner Bros. can get away with it because there are numerous franchises they can have crossover, but the process becomes a lot more difficult when you’re working with a single film series. There’s no “sharing” there, just overstuffing.
As fans try to get their heads around these new developments, there will only be more chatter about the Spider-Man film rights going back to Marvel Studios (or, at the very least some deal between the two companies). Regardless of his standing in the film world, Spider-Man is still one of Marvel’s poster boys on the comic pages and remains a merchandising machine. Filmmakers would obviously love to parlay that into some big movies, but all the players here need to get their ducks in a row before anything else happens.
This probably isn’t the last we’ve heard from this story. Until then, we just have to see what happens with Sinister Six and if it can generate the excitement and interest that is all but necessary to ensure a film’s survival in the new Hollywood marketplace. Right now, it’s not looking too good.
Sinister Six will be in theaters November 11, 2016 (maybe?).
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.