DISCLAIMER: The following was written before the debut of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Any comments therein are in reference to the first movie alone, and should not be taken as applause for the sequel to that first movie.
Okay, so every closely-attending fan is aware of the fact that not every property that has been produced by Marvel Comics, is currently under Marvel control. And sadly, among those which Marvel gave up movie rights to, are some of its most well-known, popular and money-generating series. And we don't blame them; Marvel had hit hard times, and wanted to make sure that those properties got a chance at good movies, in the event Marvel ended up going under. The act of giving them up was certainly intended as a labor of love.
Though, as it turns out, that plan has had mixed results. Granted, it's brought some of the lesser-knowns of the Marvel Comics Universe (including Captain America, Thor, Loki, Iron Man, many of those introduced within Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and plenty more, to supply lots of movies for years to come). Though, while these guys have been getting brought to the forefront (even to the point of worldwide success), the original A-Listers have often been getting treatment that most true fans would find deplorable.
Personally, the author of this article is a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man (I think that it was well-done from start to finish), so let's clarify. The problem hasn't, personally, been with Sony Pictures. It's been with Fox Studios. Their treatment of Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Elektra, the Fantastic Four (and the Silver Surfer), and currently the X-Men. Simply put, it is time for Marvel Studios to get their properties back. Not one or a few. All of them. Bring Marvel's babies back home.
Of course, none of this is to say that Fox's efforts haven't been valiant. Really, their efforts certainly have seemed to be honest and true. They seemed really eager to put forth all the best effort into making movies as interesting and entertaining as possible over the years, with every project they've put forth. Though, if we go down the line, I think it becomes more than painfully obvious: what Fox has in mind for Marvel projects just ain't cuttin' it.
Take Ghost Rider, for example. This guy is supposed to be a bringer of vengeance and justice and whatnot, and somehow, NICOLAS CAGE ended up in the role? I'm sorry, just...just no. I need not even go into detail. His acting is self-explanatory, if you ask me. Not to mention, the second movie went straight from kicking butt and terrifying evildoers, to a tried and true secular meme of divine-based heroes: trying to avoid the coming of the Antichrist. As a Christian, and a movie-fan, and a comic-book fan, that made me die a little inside. So overdone from a movie standpoint, and so disrespectful in its underestimation from a Christian standpoint, it was plain ridiculous.
Then, there's Daredevil and Elektra. Now, this movie wasn't entirely terrible, admittedly. Certainly, it was nowhere near as bad as the Ghost Rider pair of movies. However, it was pretty lackluster, where the script goes. I remember very little at all about that movie, other than the one fight scene between Daredevil and Elektra, the fact that Michael Clark Duncan was Kingpin, and that Colin Farrell played a very...*ahem* interesting Bullseye. And sadly, Elektra, as I'm sure many of you are well aware, was basically unmemorable in both Daredevil and the spin-off movie named after her.
Similar problems existed within the Fantastic Four pair of movies. Both movies focused way too much on the personal life of the Four, and within all that interaction, it seems like so little was relevant to anything other than a loop of character development and random action. Normally, character development is good, but as anyone knows, often, one CAN have too much of a good thing. And then, the end battles in both? The definition of anticlimactic, if you ask this writer. And I'm a FAN of the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer.
Though, worst of all has GOT to be Fox's treatment of X-Men. To start, basically every character except for Wolverine has gotten the shaft by way of Fox Studios' writing and casting. Two of the characters who SHOULD have been leaders of the group (Cyclops and Professor Xavier, in that order) were killed off as though they were mere throw-away extras, while any and all who remained got few lines at all, other than for the purpose of drama, random flashy power use and random romantic drama. No one has really developed into a multidimensional character, other than (somewhat) Wolverine. And let's not even get started on lack of logical, coherent continuity within the Fox Mutantverse. *sigh*
Fortunately, Fox is not the end-all, beat-all when it comes to Marvel superhero movies. Now that Marvel has not only come back from the brink of extinction, but come back bigger and better than ever, it is a perfect time for Marvel to reclaim the properties that rightfully belong with them. They've shown themselves very capable, where complex, multi-layered, interweaving story plots are concerned. They've shown themselves quite worthy, with their near-flawless casting of characters, and tasteful mix of comic-based and original elements. And they've shown themselves more than ready, with a plan including both movies and TV series expanding AT LEAST from now up until the year 2028, at last estimation.
Marvel Studios has reclaimed the rights to Ghost Rider, Daredevil (and presumably Elektra), Punisher and Blade, and at last glance, they seem intent on reclaiming the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and (perhaps most eagerly) X-Men within the next ten years or so. And personally, despite my love of Sony's job with The Amazing Spider-Man, I think that when they're done with THEIR work on the iconic web-slinging hero, he should go back home to Marvel Studios, along with all his comrades in the F4 and X-Men.
Quite simply, Marvel has an excellent head at the helm, they're headed in what seems to be a fantastically satisfying direction for fans. And while Fox has turned out a great deal of mainstream viewers, Marvel would simply do a better job at producing movies that satisfy both dedicated fans AND average moviegoers. I mean, they're not called MARVEL for nothing; these guys are amazing. And nobody does Marvel movies, like Marvel Studios.
In fact, I could even stand to wait until the next decade, after Fox has had a nice run of entertaining-yet-shallow super-flicks, and can think of no more ideas to ruin the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer (YET AGAIN) or to glorify Wolverine over all his fellow X-Men. By then, Marvel Studios should have released the Inhumans movie, anyhow, which would be perfect timing for a lead-in to an X-Men reboot, and behind it, all the other former Fox franchises.