The Amazing Spider-Man has been a fiasco. With the original Spider-Man trilogy so fresh in everyone's mind, most fans were against a hard reboot to begin with, and to top it off the two movies we got were less than stellar. To be quite honest, I don't think The Amazing Spider-Man was all that terrible, and there were a lot of things that Marc Webb and Sony did right with them. I really liked the costume they did in the first Amazing Spider-Man. It was iconic and it was Spider-Man, but it did a good job of doing its own thing, and it reminded me quite a lot of the costume Ben Reilly wore when he became Spider-Man at the end of the Clone Saga in the 1990s. The movies were both visually stunning, so much more than the Raimi trilogy, which itself was visually stunning for its period. However, amid everything they did properly, they did so much more wrong and now, with the announcement that Sony will not be moving forward with the Amazing Spider-Man franchise and they would not be doing anymore films with Andrew Garfield in the web-laced tights, it would seem that Sony would be admitting defeat. The problem with admitting defeat, though, is that they have nothing else to exploit in the very lucrative comic book movie market.
Well, it isn't exactly true that they don't have any other comic book properties, or any other Marvel Comics properties. They do have one other that everyone seems to be forgetting about. They have Men in Black, which was based on a comic book that has gone through several different ownerships, but it became a part of the Marvel Comics pantheon when Marvel acquired Malibu comics in the 90s. While Sony does seem quite content with moving on with the Men in Black franchise with a soft reboot of its own, they are eyeing bringing that franchise into the same universe as their 21 Jump Street franchise. Now, I can't be the only person scratching my head at this decision. Sure, they are both law enforcement to a degree, but can anyone really see MIB and 21 Jump Street ever existing in the same world? The Jump Street movies are silly and fun, but I don't think they would fit with aliens and werewolves (in the original comics, the MIB investigated all things supernatural, sort of like a proto X-Files, and not just aliens). Needless to say, I can see this being the end of both the MIB and Jump Street franchises. But that is a story for another time. This story is about Spider-Man.
In an interview with Indie Wire, Avi Arad and Matt Tomlach (current franchise runners of Spider-Man over at Sony) have both said, matter-of-factly, that as long as they are in charge there will be no Spider-Man other than Peter Parker. That is a shame, because they have ruined Peter Parker in movies, at least for now. They ruined Peter Parker by, quite simply, by rebooting him in The Amazing Spider-Man in the first place. To do another reboot, even one that doesn't go back and tell his origin yet again, is going to alienate the audience and make the Spider-Man movies even more of a joke than they already are. I am telling you right now, Sony, if you're reading this, you CAN NOT reboot Peter Parker again and expect it to be successful and if these two idiots refuse to give ground in that area, fire them. Something completely different needs to be done with this character, and that means putting someone else under the mask. Plain and simple, point blank and period. Peter Parker as Spider-Man is box office poison right now and that needs to be changed.
There are several things that could be done to use another Spider-Man apart from Peter Parker. There is huge internet interest in using Miles Morales, the current Ultimate Spider-Man. This could be interesting because it wouldn't have to be really a reboot at all, but could be a continuation. You see, in the comic books, Miles became Spider-Man after Peter Parker's death in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. It would be really easy to bring in Andrew Garfield one last time to kill him off and then have him succeeded with Miles Morales. This would work really well because it wouldn't really have all of the reboot baggage with it, it would introduce the world to something new and interesting, and, most importantly, it would have a reason to exist, which The Amazing Spider-Man never really did. I would be so for this, though it isn't my ideal Spider-Man reboot, but I will get to that in a bit.
Another route they could go is by doing Amazing Spider-Man 3, as scheduled, with Garfield, and using the story of the Clone Saga for that film. I know, the Clone Saga is almost universally hated, but there is a reason for that that the movie wouldn't have. The problem with the Clone Saga of the 90s was, quite simply, that it ran away with itself. It became much too long on convoluted. The movie wouldn't be able to do that, and it could take after the six issue miniseries "The Real Clone Saga" by Tom DeFalco, which told the clone story in a very condensed and enjoyable way. You could have Garfield play dual roles, as Parker and his clone Ben Reilly, and the film could end with Ben Reilly becoming Spider-Man and swinging off into his own trilogy. I loved the Scarlet Spider character and would love to see that character done onscreen, blue hoodie and all, but I think this is the least likely to have a shot at happening, and if I'm quite honest, I think it would have the least chance of being successful as well. But there is one idea that I think has the best chance of success, and it isn't either of these two.
Spider-Man 2099 is what I want to see done, and this is why. I honestly think this has the best chance of reigniting the Spider-Man film franchise because it's new. It's newer and fresher than anything else. Now, I don't know if Sony has the rights to the Spider-Man 2099 character in their bundle of rights they have to the franchise. If they don't, there is an easy way for them to get them. Trade Peter Parker back to Marvel for them. In the MCU is the ONLY place that Peter Parker can have new life. Fans want to see Peter Parker back under the Marvel umbrella and they want to be able to see him join up with The Avengers, this is how you make everyone happy, Sony. You get to keep making Spider-Man movies, people want to go see your movies because you would be doing something no one else is doing, a distant future superhero, and the Peter Parker Spider-Man can go back to Marvel. In fact, if Sony was really smart, they would work out a deal with Fox to share the X-Men and Doctor Doom names, they would trade Peter Parker back to Marvel for all the rights to the 2099 characters and they would immediately have their own shared universe, the 2099 Cinematic Universe. Even if Sony can't get to use X-Men or Doom 2099, even with Spider-Man, Punisher, Hulk and whatever else they can come up with from that franchise, they could have a franchise ready to compliment, nor rival but compliment, Marvel's own. Marvel and Disney want Spider-Man back bad enough, I think they could do it. This is how you win, Sony. This right here is your hail mary move. This, Sony Pictures and Avi Arad and everyone else, THIS is how you save Spider-Man and come out with your own shared universe franchise. This is how you do it, and everything else, while it may not necessarily fails, will absolutely fall short to the plan I have just given you. So make it happen, Sony! What are you still sitting on your butts for?!