I love Spider-Man. Absolutely adore him. I have ever since I was a kid, back when FOX Kids aired the Spider-Man Animated Series in the early '90's. He was a joker, and I related to that, because I had always been a bit of a class clown. The older I got, the more layered my affection for the character became, but the point I'm making here is I've liked Spider-Man for a long damn time.
It's been ten years since Spider-Man 2 came out. Remember Spider-Man 2? Spider-Man 2 was amazing, and it didn't even need the adjective in the title to prove it. Too bad literally every other Spider-Man movie to date has veered from "Good way to spend a rainy day" to "Ouch, my balls". I know we all really like to look back on the original Raimi flicks with fond memories, but when was the last time you watched them? They don't hold up well. I mean, those were really goofy movies, guys. So when people compare the newer Amazing movies to Raimi's, as though the original trilogy were the untouchable benchmark of cinematic genius, I'm inclined to disagree.
Btw, the Amazing movies suck, too.
Okay, that's harsh. In truth, I consider them on equal footing with Raimi's trilogy. There are good parts and bad, but public opinion of the Amazing series has always been worse. Why? Well, for some, they recognize the reboot for what it is: a shameless, open-palmed cash grab. You can't argue that. It's not like Sony decided to bring the character back to update him for the hipper, younger audience of 2012 that just couldn't have related to the outdated ways of 2007.
Then you've got Amazing Spider-Man 2, a movie I want to like - really, I do. That, to me, was the closest interpretation to the character that I've seen. He felt like Spider-Man. (Let's not even get into Emma Stone, because we'll be here all day.) The honest truth, though, is that that movie is a mess. A giant, stumbling, drooling, stupid fucking mess. It's the kind of movie you watch and go "WHY?? WHY DID THEY DO THAT? DIDN'T SOMEONE SPEAK UP AND SAY, 'WAIT, GUYS. WHY THE HELL IS ELECTRO NARRATING HIS THOUGHTS IN DUB-STEP? SEEMS KIND OF DUMB.'"
What I'm saying is it wasn't that great.
However, if you recall, at the time Sony had all manner of plans for the series. There would be a Sinister Six spinoff, a "female led" spinoff, a Venom spinoff, an Aunt May spinoff where she and Uncle Ben's ghost solved crimes, a spinoff about the cab driver, a spinoff about the crane operator. It was to be a fully realized, wonderful, interconnected universe, and it would be GRAND. Or it would have been, if the movie meant to be a springboard for these plans hadn't received the same reaction from audiences as, say, having someone piss on your leg.
Fast forward to last month. Emails between Sony reps have been made public, and as shocking as it sounds, they don't seem to know exactly what they're doing with the franchise. Should they do another movie? Should they do a "soft-reboot" (executive speak for "Fuck. Do over guys! Do over!")? Or should they just do what like, literally everyone on the planet wants and get in on some of that Avengers action? Well, rumors came and went, and we came away with the understanding that Sony was to have a "Spider Summit", where presumably, the execs would sit around while eating pizza, watching every other successful superhero movie in the last seven years to decide exactly what they should copy.
This morning, I checked www.nerdbastards.com, and what was the first story I saw? A headline that Spider-Man was locked to appear in Infinity War. Oh, how my nerd heart fluttered. Then I went to Google, and immediately saw a headline shooting down those claims.
God damn it. This again.
There's been a back-and-forth ever since the Sony leak that Spider-Man will be/won't be joining the MCU. One day he will be, one day he won't be. One day there were talks, then it turned out the talks were about combining two bizarrely unrelated franchises (Men in Black and Jump Street? Da fack?). One thing is clear: Marvel wants Spider-Man. Sony, however, has no clue what they're doing with Spider-Man, and may possibly be conspiring to destroy the character FOREVER.
That's a little dramatic. Here me out, though. When people discuss the possibility of Spidey joining the MCU, there are two varying responses: "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!", or "Marvel doesn't need Spider-Man." Well, yes, that's accurate. They don't need him. However, you've got it twisted, friends. It's Spider-Man that needs Marvel.
The way I see it, Spider-Man's future has three distinct courses the franchise could take. First, Sony keeps Spider-Man and forces themselves to regurgitate Amazing Spider-Man 3. It bombs, hard. Let's be honest, the franchise has been slipping, and the chances that they'll straighten things out seems unlikely. If they torpedo the next installment, say goodbye to Spider-Man for a while, because nobody is going to want to see one of those movies again for a long time. Let's call this the "Schumacher Scenario".
OR, Sony continues with their plans of a shared universe, and it pans out. They make a few spinoff flicks that see decent profit, and then we get ASM3. I would get into this, because frankly, it doesn't seem likely. With the mess ASM2 turned out to be, unless Sony can convince audiences to be interested in Crane Guy: The Untold Story over Avengers: Every Superhero Ever, they probably won't be moving forward with those schemes anytime soon. Let's call this the "Joey Scenario".
Third and final, Sony let's Marvel use Spider-Man, either by way of outright selling the rights back, or sharing them in exchange for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Marvel banks the character for a few years, letting audiences maybe actually miss him, then brings him into the fold in Infinity Wars, reintroducing him as an already established, small-time hero operating solo. Following Infinity Wars, Marvel needs some new heroes to bolster its roster, and we get our first "Marvel's Spider-Man". All is right with the world. We shall call this the "Don't-Let-Sony-Destroy-Spider-Man scenario".
What does the future hold exactly? Who knows. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you're like, "Thanks for wasting my time, dude." In which case, hey shut up, nobody made you read this. Either way, whatever the outcome, here's hoping it's what works best for the franchise and the character. I'm sure we'll know for sure the closer we get to Age of Ultron's release, once Sony figures out what particular aspects of that they want to lift. Who knows, maybe we'll see Spider-Man fight a robot that sings classic Disney songs next. It worked for Marvel, surely it could work for them!