Spider-Man is easily one of the most recognizable superheroes ever created. I place him in an elite category with Superman and Batman as the top three superheroes in the genre. You may haggle whether or not some others need to be considered “elite”, but that’s not the point of my post. As comic book movie fans, we are in our own golden age. No matter how any of us feel about individual movies themselves, we are seeing an avalanche of comic book movies released on an annual basis. And, for the most part, they’re very good.
That brings me to Spider-Man and the interesting conundrum that we’re faced with. We all know about Spidey’s movie rights and the history there, so I don’t want to regurgitate that for the millionth time, but the character is at a cross roads cinematically. Sony bet a lot on “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and it didn’t work out quite as well as they planned. It looks as though their bid for a cinematic Spider-Verse is not going to happen now. Spidey has steadily been losing steam since his cinematic debut in 2002 with ASM2 possessing the lowest box office gross of any Spider-Man movie to date. Does it make sense for Sony to continue on this path? My answer is no.
Since the debut of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios has cranked out hit after hit. Why? Simply stated, they’re quality movies. I know there are detractors to some of the movies, but overall, they’ve been good. They have a long-term vision and every movie is connected somehow and has a place in that vision. Clearly, they aren’t flying by the seat of their pants. This is why Spidey needs to be a part of the MCU.
But can Sony and Marvel make it work? Both are large studios with tremendous egos. No one wants to come out looking like the loser here. Should Sony give creative control to Marvel? Who splits the profits? There are a thousand questions that need to be hammered out by the executives in both companies. Reports have been circulating for months that there is a Spidey-Summit going on between the two companies. Recently, we heard that a deal was in place and Spider-Man would indeed be a part of the MCU. Then Sony said that wasn’t the case. I don’t think there is a quick and easy solution to this. As fans, we want Spidey as a part of the MCU. He belongs there. Hell, I’d like to see the X-Men and Fantastic Four come home too, but that probably isn’t happening any time soon. But will they see past the egos and the mistakes of the past (Venom, anyone?) and get this deal going?
I think they will. Both studios have a lot to gain by striking this deal. It has the potential to be a financial windfall for both parties. Right now, I think that Marvel has the upper hand. They’ve created an entire cinematic universe built on the backs of lesser known heroes. Just imagine what they would do with their marquee character. In addition, they’ve done an amazing job of casting their main characters. If Marvel were to gain creative control of Spider-Man, I have no doubt they would cast the part perfectly. And Sony just has to sit back and let the profits roll in.
I understand that I’m greatly simplifying the situation and the logistics of this situation, but I really think that we’ll see this deal happen. Whenever there is money to be made, I think both parties will be willing to negotiate.