Now, the worst may have seemed to be over for Sony, after the huge hacking scandal at the tail end of last year slowly died down, and was replaced by the widely celebrated news that they had made a deal with Marvel to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And then, a few days ago, Wikileaks revealed a whole truck-load of emails from that Hack, and the whole thing started to gain momentum once again.
The (pleasant) difference this time around? Some of those leaks were a long way from negative - and may, in fact, give us a far more positive look at some of the key figures in the superhero movie business.
It Turns Out Kevin Feige is as Big a Spider-Man Geek as We All Are
Y'see, among the assorted leaks about Ben Affleck's family's slave-owning history, and the general outcry, there was also an email from November 19, 2013, containing Kevin Feige's notes on The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
And, while Feige is pretty darned brutal about the movie itself - his comments pull few punches - his response to the film seems to reveal a man as invested in the Spider-Man we all know and love as any one of us.
Which, as it turns out, shines through, whether it's:
A Very Particular Idea About How Classic Villains Should Be Handled
"Tone down Paul Giamatti [The Rhino's] performance, so he seems a bit more menacing and less cartoonish."
"If you cut Richard from the opening and the plane crash maybe you could instead do Harry coming home and seeing Norman [Osborn] at the top of the movie as a cold open."
"Really love Electro – feels like you may not need the scene in his apartment, which makes him seems completely crazy and hard to relate too."
"Maybe intercut the ending montage and hearing Gwen’s speech with someone going into special projects and revealing more easter eggs and see that the rhino case has been broke into and the suit is missing…great way to transition to rhino ending."
A Strong Sense of Exactly What Sort of Superhero Spider-Man Should Be
"Stan Lee Cameo – maybe need a little more emphasis on Peter here trying to get out of his costume and not be in seen…set up a little more the pressure of the principal getting closer and closer to calling his name."
"Harry story feels like the main plot of the movie – Peter should look into the past b/c of Harry – maybe find some photos of them together as kids…use obsession wall more to set up this part of his past not just what happened to parents."
"Not sure what Peter learns at Roosevelt is entirely correct. We’re distracted by the idea that Peter became Spider-Man b/c of his father’s blood --- all this special back story with his super-scientist dad fights with the idea that Peter is normal kid from Queens who becomes the greatest super-hero in the world…"
"Like the idea that May finds out he’s Spider-Man – finds his costume instead of just the rosemary harris wink-wink all the time."
"Spider-man needs to feel more directly responsible for preventing the planes from crashing."
Exactly How A Superhero Movie Should Work
"There are too many story lines and we need to choose which ones we are focusing on and lift out the other ones, ie; could reduce father arc to just Roosevelt?"
"Could cut out plane crash and Richard destroying spiders and start on armored car – don’t start with Spider-Man….let the danger/stakes to NYC build first and then have Spider-Man enter the scene heroically."
"Seems like the movie switches pov’s a lot…why are we in Max’s pov during the car chase, worth looking at this playing out from Spidey’s pov."
"Why do we need a year to pass…"
"Don’t show New Yorkers looting."
Preciscely What Sort of Person Peter Parker Is
"Tiny note – don’t think Peter would lie to Gwen about sirens --- maybe he just downplays it…"
"There is too much back and forth with Peter and Gwen – can we recut the Dim Sum scene so that it doesn’t feel so repetitive of their break-up in the last movie – Can Peter be more honorable and definitive and less wishy-washy?"
"Andrew’s performance is all over the place…a lot of crying and then a lot of mania. Hard to track him emotionally sometimes. It undermines his reaction to Gwen’s death b/c he gets upset and emotional a lot."
"Don’t like the idea that May tells Peter his parents were spies b/c two seconds later he finds out they are not and it again fights with the idea that he’s an ordinary kid."
What Does All That Tell Us, Though?
Now, some of what Feige's talking about didn't make it into the final movie - Aunt May was going to work out Peter's identity! - and it's interesting to note that relatively few of his suggestions were acted upon, but what's perhaps more intriguing is that the head of Marvel Studios was, even back in November 2013, considered a voice worth hearing regarding the direction that the Spider-Man franchise was heading in.
The three big takeaways from Feige's comments, though?
1. Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal Clearly Have a Good Working Relationship
Which bodes well for the future of that Sony/Marvel Spider-Man partnership...
2. Kevin Feige Knows Superhero Movies
Which bodes well for the future of the MCU, considering how hands on he seems to be...
And, of course:
3. Kevin Feige is as Big a Superhero Geek as All of Us
Which bodes well for our future superhero-movie enjoyment, if you ask me...