Written by John Hussey
This has certainly been an interesting topic I’ve been following and I want to finally talk about here on the site. I previously wrote an article titled, Should Fox and Sony Finally Surrender to Marvel Studios?, in which I talked about the problems that fans have had with the two companies and their attitudes towards Marvel Studios and keeping a tight grip on their properties, and overall the damage their doing because of their egos and selfish attitudes.
Today I’m just going to be talking about Sony Pictures Entertainment and some of the retarded ideas they have been announcing for Spider-Man of late. As I established in my previous article Sony made the perfect deal with Marvel Studios. They got to keep distribution rights for the character whilst Marvel Studios would be given more creative control, thus allowing the character to be shared and placed within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everybody wins right? Marvel Studios gets to have Spider-Man within their films, Sony finally produce quality films that are critically exclaimed (as well as profitable), and the fans are made extremely happy.
You’d think with such a win-win situation that everybody involved would be happy. But you’d be wrong. It turns out that Sony aren’t quite the blessed company I thought them to be. In fact, they’re just as money-grabbing as Microsoft (a company I have shunned for many years now for their extremely corporate way of thinking). As much as I liked The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and what Sony were planning to do with that particular series (please don’t hate me), you have to question the mind-set of the company in regards to how they approach their properties and their reasoning for pushing the property in the first place.
They don’t even consider the passion, enthusiasm, or (heck) the feedback of the fans. All they give a toss about is making more money. This is where The Amazing Spider-Man film series comes into play because it was being banked on (by Sony) to be a massive cash-cow to make them profit. Hence why it was going to be so extensive, scheduled to have two more sequels, and multiple spin-offs, in order to make this Spidey shared-universe. But all that backfired when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t as successful as Sony hoped (despite wracking in a lot of money) because it failed to impress critics due to its convoluted narrative.
Because of this, and the fact that a load of questionable emails were leaked after the company was hacked (basically declaring them as money-grabbing arse-hats) Sony were forced to abandon their reboot of the Spider-Man franchise and search for alternative solutions. This of course led them into a tight corner (to which there was no escape from) and the company became desperate, flailing around like a fish out of water trying to gasp for air, as they tried to find a way to solve their financial problems.
Sony had no choose but to accept Marvel Studio’s deal to share Spider-Man. When you look at it like this the sharing of the character doesn’t seem so golden, and instead just makes you realise that Sony made the deal because it benefitted them and not because they wanted to do right by the fans. You’d think after crucifying a fan favourite set of films, before quickly rebooting the franchise to make a mixed-bag set of films that ended without a clear conclusion, they’d be begging on their arms and knees to the fandom for fucking up so badly. But you’d be wrong.
But of course despite the circumstances you’d think that Sony would be comfortable with this decision. After-all, they are technically benefiting from having their property feature in one of the most successful film franchises of all time, i.e. the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Superhero fans have become very much aware of what kind of superhero film they want to see and Marvel Studios provides that for them. Anything featuring their logo is automatically assumed to be made with the best interest of the fans in mind. If a Marvel film doesn’t feature their logo then it’s quickly shunned for being a half-arsed interpretation devised by another company who’s out to only make money and has no idea how to use their properties correctly.
Even if Sony didn’t make any money from Spider-Man’s appearances within cross-over events (such as Captain America: Civil War and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War) they’d still bank a shit-ton of money from his solo-films which are distributed by Sony. Already Spider-Man: Homecoming has a massive following and millions of fans across the world are excited by Spider-Man’s latest outing, mostly because it’s made under the watchful eye of Kevin Feige and the team. Spider-Man’s character has been crafted carefully this time round and has been pushed to be as close to the comic-books as humanly possible, granting us a teenage Peter Parker played by Tom Holland. Heck, even Robert Downey Jr. is making an appearance as both Tony Stark and Iron Man (another win-win for Sony surely).
But of course this has its disadvantages on Sony’s side. They no longer have as much creative control, nor do they have much control over the scheduling of the films. It will be down to Marvel Studios and when they feel Spider-Man will best fit into the scheduling of their phases, as well as the overall story-arc of their shared universe. This means (of course) that Sony can’t pump out a new film every couple of years, nor can they try to be overly clever with their structure. Remember, these were the mad bastards that decided to disregard Feige’s advice about their plans for a shared Spidey universe and went along with it anyway (and look how that turned out).
Deep down Sony probably aren’t happy that they’re under the control of Marvel Studios and wish to continue their crazy ideas because they think their clever and artistic. “If Marvel Studios can do it then so can we and it’ll be better because we own Spider-Man and everybody loves Spider-Man and will come to see our films because it’s Spider-Man!” But in order to get the fan’s respect you have to be faithful to the source material, listen to your audience, and of course give us quality over quantity. Plus, fans have really got sick and tired of seeing the same stories being re-treaded over and over again, hence why Spider-Man: Homecoming is being blessed by fans because it isn’t retelling the origins and is using a new villain, i.e. The Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.
And here’s where the problems start. Sony announced that their making a Venom spin-off film, starring Tom Hardy as Venom. Now at first this sounded great but then the alarm bells started ringing when it was quickly revealed that this film wasn’t set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Okay then, what the hell does this all mean? Well it means that Sony are fucking arseholes out to make money and clearly don’t give a flying fuck about the fans (at least the film division doesn’t anyway). Essentially Sony are fucking with everyone involved because not only are they giving the middle finger to us, but also to Marvel Studios.
It’s almost like a dick move in order to declare, “Okay, you can have Spider-Man but that’s it. You may pick a few back-seated characters to accompany him, but that’s it. In the meantime we’re going to use all the good characters for our own spin-off films that don’t tie into anything because, fuck-you that’s why!” For anyone (like myself) that was hoping for Venom to be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this time done right instead of being a studio forced element, will sadly have to go on waiting until Sony take their tight, greedy claws off Spider-Man.
But it gets fucking worse! As well as an announcement for a Venom film Sony have also announced another spin-off film featuring Black Cat and Silver Sable, currently dubbed Silver and Black. This second spin-off is even more confusing as there’s talks going around that it will be yet another entirely different universe, outside of the new Venom universe, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Worst of all it’s said that it will be cramming in countless Spider-Man related characters (including Norman Osborn, aka Green Goblin) just for the sake of setting up a brand-new universe under Sony’s watchful eye. And apparently Spider-Man will not feature in either of these baffling proposals.
This whole situation is fucked-up. Why on Earth Sony couldn’t have just backed down and accepted that their approach was simply not working in any direction. Their ideas sucked, their structure was broken, and the majority didn’t want what they had to offer. What made them think that these ideas would work now? Also there’s quotes from Amy Pascal, chairperson of the film division of Sony, that indicate that they intend to drop their deal with Marvel Studios after they release the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. What the fuck is even going on anymore?!
I generally think that Sony has lost the fucking plot. They’re clearly arrogant bastards (to say the least) and intend to do nothing but satisfy their own interests at the cost of constantly pissing of the Spider-Man fandom. To be fair, I don’t know if Sony can just pull out of the deal because it’s already been stated that Holland’s contract is for three Spider-Man films and three Avengers films, and we have to assume Marvel Studios must be involved with all three solo-films and that Sony can’t just make their own third film after Holland has used up his appearances in other Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
I reckon Marvel Studios (if not Disney) will have something up their sleeves to ensure that Spider-Man stays under their swing. After all the negotiations they went through to bring him home (which is why I think “Homecoming” is such a poetic title for Spider-Man’s upcoming film) they’re not going to let Sony steal him back off them. But I guess we’ll have to see. As for the demented spin-off films, we can but hope that those films do terribly and showcases to Sony that they’ve lost the plot and are forced to stand down by Marvel Studios, perhaps forced into returning Spider-Man’s rights back to Marvel.
Here’s hoping that whatever the outcome is of these shitty films that it doesn’t damage the overall Spider-Man brand and make it hard for Marvel Studios to use him for what they want to use him for. Either-way, there’s not a lot we can do but to keep shouting out our opinions and hope they get heard and the right outcome is assured. What do you guys think about this messed-up situation? Are you just as baffled as me? Do you want Spider-Man to go back to Marvel or are you fine with Sony’s mental direction? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.