Dear Readers (especially Sony Pictures),
I like to write about how much I love Spider-Man on this site. I also like to write about how much I love reading Spider-Man comics. But do you know what else I enjoy? I love to watch Spider-Man movies. Sony Pictures has been the steward of the web-slinger’s big screen adventures since 2002, giving us three movies with Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, two with Andrew Garfield, and now Tom Holland has taken over the webs as Spidey’s swung over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yay!!!! But Sony has made it clear there’s no set plans to keep Spider-Man in the MCU after the two Avengers movies and the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. They’re also insistent on building a Spidey-centered interconnected movie universe of their own…starring his villains (?) in solo films. Don’t worry though, I’ve got this figured out.
The thing with Spider-Man is you just can’t build a traditional interconnected cinematic universe around him. Yes, he has one of the coolest Rogues Galleries around but you can’t have a half dozen movies starring bad guys (who your average film goer doesn’t really know) and then pull them all together in big “event movies” where they fight Spider-Man. I’m not certain that’s your plan Sony but it seems the logical progression of where you’re going. Anyway, here’s the thing. Trying to do an interconnected cinematic universe like Marvel is a game you’ll lose. Marvel changed the game in 2008 with Iron Man and created something new. Then they blew our collective minds in 2012 with the awe-inspiring spectacle that was every comic fan’s dream with The Avengers. Since then, every studio has been trying to play catch-up and do the same thing to rake in the cash the same way Marvel Studios and Disney have.
But Marvel’s invented and perfected that game. Look at DC and Warner Bros. Their attempts to do the same with their dour, awkward, clunky, and forced still growing DCEU are still faltering. They are trying to race to catch-up to Marvel by jumping into the team movie first and then spinning everyone off. Universal is trying to build an interconnected Monster Universe with The Mummy…and whatever movie they are going to have after it. Fox is looking to spin Deadpool, X-Force, and New Mutants movies out of their X-Men movies (even though they have yet to master two consecutive X-Men movies that connect fluidly to each other). The MCU worked because it was new, exciting, and well executed. Everyone else is being compared to Marvel because it’s Marvel’s game. Sony, you don’t have a wealth of heroes to draw from. Those weren’t the rights you bought nor the hand you were dealt.
What you do have is Spider-Man and Spider-Man gives you access to something no one else is doing right now…the Spider-Verse. Think about it. Seriously, just take one second to think about this. You have access to dozens of Spider-Man characters across alternate timelines allowing you to have exciting and intelligent writers and directors create movies with unique visuals, tones, stories and no worry about continuity. Then, whenever you feel like doing some sort of big crossover movie with everything you just do the dimension hopping thing. The whole “Spider-Verse” comic stoyline centered around a mysterious figure moving through the multiverse killing off each universe’s version of Spider-Man until all the Spideys teamed up to stop him. You could make that movie or any sort of inter-dimensional threat movie whenever you wanted. And in the interim you could have multiple successful independent (yet connected!) film series going. Bonus! Not only are you doing something Marvel isn’t but you’re also beating Marvel with gender and ethnically diverse superheroes in your movies too! Marvel’s (rightly) taken heat for still not having a female-led superhero film. You could show them up just like DC’s doing with Wonder Woman!
Obviously, to start, there’s Peter Parker. Heck, if you’d like, leave Tom Holland in the role. Hey! You can even leave his version of Spidey in the MCU so you can continue to print money with him hanging out with the Avengers or even (maybe?!) Daredevil. But Marvel doesn’t have a hand in any of your other Spider-Man properties so that’s cool for you. If you wanted (and I think this would be great) you could even create a cinematic version of Peter Parker in his late twenties, early thirties who’s established as Spider-Man. He could have all his villains already bouncing around (we know you want to do Venom and the Black Cat) and you can make that world whatever you want it to be.
From there we move to Miles Morales. He’s been around since 2011 and has become a classic in his own right. This lets you tell fascinating/unique stories too as his father, Jefferson, knows Miles is Spider-Man. The most recent issue, Spider-Man #15, was one of the most emotionally rich and moving stories I’ve ever read in a Spider-Man comic. You could be doing this at the movies!!! Plus, Miles is half black/half Latino so his story adds some desperately needed diversity to the cinematic superhero front. Also, who doesn’t want to see the Miles/Ganke bromance on the big screen??
Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Gwen has become a major hit in her own right too. In this universe it isn’t Peter who gets bitten by the radioactive spider and tragically loses his girlfriend Gwen but it’s the other way around. Given the fact that she plays in a band, you can have the punk rock aesthetic and a wicked soundtrack too if you’d like. Also she’d be facing a more realistic, grounded criminal element than Peter or Miles with their “themed crooks”. Plus, it couldn’t be easier for you to pass the Bechdel Test (having two female characters talk to each other about something other than boys) with this one. Yay for you!
Whether you wanted her in the Tom Holland universe or not, you can have Cindy Moon as Silk too! Bitten by the same radioactive spider Peter was, Cindy Moon struggled to control her powers and was hidden away in a bunker before showing up in Peter’s life and ultimately taking to superheroing herself. In addition to being Marvel’s first Asian-American superhero, a big part of her solo series story is searching for her parents. So there’s powerful family drama here too!
You have the possibility to venture into a sci-fi heavy, future setting with Miguel O’Hara – Spider-Man 2099. The 2099 comics were exploding when I was a kid in the 90’s and Spider-Man 2099 has come back to prominence in recent years. In the wake of Marvel’s recent (needless) crossover “Secret Wars,” Miguel has found himself trapped in the present. Take him in whatever direction you want! You could even create a really engaging futuristic dystopia setting for this one! Having the hooks grow right out of his fingers to climb with would be a brilliant visual too, just creepy enough to be kind of cool.
Besties with Captain Marvel, Jessica Drew (a.k.a. Spider-Woman) works as a private investigator with Ben Urich and the Porcupine. (For real.) So whether or not you wanted to tweak all of that or have her in the MCU too so she can hang with Brie Larson is totally up to you. But, a one-time Avenger herself, Jessica Drew gives us the unique perspective of a single mother dealing with superheroing. Also, you get to easily pass the Bechdel test again. As a P.I., Jessica now tries to avoid the big scale stuff the Avengers are always dealing with, so this naturally lets you explore smaller stories like Deadpool did.
Would you like a cartoon Spidey, totally for the kids? Or how about an uncomfortable, sassy, adult-driven cartoon a la The Family Guy or something like that? Well you’re in luck! You have Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham. Even as a kid I thought this dude was downright bizarre. He never felt as much like the Muppet Babies as I thought he should. But it could be hilarious or (if you were feeling particularly bold) you could make a really uncomfortable R-rated cartoon with the ol’ Spider-Ham.
On the R-rated note, I know what you’re thinking. “But Michael,” you’re wondering, “what about all the success Fox has had with their violent R-rated superhero flicks Deadpool and Logan? Isn’t there any way we can cash in on this too?” Of course! Your answer is the Spider-Man Noir version of Peter Parker! He dresses in black, cracks very few jokes, and loves to go in with guns blazing. And who else is doing the hardcore noir movies anymore?!? No one! Points for uniqueness across the board here.
Lastly I’ll mention Ben Reilly and/or Kane Parker as the Scarlet Spider. I tend to write a lot about how much I like the Scarlet Spider so, however you want to do this – clone, alternate reality version, magic double doppleganger, whatever – just make this happen. You could even do a hoodie-team-up movie where the Scarlet Spider and Spider-Gwen get together to knock some heads!
Anyway, that’s my two cents on the subject. At first I thought they would all make for great streaming series (and I still do). But, Sony, I know you like to think in terms of big screen movies. You are who you are! I don’t want to change you. So I tailored the idea a little bit and I think it can work. As opposed to trying to beat Marvel at their own game you can totally redefine what you can do with superheroes in a cinematic setting, recasting the mold for an interconnected universe. And, again, it lets each movie have a distinct feel and tone, unhampered by continuity BUT you can bring all the characters together (or any collection of them) anytime you’d like. You’re welcome. No pay back necessary. I just did it because I love Spider-Man.
P.S. Okay, so I’ll be leaving to chaperone a spring break school trip tomorrow and that means I’ll be away from the computer for over a week. That also means no new content for over a week. I know, I know…I’m sad too. However, on the off chance Sony Pictures doesn’t read my blog as regularly as I think they do, everyone’s welcome to share this with them. It gives you something to do while I’m gone! When you start to miss me, feel free to share this post. Or, you know, have fun with my back catalogue. Maybe you can find something great you’ve never read! Okay, now I’m just putting off packing…
Anyway, I’m off. Remember, as you don’t see new content – and as I’m not reading your new blog posts 😦 – I’m still missing everybody!!! In fact, I’m probably thinking of you now too! You know, I’m just also focused on making sure students are alive and having fun. I’ll be back in a bit. Don’t miss me too much and don’t have too much fun writing brilliant stuff without me!!