Spider-Man is a great character. I love him. I love his supporting cast. But can he and his small world meet an entire studio's tentpole needs? Can the Spiderverse become the annual backbone of Sony's slate? Probably not, but that won't stop them from trying.
According to Variety the studio plans to begin releasing a Spider-Man universe movie every single year, probably beginning in 2016 with The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The other films in the series will be Venom and The Sinister Six, which had already been announced but which weren't clearly parts of a cornerstone plan for the studio. The way that Amy Pascal, so-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, puts it, Spidey is their man. “We are expanding the ‘Spider-Man’ universe into ‘The Sinister Six’ and ‘Venom,’ so that we have ‘Spider-Man’ movies every year,” Pascal says.
But does that make sense? Not according to media analyst Harold Vogel, whose quote leads off the Variety piece: “It’s creative entropy, and I think there’s been too much of a reliance on ‘Spider-Man,’ ” he says. “They need some other things to build out.”
This feels like a poorly thought out reaction to Marvel's success. What Sony doesn't seem to understand is that the Marvel movies each feel different, that they each take place in slightly separated universes that allow for different audiences. The fantasy of Thor isn't your thing? Check out the scifi of iron Man. Want something more down-to-earth? Here's the Captain America series. Want huge spectacle? The Avengers has you covered. Looking for fun action? Guardians of the Galaxy hits this summer. Marvel, while making comic book movies, has created a diversity in their product. Sinister Six and especially Venom are just riffs on the Spider-Man movies - at least that's what they would seem to be, based on their comic pedigrees.
A Spider-Man "universe" movie a year - especially with two-thirds of them being villain movies - feels like a quick way to burn out a cash cow. And honestly, Spider-Man doesn't have a universe. He has a city.
Meanwhile, the Variety article confirms that Marc Webb is back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3; I assume he's coming back for 4 as well, since he says he sees The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as beginning a new trilogy.