Friday, August 17, 2018

Film Friday: Sony, Please Don't Do A Cinematic Universe Of Spider-Man's Secondary Characters Without Spider-Man

Trouble Brewing
The start of something great, or a tipping-point into a terrible idea?
With the upcoming release of the hopefully-decent, "Venom," movie approaching, Sony has made it clear they have big plans for all kinds of movies featuring characters who are best known for their associations with Spider-Man...but these movies will mostly likely lack Spider-Man, and this seems as if it is a terrible idea. Seriously, the more I read the more horrifically stupid this sounds. To understand this upcoming possible future however, we need to understand our history of how it all came to this.

A Fast Review of the Past
"Captain America: Civil War," featured the first shared-rights appearance of Spider-Man.
Let's begin a quick-ish refresher: Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 2000's and sold the film rights to various popular characters. Fox snatched-up the Fantastic Four as well as the X-Men (but Marvel's now-owner Disney is getting those back) and Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man and anything associated with his character. From this we got some solid, "Spider-Man," movies featuring Tobey Mcguire as the Web-slinger, and then those, "Amazing Spider-Man," films which the less we talk about, the better. Eventually, Sony and Marvel came to an agreement where Spider-Man could appear in Marvel films and Marvel characters would in turn appear in his films, with each corporate entity retaining the rights to those characters but being able to bathe in the incredible amount of money this deal made.

Here's the thing though, this kind of ties-up Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time and only he (and anyone who appears in his movies that specifically involve him and the Marvel folk) can really be in a Spider-Man related movie by Sony. This means unless we were to get, say, Venom, Morbius, Jackpot, Black Cat, or anyone else in his specific movies Sony can't mention him in any other flick. I mean, these characters can have their own movie, but he can't be in those right now, or else they de-facto are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe too--which ain't part of the deal. I know this sounds confusing, but what I'm basically saying is Sony has all these Spider-Man friends and foes they might like to make movies with, but can't because Spider-Man--whose relationship to them is their defining feature--is tangled-up with Marvel/Disney. Unless of course, Sony made movies with these characters without having Spider-Man actually involved, but that would be pure stupidity and...oh no.

Presenting: Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters...Yes, Really
Just some  examples of what we can apparently expect to be hitting movie-screens in future.
Yes, that is the real name as an article in Variety discusses. Apparently Sony is so confident that characters such as Silk or Nightwatch can stand alone without Spider-Man--despite the fact their entire existence is inexorably linked to Spider-Man--that a whole slate of Spider-Man-less films featuring his secondary characters are planned in the Spidey-less-Sony-verse (I'm gonna trademark that, don't rip me off, Bleedingcool). Now, I am not mocking this idea due to the fact the characters are less-known. Back in 2007 only hardcore comic-book fans could tell you much of anything about Iron Man before the film came out a year later. There is more to this than that.

See, it is perfectly reasonable to take a character people don't know and capitalize on its potential to make a great flick. What isn't reasonable however is to completely get rid of the very thing that defines a character (e.g. how all these folk know Spider-Man). That would be like, "Iron Man," but he never gets injured and then dedicates himself to stopping violence, instead he just keeps selling weapons (that might make a decent, "What-if," comic, but not a movie). To have all these people who basically have as their defining trait--"I know and love/hate/have worked with Spider-Man," be ignored just seems odd and makes me wonder how the characters will even work in a movie. I guess we will see relatively soon with the upcoming, "Venom," flick setting a bit of a tone for what the future holds in Sony's so-called cinematic Universe. I'm not sure how many times I need to say that this whole, "We gotta make a cinematic universe!" idea  studios have is an issue, as while it has worked great for Marvel, that doesn't mean it will always work for everyone--or is even a good idea to try in the first place. It is going to happen again though, apparently, and I sincerely hope Sony knows what it is doing. I honestly hope whatever movies they do end-up making are good and not a total mess, but I'm clearly a bit pessimistic.

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