This year’s Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn’t have a ton in common with 2014’s less than stellar The Amazing Spider-Man 2, other than the titular wall-crawler and being the second movie in a series. Well, that, and the fact that Far From Home, like many a Spidey movie before it, promised more in its final few moments than the franchise could ever truly deliver.
Both Spider-sequels, after finishing fairly self-contained stories, used the last few moments to open up the world of the movie, their closing credits promising fan-favorite characters and new threats, only for both franchises to, almost immediately, get kneecapped behind the scenes.
With The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the end credits played on one of the final scenes of the movie, teasing the creation of the Sinister Six and promising fans a team-up of Vulture, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Kraven, Green Goblin and ... someone else. The tease wasn’t super clear, and, alas, the Sinister Six movie -- or any future Andrew Garfield-led sequels -- never came to fruition, so we may never know what was planned.
In fact, a whole world of Spider-films was being planned at the time, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s lackluster critical response, and what we now know were the early rumblings of a Marvel/Sony deal on the horizon, forced a franchise reboot and scrapped the whole thing. Dreams of seeing Paul Giamatti try to redeem his Rhino disappeared like so much smoke.
Far From Home, meanwhile, had two full end-credits scenes -- one involving the public exposure of Spider-Man’s identity, and the other the reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Maria Hill had been shapeshifting Skrulls the entire time, with the added surprise that the real Fury was in space, doing... space things.
From what we’ve been told, a third Spidey film from Jon Watts and Tom Holland is still happening, just without Marvel Studio’s help. So, it’s entirely possible for the movie to follow up on the first post-credits tease, as J. Jonah Jameson is a Sony-owned character. Spidey being forced into hiding would also be a good way to explain away the lack of any Avengers or other Marvel Studios-owned entanglements.
And, really, that Fury in space bit probably wasn’t going to be for Spider-Man 3: Another Home Pun anyway.
So obviously, then, it’s not a one-to-one comparison. Andrew Garfield’s sequel hopes were completely DOA, along with almost every other Spidey-adjacent film that was in development. Venom did eventually get released, albeit in a much different form.
Meanwhile, as stated above, the Tom Holland-starring Spider-films can still continue with the webhead’s public unmasking and the presence of perennial rival J.J.J., they just can’t ever follow up with that Skrull tease, which is significantly less damning than the collapse of an entire franchise.
Still, though, it’s certainly worth noting that, much like Peter Parker, the Spider-Man sequels can’t seem to catch a break.
In fact, when the Marvel/Sony split came to light, there were more than a few jokes made by fans about “the curse of the Spider-Man sequel.” And, honestly, it’s hard not to see what they were talking about.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released and almost immediately triggered a full reboot. Spider-Man: Far From Home was still in theaters when word got out that the franchise’s entire future was in flux, and all the “next Iron Man” foreshadowing in the film would never be fulfilled or even commented on again.
But “the curse” goes back even farther: While Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 was clearly the high point of the Tobey Maguire era of Spider-flicks, Spider-Man 3 was, uh, not. Because of Sony’s spinoff dreams, the studio forced Raimi’s hand and the movie was overstuffed with ideas and bloated it into a disco-dancing nightmare. Nevermind turning Venom’s first outing into the proverbial “turd in the wind.”
Cue another franchise going out with a whimper and not a bang.
Will we ever get a series of Spider-Man films that gets to be what it wants to be, and doesn’t fall apart behind the scenes? Only time will tell.
The contentious divorce of Sony and Marvel Studios might diminish the scope of the mid-credits scene, but Far From Home, at least, isn’t in quite as bad shape as the previous two franchise-enders -- and it isn’t quite as bad, period. This hiccup aside, the Tom Holland era might still get to run its natural course.