The Sony/Marvel deal dissolving might seem too depressing a subject matter for many fans to approach at the moment. After all, regardless of who you blame, the subject of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains a very sensitive topic. Many feel there is no hope for Spider-Man to return, while others see the entire chain of events as public negotiation on Sony and Disney's parts. Either way, many seem eager to write off Sony's plans for the franchise going forward without Marvel's assistance. To fans, Sony has failed to utilize the Spider-Man brand in any good way. After all, following the success of the first Spider-Man trilogy, the studio's reboot -- consisting of The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2 -- failed to make an impression due to Sony's executive meddling.
But Sony's Spider-Man films haven't necessarily all been a complete portrait of doom and gloom. In a worst-case scenario where no deal is reached between the two parties, Sony still has a chance to make a great Spider-Man film. Because, in many ways, they already have: Into the Spider-Verse.
The Good Sony Spider-Man Films
Sure, it's easy to accentuate the negative with Sony's Spider-Man history. There's Spider-Man 3, which is often seen as one of the worst superhero films of all time. And then there's The Amazing Spider-Man. While that film that has its fans, few of them seem to like its sequel, The Amazing-Spider Man 2. Still, in many respects, the good has far outweighed the bad.
Raimi's trilogy ended on a down note, but the first two films remain classics in the superhero genre for a very good reason: they're good films. It is easy to pick fault with them now due to some cheesy, silly lines and characters. Much of the first film's effects look rubbery and fake in 2019. However, what no one can deny is that the films broke ground in their day.
Furthermore, Sony has independently done better since the Marvel deal. While Venom received a (deserved) critical thrashing, audiences have been far kinder to the film. Even people who admit the film has a ton of problems generally seem to enjoy it for all its silly charm. However, while Venom is an ambiguous cult classic, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is arguably the greatest superhero film ever made. What Phil Lord and Christopher Miller created balanced tons of multiverse shenanigans, emotional character beats, existential discussions of worth, and some of the snazziest animation ever. Spider-Verse is so good it won an Oscar -- a feat very few superhero films can claim to have achieved.
Why Should Spider-Verse Calm Us Down?
Lord and Miller understand Spider-Man as a character. In fact, they understand every version of Spider-Man. While Tom Holland's Spider-Man has been well-established in the MCU, it's debatable whether just any other writer can take that character and continue the arc he has been set on.
Except for Lord and Miller, of course. The duo has been known to balance humor and heart outside of Spider-Verse, but when dealing with the Spider-Man characters, can probably take the plot in an unexpected, powerful new direction. And given where Spider-Man: Far From Home ended, these two could take the narrative somewhere new that can offer fans twists and turns unlike anything else they've ever seen.
These two could probably even figure out a way to bring Venom into the mix without it feeling unnatural. In fact, they could probably bring out the humorous and terrific elements of Venom in ways few other creatives could. Consider how horrific they made the Prowler in some scenes of Spider-Verse. That's a guy wearing a purple cape and mask. He doesn't exactly look threatening, yet they make him appear to be this unstoppable force.
Now imagine that tension applied to a character designed to evoke nightmares.
So Should Sony Hand the Keys to Lord and Miller?
Lord and Miller should probably not become architects of the live-action Spider-Man universe. They no doubt have their hands busy with Spider-Verse's sequels, which merit more attention anyhow. However, what Spider-Verse's success proves is that Sony, on occasion, can manage a successful Spider-Man production without meddling.
Indeed, the success of the MCU Spider-Man films and Spider-Verse should inform Sony execs of something very important: stay out of the director's way. Don't shove too much content into a single film, unless it all ties into the central concept in some way. Even Venom managed to prove Sony has begun to understand this.
While Venom is the start of its own cinematic universe -- which continues with Jared Leto's Morbius film -- Venom at no point repeats The Amazing Spider-Man 2's mistakes. It never teases twenty other spin-off films and every character serves a point in the narrative. More importantly, save for the tease at the end of the film, it is focused on telling its own self-contained story.
When Sony's post-2014 Spider-Man films have faults, they are not akin to the faults found in the pre-2014 films. Sony is a very different company now than it was when it kept failing.
But Sony Has Another Advantage
There is another advantage that Sony has, though, that puts it a few leagues above any other studio (outside of Marvel Studios) when producing Spider-Man films: the PlayStation 4 game.
Insomniac's Spider-Man for the PS4 has some of the best Spider-Man writing ever seen in any multi-media project. The narrative manages to incorporate tons of Spider-Man lore, characters, and locations, while still managing to offer drama, humor, and tension when required. Now that Sony owns Insomniac, perhaps they could recruit the writers from that game to spearhead a live-action Spider-Man? Or, at the very least, hire them as consultants.
But Will We Need to Worry?
The truth is this: there is a lot of evidence out there indicating that Sony and Disney will work out a deal. Disney, judging by how they presented Spider-Man front and center at its D23 Expo, clearly has plans for Spider-Man. They will figure out a way to make a deal with Sony to get what they want.
The purpose of this article isn't to argue that Spider-Man will never appear in the MCU again. It is simply to state that, should the worst happen, Sony can still make it work. It's very easy to dismiss Sony as a company for its failures. It's far harder to accept that Sony has changed a lot since making some of the worst superhero films of all time.