Breaking Down Sony’s Villainous SPIDER-MAN Spin-Offs VENOM and THE SINISTER SIX

by     Posted 1 year, 7 days ago

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A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal hinted at expanding the Spider-Man universe, and I’ve been saying for months that the company’s superhero strategy rests on supervillains since they only have one superhero, Spider-Man (creating a superhero from scratch is apparently verboten).  Their only option is to dig into Spidey’s vast rogues gallery, and that’s exactly what they’re going to do.  Last night, Sony outlined how they plan to compete with Disney/Marvel, Warner Bros/DC Comics, and 20th Century Fox (X-Men and Fantastic Four).

Hit the jump for more details on the studio’s plan.

amazing-spider-man-sequels-venom-sinister-six-imageFirst, Sony re-iterated that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinker would return to handle the script for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 with the hope of bringing back director Marc Webb.  The studio is presumably pleased with what they’ve seen from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so they’re bringing back its writers.  Sony also has the benefit of tacking “From the writers of Transformers and Star Trek” to trailers should the studio choose to do so (technically true although Pinker isn’t credited with those movies; he has a heavy TV background with Fringe, Lost, and Alias).  Whether Webb returns or not, the studio has already mapped out a fall production date for a June 10, 2016 release date.

Even if Webb doesn’t return to direct the third installment, he’s still part of a “brain trust” that includes Kurtzman, Orci, and Pinker, writers Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), and producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad.  Their job is “to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.”  In short, the spin-offs have to look like they’re in the same universe so the vibe you get from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be consistent.  If you don’t like the feel of the Spider-Man universe after the upcoming sequel, you’re going to be in for a heap of disappointment.

Part of expanding the universe will be Kurtzman, Orci, and Solomon handling Venom with Kurtzman directing.  This is great because I couldn’t care less about Venom.  He’s a boring character whose purpose is to define Spider-Man.  He’s an ugly, unhinged representation of both Spidey and Peter Parker, and his weakness is loud noises.  If you’ve seen People Like Us, you know that even with complete reign over story and direction, Kurtzman and Orci have nothing to offer.

venom-movie-imageThe only interesting part of the spin-off plan is The Sinister Six, and that’s because I have faith in Goddard.  He’s the only one attached to write the movie, and he also might  direct.  Granted, we don’t know what villains will comprise The Sinister Six, but at least Goddard has demonstrated an intelligent grasp of genre.  Venom feels like pandering (if you’re going to do a single-character spinoff, why not someone like Black Cat?  Oh right, she’s a girl.  BOOOOOO women) but The Sinister Six could be a breakdown of the superhero genre like The Cabin in the Woods was a breakdown of the horror genre.

But ultimately, there’s not a lot of diversity here.  Yes, it’s more, but that’s the point Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros. are missing.  Quantity is much easier than quality.  They look at The Avengers and see a bunch of superheroes.  That’s why you stuff Batman and Wonder Woman into the Man of Steel sequel because giving Superman another solo adventure isn’t enough.  And I’m looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it’s also being sold on more mutants, although the main plot just looks like the X-Men: First Class crew plus Wolverine, and I’m fine with that.  Of course, that’s still not enough, so Fox recruited Simon Kinberg to try and meld X-Men and The Fantastic Four.

the-avengers-age-of-ultronThe Avengers: Age of Ultron will have more characters, but that’s because the previous films laid the foundation for everybody else.  Every main character in The Avengers was introduced earlier in Phase One.  That was a clearly defined plan, and the plan allowed for diversity and careful build-up.

And perhaps Sony is now laying out a plan beyond “more super-powered characters from comic books”.  Perhaps The Amazing Spider-Man 3 exists to help set up Venom and The Sinister Six, and those movies will tie back to The Amazing Spider-Man 4.  It’s nice to be hopeful, but let’s not ignore the financial reality.  Fanboys want to see the characters they like in comics on the big screen.  And disturbingly, I think they may like the build-up more than the final product.  They want to argue over every single piece of casting.  They want to see every single set photo.  They count down to trailers.  And as a movie site, we’re absolutely culpable in this teaser culture.  We’ve made the build-up more important than the pay-off.

I hope Sony’s plan works.  I really do.  I don’t like going to bad movies.  I like being pleasantly surprised.  Maybe The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 4, Venom, and The Sinister Six will all be great films.  But right now, back in the boring present where all we can do is speculate, it’s just looks like a plan to keep up with Marvel, and that’s not enough.

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  • Pingback: Alex Kurtzman Directing VENOM Spinoff Movie and Drew Goddard Writing and Directing THE SINISTER SIX | Collider

  • Doug_101

    Spot on, Matt. I’ve yet to see a great Spider-Man film from start to finish. The Raimi films all had elements I enjoyed, but he never really closed the deal for me. ASM was just Spider-Man 1 with The Lizard behaving like The Green Goblin. The new one looks better, but I’m reserving judgment. They should totally look into spinning off Spidey’s heroic allies like, as you mention, Black Cat. The Sinister Six is intriguing, but will the movie work when a super team designed to kill Spider-Man doesn’t have Spider-Man to fight in its spinoff? Also, Kurtzman and Orci do nothing to inspire any confidence. Hoping this all works out for the best, but it could be a huge train wreck.

    • mattinacan

      just give me Mr Sinister already and cast Jason Issacs, boom my ass will be in the seat opening night

      • sunshine

        totally different companies and franchise. sister is owned by fox and is primarily an x men villain, so what exactly are you talking about?

      • mattinacan

        Sinister has crossed over into Spider-man comics a handful of times. You see, Fox’s right specifically say X-men, Fantastic Four and all related villains and characters. Sony’s rights specifically say Spider-man, Ghost Rider and all related characters and villains. ‘All related characters and villains’ is where it gets a bit murky. This murkiness is why Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are appearing in Avengers 2 as well as Days Of Future’s Past even though they are Magneto’s children. So it is within the realm of possibility that Sony could use Sinister. That’s what I am talking about bitch.

  • Julio Navas

    ¨This is great because I couldn’t care less about Venom. He’s a boring character whose purpose is to define Spider-Man. He’s an ugly, unhinged representation of both Spidey and Peter Parker, and his weakness is loud noises.¨

    Matt Goldberg, you are an idiot. I´m not bashing you for your opinion, I´m doing it for the way you write your opinions.

    • Dmula

      I was just about to quote that also,is this guy smoking rocks?

    • Dmula

      I was just about to quote that also,is this guy smoking rocks?

    • mattinacan

      i disagree with his assessment of Venom, but completely agree that Kurtzman & Orci are terrible and have nothing to offer.

    • Agent777

      Venom is a boring character, even in the comics. He is simply a roid-raged douche. He looks cool, and that’s about it. Venom is the perfect villain for people who have never read a Spider-Man comic in their lives.

      • Julio Navas

        Carnage and Shocker are my favorite villains.

      • Venom

        Are you insane? Reading Spidey comics over the years has made me quite the Venom fan. Are you sure you’re reading Spider-Man?

  • Kevin

    If they stick with Eddie Brock as Venom, I agree. Flash Thompson as Agent Venom? Now that would cool.

    • eternalozzie

      Stupid crap like that is why I stopped reading comics.

      • Christopher Harper

        Actually, as someone who does still read comics and does read Agent Venom, and therefore has the right to judge it based off it’s own merits and not some silly idea of what characters should be, but instead how well done a story it, I have to point out that Agent Venom is incredibly good, and is probably the best thing to come out of the Spidey line of comics in ages. It would make a great movie and I sincerely hope that’s what they do with the Venom movie.

      • Venom

        Agent Venom is so dang legitimate.

  • Pat

    Haha I hate Matt so much. It is getting old that collider uses him just create drama. Hell, I can’t stand him but I still read the article. Brock isn’t that bad, he has had some interesting arcs in the 90′s. Flash has been awesome as agent venom. Matt hates Venom because everyone else likes him, way to be hipster.

  • Frank

    I was a bit thrown-off by the title: I thought this article was going to explain to the uninformed who these characters are (kind of like their recent articles about the Marvel netflix shows) instead of explaining things we already know about Goldberg’s feminist views and hatred of all things Orci and Kurtzman.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      A) I have no idea how these characters will be interpreted and neither do you. B) Wikipedia.com

      • Frank

        Collider wrote similar articles in the immediate past, and based on the title of the article, I expected the same type of content. I didn’t expect your fellow staff to know how characters would be interpreted, and I could have just gone to wikipedia to find out who the fuck Jessica Jones was, but I didn’t. I sure as shit will now, though.

      • louis louie lemur lemonburger

        hahahah YES. Frank, you NAILED it.

    • Guest

      How is he feminist, he wants a Black Cat movie – he was being sarcastic

  • TopNotchAwesome

    Marvel does so well because they care (mostly) about their characters so they attempt to swing for the fences each time. Not all of them will be home runs but they are doing much better than any other company. There are likely many at Warners, Fox, Sony etc that DO care about the superhero properties but it comes down to dollars vs quality.

    Webb is having some fun with his take, that’s cool, but to build a whole universe based on it is silly. Warners was right not to build off of Nolan’s Batman for the same reason.

  • Chodeberg

    This is exactly “the breakdown” I’ve come to expect from you, Matt. Hope writing this article didn’t take away from building more lego sets that your Mom sent you for the holidays.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      Nope, I know how to balance my time, Mr. Chodeberg. Thanks for keeping up with me on Twitter, by the way. Really tells me you don’t care what I think.

      • Satchmocoltrane

        Hahahahaha Chodeberg. I’m going to start following that guy on Twitter – I guarantee his opinions will be better thought out then yours Goldberg.

      • Strong Enough

        eat a dick

      • Louis Louie Lemur Lemonburger

        “Thanks for keeping up with me on Twitter, by the way. Really tells me you don’t care what I think.”

        lol Goldberg finally reveals his hate-loving ego to the fans. Just remember Goldberg, no one TRULY cares what you think. You’re just really good at making people hate you for a few minutes out of their day. Definitely a better talent than having legitimate writing skills!

    • mattinacan

      oh you just got burned by the Goldberg

  • Kaiser117

    I’m hoping VENOM lands sometime in 2017 and SINISTER SIX actually is SPIDER-MAN 4 and will have that prime summer opening of 2018. That would make more sense to me.

    As for the article, WE GET IT, Matt. You dislike many of the ideas this new press release has revelead. You are obviously entitled to your opinion and entitled to express that opinion, but do it with some class and respect toward your readers, please.

    Would have loved more a more informative recap of Venom and Sinister Six, btw, not an opinion on what’s wrong with Hollywood. We could go on and on about that, but it’s just depressing. I’m with you on the feminism stuff, where are all the female superhero movies? And when did franchise building become more important than story telling? Try: The Beginning of Movie Studio History.

    Still love Collider, still coming back for more. You guys are e best in the biz, in my opinion.

    • ska7triumph

      There’s a whole other post that breaks down the Sony plan without commentary. Goldberg is the lead “commentarian” here.

    • ska7triumph

      There’s a whole other post that breaks down the Sony plan without commentary. Goldberg is the lead “commentarian” here.

  • mr_teaspoon

    The takeaway here is that the future of Spider-Man movies for the next long while is going to be extremely shitty. Yeah a bunch of movies where Orci and Kurtzmann have more control, this is going to be great.

    By the way, I don’t think the non-existence of a Black Cat movie has anything to do with gender. Can’t blame any studio for not wanting their first spinoff to be about a non-powered Catwoman-ish character.

  • mr_teaspoon

    The takeaway here is that the future of Spider-Man movies for the next long while is going to be extremely shitty. Yeah a bunch of movies where Orci and Kurtzmann have more control, this is going to be great.

    By the way, I don’t think the non-existence of a Black Cat movie has anything to do with gender. Can’t blame any studio for not wanting their first spinoff to be about a non-powered Catwoman-ish character.

    • Kaiser117

      It would kinda feel like a major rip off to general movie audiences…

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  • yupyup

    such bias smfh all you did was throw dirt.

  • yupyup

    such bias smfh all you did was throw dirt.

  • Davis

    So you don’t like Venom but you Black Cat? The Catwoman rip off? People don’t want to see a back cat spin off because she’s boring but i get it you have to say someone controversial so idiots like me will comment on your article plus anything popular you hate.

  • Davis

    So you don’t like Venom but you Black Cat? The Catwoman rip off? People don’t want to see a back cat spin off because she’s boring but i get it you have to say someone controversial so idiots like me will comment on your article plus anything popular you hate.

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    I’m excited for the Venom spin-off. I think Goldberg is still upset w Kurtzman and Orci for ruining his version of Star Trek and now holds it against them. I actually enjoy their work, when in the right director’s hands, so will be glad to see Kurtzman direct the feature. I think Sony is smart to do this and am glad to see a whole universe set to Spider-Man, remember this was Sony’s plan after Spiderman 3 w Venom so it’s really not following Marvel Studios blue prints.

    • ska7triumph

      Which work of O & K (or K&O Paper Products, their company) did you see work in the right director’s hands? I can only think of the first STAR TREK, and that only revved up the franchise with less thoughtful sci-fi.

      Sure they executive produce the Transformers Prime animations (which are very good) but don’t write the scripts.

      With all that TV experience, they also wrote the SLEEPY HOLLOW pilot so I give them that but (again) they don’t (can’t) write all the scripts nor can they go batshit crazy with this Spidey-verse like they do with that show.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        I thought the 1st Transformers films, along w Star Trek, Fringe, Alias and Sleepy Hollow were all done well. Their solution to rebooting Star Trek was amazing and shows their talent as most people were stuck w where to take the dying franchise (keep w ST:NG or go another direction). I also see that not everything that is put on paper will translate well onto the screen if the right person behind the camera doesn’t deliver (Cowboys vs. Aliens, Transformer: Rise of the Fallen, Legend of Zorro). I think as long as they have the right people in their “Think Group” and get people who can give them insightful knowledge regarding the source material then they will do an excellent job. I think we’ll have a better idea once TASM 2 comes out as to what type of universe they are trying to create. I’ll hold out judgement until then and just hope for the best until such time.

    • ska7triumph

      Which work of O & K (or K&O Paper Products, their company) did you see work in the right director’s hands? I can only think of the first STAR TREK, and that only revved up the franchise with less thoughtful sci-fi.

      Sure they executive produce the Transformers Prime animations (which are very good) but don’t write the scripts.

      With all that TV experience, they also wrote the SLEEPY HOLLOW pilot so I give them that but (again) they don’t (can’t) write all the scripts nor can they go batshit crazy with this Spidey-verse like they do with that show.

    • mattinacan

      they are awful

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    I’m excited for the Venom spin-off. I think Goldberg is still upset w Kurtzman and Orci for ruining his version of Star Trek and now holds it against them. I actually enjoy their work, when in the right director’s hands, so will be glad to see Kurtzman direct the feature. I think Sony is smart to do this and am glad to see a whole universe set to Spider-Man, remember this was Sony’s plan after Spiderman 3 w Venom so it’s really not following Marvel Studios blue prints.

  • mattinacan

    if they made a Venom movie where he played an anti hero battling Carnage, i would eat that shit up – but they gotta get a real writers first, not Kurtzman & Orci.

    • ItsNotaSchooner

      YESSSS. This is what I’m talking about!!! Venom’s gotta take down his offspring Carnage. Cletus Cassidy as the crazy loon that he is would be awesome!!

      • mattinacan

        How about Robert Carlyle as Cletus Kasady

      • mattinacan

        How about Robert Carlyle as Cletus Kasady

      • Lex Walker

        I think Jackie Earle Haley would be interesting.

      • mattinacan

        nice – i was also thinking Vincent Cassel

      • hockablah

        he’s already played a psycho in a couple forms already.

      • ItsNotaSchooner

        Robert Knepper!!! Boom!!!!

  • ItsNotaSchooner

    First off, once again, Matt you write the worst pieces on here.

    Secondly, the coolest thing about Venom is that this might very well be a way we get to see Carnage on the big screen. Just imagine that crazy loon in a movie!!

  • TheDarkNut

    Venom is a poor choice for a standalone film. The character only works as a counter to Peter Parker when presented as Eddie Brock. However we already saw that done and if I’m not mistaken fanboys hated it. Now I concede that Raimi could have developed the Parker/Brock feud better over the series but he had no intention of including the character at all. So with us nearly two films in already and no sign of Eddie Brock we are left in familiar territory. I know the ultimate version is more in line with this “It all leads to Oscorp” theme but the ultimate version is inferior to the 616 one by all counts.
    Sure Sony has to keep making SpiderMan films to keep the rights and the money coming in so naturally villain themed films are their only real choice. Sinister Six could be the deconstruction of the genre that I think will be needed very soon, but Venom alone?..I feel a stumbling on the horizon.
    Just to point out why:…Venom, Wolverine,Deadpool,Punisher and Ghost Rider. All dark/anti heroes that rose to popularity in the 80′s and 90′s. All have been done already in movies and none of them to fans satisfaction. Why? because those characters are representant of a particular time and era and do not translate to the masses,not at this point in time anyway. Even non anti heroes like Green Hornet and Lone Ranger suffer this same burden.

  • grapes9h5

    Im right there with you Matt. Typical studios, totally being surface and “not getting it.”

  • sunshine

    this is so stupid. you’re going to build a shared universe around psychotic murderers and hope to have the same kind of success that marvel has had? stupid and will fail, horribly. sony has about as much of a clue as fox.

    • sunshine

      i dig venom though, still don’t know if he can hold his own film with these dick bags running things.

  • Satchmocoltrane

    Eat dicks Goldberg. Multiple. Like a bag of them. It’s fine to not be a Venom fan but to describe him as only there to define Spider man, are you a complete hack? Read some of the new Venom or the Remender run or anything to do with spider island, anti-venom, etc… I feel like you write like a douche because it’s a fair representation of yourself.

  • Venom

    You don’t know Venom very well, dawg.

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    That’s not how you break down stuff !!!!
    Wtf!!!

  • Fried Rice Tv

    Sony could be innovative with the venom movie. In that we tell the story from Eddie’s perspective making spider-man the villain in eddie’s mind! so Spider-man isn’t the main star of the venom just the villain!

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  • mattinacan

    wtf is wrong with you

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