Do I still talk about how great “THE AVENGERS” was too much? Probably – but even I’d be doing it a lot less if the success of that particular film (and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) wasn’t hovering so much of current Hollywood business-dealing like an omnipresent specter. In the same way that “HARRY POTTER” sent everyone with money to spend in the movie business scrambling to lock down a kids/YA fantasy franchise of their own, the mad rush now is to set up multi-film/cross-genre “worldbuilding” movie brands – preferably using superheroes but not exclusively, since Universal has been making some noise about bringing back the Universal Monsters for a “seperate-films-followed-by-a-team-up” project of their own.
Other than Marvel/Disney, the guys in the best shape in this regard are Fox; who’re holding onto the comfortably expansive “X-MEN” franchise strong and hoping that second time will be the charm for “FANTASTIC FOUR.” Warner Bros is approximately one Martian Manhunter away from throwing up it’s hands and saying “Fuck it! “MAN OF STEEL 2” is now “JUSTICE LEAGUE 1.” And Sony? Poor Sony has only James Bond – whom they are obliged to treat gently – and Spider-Man… whom they are demonstrably content to ride hard, put away wet, pass around the yard and rent out to visiting foriegn business associates over the weekend.
The studio has already set up dates for three sequels to “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN,” one of which lands in just a few months. Meanwhile, they’ve invited five “superstar” writers – Alex Kurtzman (ew), Roberto Orci (eeeeeew), Jeff Pinker (eh), Drew Goddard (oh?) and Ed Solomon (didn’t know he was still working) – to work out a “universe” built around the extended Spider-Man mythos. Currently on the docket: A solo “VENOM” feature (because I guess it must still be 1995 somewhere…) and a villain-centric “SINISTER SIX” movie (soooo… will they not be teaming up in the main series? What are these other three movies about, then?) The interesting name is Goddard, since he’s also developing the “DAREDEVIL” project for Marvel’s “DEFENDERS” run on Netflix.
I imagine the only reason no one is saying “BLACK CAT” yet is solely because they haven’t bothered to write her into the movies yet, whereas Eddie “Venom” Brock is being namedropped in viral marketing already. After that, I look forward to seeing what kind of surefire masterpieces can be grown from fertile seeds like Man-Wolf, Rocket Racer, Prowler, Morbius: The Living Vampire (okay, that one could be good) or The Spider-Slingers. What a time to be alive.