Everything You Need to Know About Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man Universe…

amspiderintl2posterThe Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro is an impressive popcorn blockbuster. The action is mind-blowing, especially the fight scenes between Spidey and Jamie Foxx’s Dr. Manhattan Electro, and the swing choreography is nothing short of… amazing.

Acting-wise, this is a top-notch cast. Andrew Garfield is a much better suited to the lead role over Tobey Maguire. He can pull off the action sequences, and he is believably intelligent without being awkward.  He delivers one-liners with ease and it’s actually believable he could pull a girl like Gwen Stacy.

Speaking of which, Emma Stone is also a much better romantic lead than Kirsten Dunst. She’s funny and cool, and when the action starts to get heavy she does more than run frantically and scream. She’s the superhero girlfriend comic-fans want to see.

Moving on from Rhys Ifans’ forgettable Curt Connors/The Lizard, we have two main villains here. What Marc Webb does well is to provide back-stories without spending too much time with the characters. Jamie Foxx is amusing as the bumbling loner Max Dillon, who eventually becomes Electro.

Still, it’s the young and talented Dane DeHaan who is the most exciting addition here… that is until he becomes Green Goblin. As an actor, DeHaan is fascinating to watch. As a character, it’s unsure why they messed with the original origin story or why they brushed over how Harry Osborne became one of Spider-man’s greatest foes.

The biggest reason this film fails to make the same league as Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is because it spends too much time focussed on the adolescent relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Most of the time it feels like an episode of The OC, right down to the cheesy soundtrack and lame dialogue. When you think about it, Peter Parker is basically Seth Cohen.

Check out the trailer below:

Expanding The Amazing Spider-Man Universe (a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Did you ever wonder why they needed to reboot Sam Raimi/Tobey McGuire’s Spider-Man as quickly as they did?

The reason they rushed the new Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield version is because Sony Pictures only get to keep the film rights to the superhero if they release a new film every few years. Otherwise Marvel Studios reclaim the film rights to the character.

This is the same case with the X-Men franchise (hence the First Class prequel), and similarly The Fantastic Four (which is getting another reboot soon). There’s actually a cool infographic available that explains exactly where the Marvel character film rights lay. Click here to view.

This entire studio battle is also the reason Sony and Marc Webb have already begun filming third and fourth Spider-man films, as well as rumours of multiple spin-off films. Within this latest sequel, many seeds are planted for characters within the Spider-man universe. These ranged from very small hints to the film’s curious ending, which opens the door for the rumoured Sinister Six movie.

Below is a quick comic-book reference guide for those who want to know more – BEWARE, THEY MAY BE SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S POTENTIALLY COMING.

The Sinister Six is a band of super villains that come together to defeat Spider-Man. They’re kind of like the anti-Avengers. In the comics, the original line-up was formed by Dr. Octopus and includes Electro, Sandman (who appeared in Spider-man 3), Vulture (who flies with a body harness), Kraven the Hunter (superhuman speed and strength) and Mysterio (who uses special effects and illusions to trick Spider-man).

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It’s hinted at in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that Rhino, Vulture and Dr. Octopus  (see above for two of those) will be part of the new supergroup, which is to be led by Harry Osborne’s Green Goblin. It’s more than likely that Electro will be on the roster, so that only leaves one more spot remaining…

Felicity Jones plays a very minor role here as Harry Osborne’s secretary, Felecia Hardy. In the comics, Hardy becomes Black Cat, an expert burglar with superhuman sense of smell and night vision.

If the character sounds awfully familiar it’s because she’s basically a rip-off of DC’s Catwoman. The similarities are so similar in fact that Anne Hathaway, who played Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, was almost going to play Felecia Hardy in Sam Raimi’s proposed Spider-Man 4. Obviously that didn’t work out.

The other possibilities that shouldn’t be ignored are Chris Cooper returning as Norman Osborne and Rhys Ifans returning as The Lizard. There’s also the huge possibility that we’ll hear more about fan-favourites Venom and Carnage.

Finally, at the end of this film Harry Osborne has a visitor to his cell at Ravencroft Institute (for the criminally insane) who is not named or revealed. Referred to as “The Man in the Shadows” this character could be the ringmaster behind The Sinister Six or he could actually be a key member – such as Mysterio.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has a release date set for June 2016 so I guess we’ll find out then.