Sony just pulled what may be the worst move in movie history, shutting out Disney and Marvel from the Spider-Man franchise for the foreseeable future. While the two studios might kiss and make up well before the next massive Avengers and Spider-Man adventures, I can’t help but remind fans that Sony’s Spider-Man ruined Endgame, so maybe the Avengers 5 movie we’re all waiting for would better off without Peter Parker.
Sony probably thinks it can make Spider-Man movies without Marvel and Disney, and specifically, without Kevin Feige, seemingly forgetting that it’s not Sony’s Spider-Man story-telling that turned Far From Home into its biggest Spider-Man flick to date. As much as Tom Holland and Jon Watts contributed to making what’s easily the best Spider-Man hero so far, it’s all thanks to Feige’s extended Marvel Cinematic Universe that Spider-Man gets to shine and attract all those people to theaters.
Take all the MCU hot sauce away from Sony’s Spider-Man, and you end up with a generic film you’ll forget by the time the next Spider-Man actor rolls along. And by the way, Far From Home is the only Spider-Man film to have grossed more than $1 billion at the box office. The last two MCU Spider-Man films account for nearly $2 billion, a third of Sony’s Spider-Man gross in the past 20 years.
Of course, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man also helps the MCU, and the superhero is a crucial element of the plot for the most recent Avengers movies. There’s no denying that. But that’s only because of Feige and the massive MCU project he’s been developing in the past 10 years. It’s all those intricate connections between these films and characters, that make Avengers, and the new Spider-Man films, so much fun to watch.
Sony also probably forgot how much it milked the MCU to sell these Spider-Man films to audiences, from the moment the character was introduced with the help of the Captain America: Civil War blockbuster, and how Sony’s actions and marketing decisions ended up hurting Endgame.
It was Sony that was first to drop a massive clue about what happens in Endgame. A seemingly innocent comment from Amy Pascal around the time of the Spider-Man: Homecoming launch told audiences that Spider-Man 2 picks up a few minutes after Avengers 4 ends. At the time, we didn’t care much about it, given that it all happened before Infinity War came out. But after Spider-Man turned to dust in that movie, the detail resurfaced time and time again, confirming to MCU fans that Spider-Man and all the other people who were snapped away by Thanos would be resurrected. As much as Marvel insisted that the actions in Infinity War were not reversible, we knew that wasn’t true.
If that wasn’t enough, Sony kicked off Far From Home marketing well before Endgame hit theaters, showing us not one, but three characters from the movie that were turned to dust in Infinity War — that’s Peter, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill.
According to some reports, the decision to launch Far From Home so close to Endgame caused some friction between Marvel and Sony. All the secrecy surrounding Endgame was spoiled by Far From Home trailers, as we mentioned. While not everybody who follows the MCU has to be aware of what a Sony exec said about Far From Home years ago, many people pay attention to trailers. And when you see Peter, Nick, and Maria alive and well, it definitely ruins your Endgame expectations. What makes Endgame great is that massive Infinity War cliffhanger, which only works because we’ve got all those MCU films building up to it.
Finally, there’s the Far From Home plot that has a few massive issues when you look at the bigger picture. By itself, the Homecoming sequel is a great experience, and you’ll have fun watching the movie, especially if you’re a Spider-Man fan. But when you take a step back to analyze everything that happened against the larger MCU backdrop, you realize that the film has a few annoying continuity issues that could have easily been avoided. Sony isn’t entirely to blame, as Feige did produce Far From Home and Marvel was certainly involved with the film. But it goes to show that problems did exist between Sony and its partners if the Far From Home writers weren’t given access to the Endgame general plot until late in the game. Can you blame Marvel for not wanting to share key Avengers details with Sony?
Going into the Phase 4 of the MCU, which doesn’t feature any Avengers or Spider-Man titles, Marvel has all the time in the world to chart a new course that can work without any spiderwebs in it, and without having to worry about what Sony might or might not do with Spider-Man down the line. By the time we do get to the next Avengers story, we’ll probably have so many new intertwining standalone stories that it won’t matter if Spider-Man is in the mix or not. And not having Sony potentially spoil any Avengers 5 secrets along the way might be another advantage, as much as it could hurt to lose a superhero like Spider-Man.
With all these things in mind, I think that Avengers and any other similar MCU movies can easily survive and thrive without Spider-Man, even though the superhero was supposed to be one of the leaders of the new generation. Marvel made us fall in love with superheroes that we barely knew, and forget all about the usual Supermen, Batmen, and Spider-Men who preceded them. All of that worked because it was the same team that managed all these films, devising a coherent long-term plan for the MCU, one that only included Spider-Man much later down the line, well after we were hooked on MCU action.
The next Avengers film is rumored for Phase 5 or 6, with Marvel supposedly working on a massive Avengers vs. X-Men crossover movie that could be almost as epic as Endgame.