The Not-So-Amazing Spider-Man 2
The reasons why we never got The Amazing Spider-Man 3 are many, but perhaps the primary factor, as it always seems to be in Hollywood, was money.
Arriving five years after the end of the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi era of Spider-Man movies, which was capped by 2007’s critically divisive Spider-Man 3 earning a healthy $895 million worldwide, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man introduced Garfield as Peter Parker, retold the origin story yet again and managed to haul in a very respectable $758 million at the box office–not as much as the Maguire movies, but still profitable and seen as a win considering it was a full-fledged reboot of the franchise.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was supposed to build on that, with Garfield established in the role and a slate of new villains designed to begin building out what Sony Pictures (then, as now, the rights-holders to Spider-Man and associated characters) hoped would become a Spider-Man Cinematic Universe–even if it was based around one superhero (Spidey) and a whole slew of supervillains.
But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell prey to the greedy kind of Hollywood thinking that prefers shared universes to spring up instantly instead of letting them slowly take root and grow. It’s why The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is overstuffed with villains (Electro, New Goblin, Rhino), tangled up in plotlines, and how it could still find room to jam one of the most iconic moments in comic book history (the death of Gwen Stacy, played here by Emma Stone) into one film. It also deliberately introduced characters and story beats only to leave them dangling as sequel bait. The movie was subsequently dismissed as a mess by most critics and even some audience members. It earned both the series’ lowest Rotten Tomatoes score (52 percent) and its smallest box office ($709 million).
Now, let’s be clear: $709 million isn’t chump change, and the film still turned a profit. But it barely crossed $200 million in North America–a big, red, flashing warning sign for a movie and franchise of this size. Plus the overall box office of the series was headed in the wrong direction. Spider-Man was in trouble. Before this turn of events, the studio assumed success was already in the bag, and Sony had announced The Amazing Spider-Man 3 would release on June 10, 2016, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 would follow on May 4, 2018.
What Was The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Sinister Six Supposed to Be?
At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a depressed Peter Parker, despondent over the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of Harry Osborn/New Goblin (Dane DeHaan), quits being Spider-Man. Meanwhile, ensconced in prison, Harry puts plans in motion to start a new team of villains, beginning with Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti).
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