Sinister Six

This is excellent. Sony announced late last night via their viral ElectroArrives website that they — not to be outdone by Warners — are also looking to copy Marvel’s recipe for bank truck deliveries. Only they get to do it with a Marvel property.

The interesting twist is that they want to do it with villains instead of heroes. Up first are Venom and The Sinister Six, swirling around in the ether even as ASM3 and ASM4 are also being talked about. However, they aren’t exactly doing it piecemeal; Drew Goddard, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Pinker and Ed Solomon are all working together to create a cohesive universe out of a comic book world that doesn’t easily lend itself to it. If those names make you smile while shivering, you’re having the right response. For more conflicting feelings, Kurtzman is directing Venom from his own script co-written with Orci and Pinker (with probably zero chance they’ll call on this guy for creative input) while Goddard will be writing and directing The Sinister Six.

Everything else being equal, the villain-as-star angle is an interesting gamble, although it’s doubtful that any production that large would stick to the evil nature of the characters instead of running full sprint into Likability territory. Otherwise we’re supposed to either root for them to destroy the world, or they’ll forever be anchored to Spider-Man (thus negating the true “universe” nature of what they’re claiming they want to do). These villains have to stand on their own, and that’s going to be a herculean challenge.

But maybe the funniest part about all of this is that they want to create an Avengers-like franchise spinning off from a single character who was once an Avenger. Hell, even the current Spider-Man said it would be cool to join Thor and Pals in a movie. Because it would.

And that’s where the sad reality kicks in. It would have been shocking to see Sony give up their grip on this Marvel character by, say, selling him back to Marvel, but this omnibus plan sees us smothered in Sony-style Spidey well into the next decade. Meaning that there’s little chance Marvel will gain any kind of control over their creation anytime soon.

But to be fair, as much as the common chorus screams to give every superhero (DC included) to Marvel, Sony was one of the originators of the current superhero craze. They bet big on Peter Parker and won, and now they’re doubling down. Yes, they are stridently copying a formula that has been proven successful exactly once, and yes they have some blockbuster names (for better and worse) involved, but there’s at least a kernel of intrigue to the way they’re going about it.

They also have no other choice. How else could they expand the “universe” of one hero besides focusing on his villains? It’s not so much that they’ve done a bang-up job of creating a new concept, so much as they earn points for saying yes to a bizarre idea in the search for more money. Slap your forehead at the obviousness (because I definitely am), but the very fact that there’s no real road map for Bad Guy Tentpoles brings with it the tantalizing possibility for unique storytelling and/or abject, monumental failure.

At the very least, we have 5 years of casting rumors, nitpicking small production details and trailer announcements to look forward to.

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