Even while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still spinning a world-spanning web of promotion and marketing, hardcore fans are already eagerly awaiting the next step in Sony's expansion of the Spider-Man movie verse.
In Amazing Spider-Man 2 we will see Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) coming into his own as Spider-Man, until new and more dangerous super-powered foes like Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) start to emerge from the labs of Oscorp, a corporation which may hold the secret to the fate of Peter's missing parents. Beyond this chapter, we know that Oscorp will give rise to new threats like the villain gang The Sinister Six - and most likely Venom as well - following in the tradition of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book continuity.
But before the big villain spinoffs, we will get Amazing Spider-Man 3 - and apparently Sony is pretty happy with what they've seen from Amazing Spider-Man 2, because the studio is re-hiring franchise director Marc Webb to helm the third installment - which will hit theaters in June 2016.
Variety reported the hiring of Webb for ASM3 as part of a column on Sony's need for more franchise tentpoles (Spider-Man is pretty much their only big cash-cow at the moment). As stated above, the re-hire indicates that the studio is confident enough in Webb's sequel to continue with his vision for a third time. Not only that, but it also marks a distinctly different frame of mind for Webb, who had the following to say to us about directing Amazing Spider-Man 2 when we interviewed him back in 2012, just prior to the release of the first film:
I have loved making this movie - it's a blast - but I just don't know; it's like asking a woman who's just given birth, 'Do you want to get pregnant again?' I just have to nurse the baby and sell it. Then I gotta take a little time, go to a beach, have some coffee, relax, and see what comes. But I really just want to focus on finishing this.
Indeed, there was a brief moment of question hanging in the air before Webb ultimately committed to directing Amazing Spider-Man 2, leaving some fans worrying that the demands (or constrictions) of a major superhero universe could've been either too overwhelming or not palatable to the director's indie background. Now, with this early word that Webb is coming back for Amazing Spider-Man 3, it seems to suggest that he has found his comfort zone as a major franchise director.
But will fans see it that way?
The first Amazing Spider-Man got away (key words) with $750 million worldwide, largely thanks to padding like the (unfulfilled) promise of an "untold story," upgraded special effects, and a premium 3D ticket price. With Amazing Spider-Man 2 the moviegoing crowd is now more savvy, the film no longer has the benefit of being an unknown quantity (people already know if they like this new version or not), and 3D is now usually considered a criminal gimmick unless proven innocent by word of mouth. In short: the sell is harder this time.
Of course, this time around the cast and director are more seasoned and confident in the brand; the writing team has been fleshed-out with heavy-hitters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci; the goals for the story and movie universe are much loftier, and the effects look like they've only improved with time. Add to that the novelty of yet another "summer of superheroes" lineup to inspire people to see each of the Marvel superhero films on the docket, and ASM2 could end up doing quite well for itself.
As for Amazing Spider-Man 3: we know that Chris Cooper's Norman Osborn could have a much bigger presence (as a potential big bad version of Ultimate Green Goblin?) and given what trailers and images have revealed about the second film, we could see the introduction of The Sinister Six, as well. After the third film both Webb and franchise star Andrew Garfield will have essentially fulfilled their obligations to get the Spidey Movieverse off the ground before spinoffs take over, so that could easily be the end of the line for one or both of them - though more likely Webb than Garfield.
I think I speak for the majority of fans when I say: let's just hope that each film in this series vastly improves upon the one that preceded it, no matter who is at the helm.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be in theaters on May 2nd, 2014. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on June 10th, 2016.