The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is doing just fine for itself: it made close to $100 million at the box office this weekend, it's collecting a fine haul worldwide even while it's not scaling the box office heights of some of its forbears. But this is a film that's expected to launch a whole universe of movies for Sony/Columbia, who are looking to mimic Marvel's success by releasing a film a year based around the Spider-Man universe. News has already broken of a Drew Goddard-helmed Sinister Six movie that could come out even before the next Amazing Spider-Man. The studio is also at work lining up a Venom spinoff. But did the film do a good enough job making that all clear?
The biggest problem with Amazing Spider-Man 2 is just how much detail it's trying to stuff into one movie. In that way, it recalls Iron Man 2, which functioned not only as an action-packed sequel but as a way for Marvel to really kick off its cinematic universe, and ended up forgetting to be a movie. But Marvel's approach was more methodical: it green-lit two films a year, many years in advance, with the notion that it was building towards the big crossover of The Avengers.
The Amazing-Spider Man 2 has no such centerpiece project to aim for. Sony and producer Avi Arad have not laid out their goals quite as clearly, but it sounds like we'd be bouncing from a main Spidey movie to one where he's a supporting player, or perhaps not involved at all. It's hard to imagine what a Sinister Six movie would look like without Spider-Man, but it's also somewhat hard to imagine Andrew Garfield managing to fit into all these movies. You could insert a Spider-Man who never removes his mask into these movies, freeing Garfield from anything outside of a voice commitment, but would that be enough to keep audiences interested?