Though The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t hit theaters for a few more weeks (or days, depending on which country you’re in), most of the talk surrounding the film has been in response to its already-announced sequels and spinoffs. Sony is aiming to make a cinematic universe around the friendly neighborhood web slinger, and since he’s the only hero that the studio owns the rights to, it looks like villain movies are the only way to go.
Recent reports have suggested that the Venom and Sinister Six films will arrive before The Amazing Spider-Man 4, and those two projects are arguably the most puzzling comic book adaptations in development. From a business standpoint, it makes sense that the studio would want to use as much of the Spidey universe as it can. But from a creative standpoint, making villain-centric films is a bit tricky.
Producer Matt Tolmach is well aware of the difficulties surrounding the adaptation of these properties, and the public perception surrounding them. However, he doesn’t seem phased by the criticisms, and assures us that Sony’s team is approaching the films carefully:
“If you look for example at Venom, I think knee-jerk people thing, ‘Venom! A villain!’ Really? Venom is a character who has this innate sense of goodness and justice, so there are lots of characters who can be a little bit of both. So, when you start talking about a Sinister Six movie, is it just going to be all bad guys? No. There’s complexity to all of them, and that’s part of the fun we’re having right now as we’re building it. Some characters are way worse – badder – than others. There’s a lot you can do. There are some guys who are redeemable, and some who are really horrible.”
In a separate interview with IGN, Tolmach was joined by fellow producer Avi Arad, and the pair talked about what kind of story a Sinister Six film could tell, saying:
Matt Tolmach: “There’s no such thing as just a villain. There are villains by virtue of choices that people make but they always begin as humans, as characters. As flawed people; as tragic people. You know great movies have been made about a bunch of bad guys who get together to do something… Yeah, I mean, there’s a huge tradition of it. Those are sometimes the greatest characters to watch. A bunch of broken people coming together for whatever reason.”
Avi Arad: “And everybody’s looking for redemption; they’re unforgiven. Would you see one of the Sinister Six starting to feel like that? Yes. And people love it, by the way. They love when a villain finds his way back because we’re all very forgiving.”
The second question on our minds, besides how the film will come together, is who will come together in the Sinister Six. The team of Spider-Man’s enemies has had a long history of shifting rosters, and though we can hazard guesses of who may appear, nothing’s clear at this point. As of right now, we can assume that the Lizard will be involved, given that he appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man. Green Goblin, Electro, and Rhino don’t seem like long shots, either. That makes four possible members, not counting the brief references to Doc Ock and Vulture that we’ve seen from TASM2’s trailers. Then there’s Venom, who will likely be introduced in TASM3. Could he be the “redeemable” member of the team, fitting with the anti-hero approach we’ve been hearing about?
The classic Sinister Six lineup consisted of Doc Ock, Electro, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, and Sandman. Tolmach recently claimed that “nothing is sacred,” and assured fans that “it’s going to be the best Six that you can imagine, but it’s going to make sense in the world that we’re building.” This was followed up by some more comments from Arad, who said:
“When you translate comic to film the word ‘classic’ means the first fifty issues. Because after that, we all made changes, changes that had to do with science-fiction turning into science. I think just the need to move this world forward. So, of course we’ll make adaptations about these guys and what was their motivations because many of them have multiple motivations. It depends, is it ultimate Spider-Man? Is it Spider-Man? Is it some three-piece issue that takes them to space? We have a bigger responsibility to represent the character of the villain as it was conceived, because that way it will survive the test of time. All the rest… that’s a movie. What an opportunity to make– can you imagine seeing Paul Giamatti in a leather suit? I think they would have killed us. They gave us a hard time with the Lizard.”
As for what will happen with Venom? Well, they’ve dropped some enticing hints that point to a character fans have been dying to see for years…