If I see a superhero film, my first instinct is to wonder what I would have done if I was in charge. And then I consider what I would do if hired to write the sequel. So here would be my pitch for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
It fits the assumption that the mystery of Peter Parker’s parents and Oscorp is a trilogy that concludes in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Even if Sony hadn’t confirmed that this was how the film was structured, it seems like a lot of material for one sequel, and it might be stretching the narrative to make that the overall arc of four or more films. I also suspect that Sony would want Venom to be the villain as soon as possible in order to kick off a potential franchise later. Even if Sony were completely indifferent on the matter, it fits the overall arc well enough.
A significant source of material for the story would be Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s take on Venom from their sixth arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, discussed earlier as the potential basis for a sequel.
The ideal setting for the film seems to be the summer after Peter and Gwen graduate High School. There’s nothing about the pitch which requires an academic setting. And the graduation would give an excuse to bring back Stan Lee’s librarian, retiring about sixty years of service to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a comic book writer.
While looking for more information about his parents’ death, Peter Parker comes across Eddie Brock, a young Daily Bugle reporter. Brock’s parents were scientists who worked with the Parkers, and were killed in the same accident.
Peter uses his connection with Brock to sell photographs to Editor Joe Robertson. Robbie’s in charge while the legendary publisher J. Jonah Jameson is heavily involved in a deal in the West Coast. It seems almost blasphemous to delay Jonah’s introduction to this movie-verse, but he’s such a strong personality that it could be too much for a film that would be introducing several other characters.
One exception would be if Brock were fired for unethical practices during an investigation into the Osborns. Perhaps he tapped their phones or something. In that case, Jonah could be introduced when he comes to resolve any lawsuit and makes it clear while yelling loud enough that people in the next office building can hear that Eddie Brock will no longer be working at the Bugle.
In addition to Eddie Brock, Peter’s social circle would expand a bit. Flash Thompson is now one of his friends, since we have to set him up for the Venom series. Peter is also acquainted with Harry Osborn, son of the reclusive Norman Osborn. Gwen met him during her internship for Oscorp.
Gwen’s family is moving to another state after her father’s death, so she needs a roommate in New York City. Before Peter can volunteer, Aunt May preemptively vetoes the idea. But she recommends Mary Jane Watson, the niece of neighbor. The poor girl has just moved to the city after her father was arrested for embezzlement. Of course, Mary Jane is not the girl Peter expected. This will be the Mary Jane of the Lee/ Romita comics.
Gwen doesn’t care for her as much at first. Eventually, when Spider-Man is needed, Mary Jane makes it clear that she knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. She saw him sneaking out of his house a few months earlier. At that point, Gwen and MJ’s apartment may essentially become Spider-Man’s base of operation.
At some point, Flash Thompson is inspired to follow Spider-Man’s example and join the military. So Venom might later crash his going away party.
Towards the end of the film, Mary Jane and Harry might start dating. Though there will be strong suggestions that MJ has the hots for Peter.
Peter quickly learns that Brock has inherited samples of something their parents were working on. It’s strange organic matter that he kept in cold storage and it was meant to be a cure for cancer. Spider-Man breaks into the lab to investigate the material. An accident occurs, and he is exposed to it. This transforms him into the Alien Costume Spider-Man. That would likely be the Act One break.
The new suit gives Spider-Man incredible powers. He has a night of fun, beating the holy hell out of criminals. He pays Gwen a visit, although she’s far more suspicious about the suit. They’re interrupted by a report about a robbery. Spider-Man goes into action, but he goes beserk upon discovering that someone’s been killed in a way that was similar to how Uncle Ben was shot.
While chasing the killer, he briefly transforms into Venom. He nearly eats the other guy. At this point, Spider-Man realizes that the suit is nastier than he expected. It’s alive, and it’s evil.
He tries to get rid of the suit, but it survives. The suit finds Eddie Brock. It bonds with him, and transforms him into Venom. This would be the midpoint of the film.
The main villain would be a Venom who is allowed to spend more time tormenting Peter Parker than the Venom of Spider-Man 3 did. He’s the nightmare supervillain who has Spider-Man’s powers and knows his secret identity. He uses his abilities to continue his investigation into the dealings at Oscorp, except he’s willing to go further than Spidey. He may break into Connors’s cell to interrogate Connors, a process which transforms Connors back into the Lizard, and makes him less likely to talk than ever.
Venom comes into conflict with Spider-Man, when he abducts Harry Osborn looking for answers. I don’t know if this Venom will have reason to hate Peter Parker yet. He may be somewhat of a bad influence on the budding superhero, thinking that Spider-Man’s just not willing to do what’s necessary and making the hero consider that there may actually be lines worth crossing.
Although one problem with Spider-Man 3 was that it had too many villains, this film probably needs another bad guy, which gives Spider-Man someone to fight in the first half of the film. It also ensures that a film that’s going to have some similarities to Spider-Man 3 will at least have one villain the audience hasn’t seen before.
The Vulture would be one possibility, combining Roger Stern’s take on the character’s origin with Mendell Stromm from Amazing Spider-Man #37. This Adrian Toomes would be an inventor cheated by Norman Osborn, who uses his inventions as a supervillain. This would bring him into conflict with Harry Osborn, which might pit him against Spider-Man.
The Vulture could be defeated in the first half of the film. When Eddie Brock gets the powers of Venom, he might break Adrian Toomes out of prison in the second act climax. That would give Spidey two bad guys to face. To go with the revenge theme, the Vulture would be nastier than Brock, demonstrating to Peter that there are lines that should never be crossed and possibly shocking even Venom. He might try to kill Gwen on the assumption that she’s Harry Osborn’s girlfriend.
In the next film, Osborn might implement the Vulture’s technology for the Green Goblin’s weapons.
Another potential co-villain would be the Scorpion, although I don’t think there’s enough room for him and the Vulture in this movie. It could be established that the mystery man in Connors’s cell was Mac Gargan, an agent of Norman Osborn. He has been the guinea pig for the Oz experiments, which have given him strange abilities. He might be a cross between the villain from the comics and the Ultimate Scorpion who just fought Miles Morales, as a slightly more realistic take on the character. Instead of having an actual tail, he might just have a chain that he would use against the hero.
A slight problem is that there would be two villains somewhat similar to Spider-Man in the same movie. But it also means that at least one of the major unresolved mysteries from the first Amazing Spider-Man would be tied up in this film. And the Scorpion can fit an arc with the Ultimate Eddie Brock.
Mac Gargan would investigate Spider-Man, which could lead to an early fight between the two. He could also manipulate Eddie Brock to find out how much Brock knows about Norman Osborn, and to find out more about Peter Parker. He might pretend to be a source for a hit piece Brock is writing about Osborn.
There could be a final battle between Brock, Spider-Man and Gargan. As Brock is beaten, he transfers the suit to Gargan, to show how much he now hates Spider-Man. That might be the Act Two Climax, as the Venom suit is now in the hands of someone who was more dangerous than Brock to begin with.
The Man in the Cell
With the Vulture narrative, there probably wouldn’t be a battle between Spider-Man and the man from Connors’ cell. But it still makes sense to use the end of the film to reveal the identity of that guy, so audiences have a chance to be surprised and there’s more for people to talk about with The Amazing Spider-Man 3. It would be a word of mouth cliffhanger, with either the Chameleon or Electro fitting into the larger narrative. The identity could be revealed with a simple display of their power.
The epilogue sequence would set up both a Venom franchise and The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The government has the Venom symbiote in custody. Rajit Ratha will advise them on how to use it, now that he has been given permission to incorporate the suit into a cure for Norman Osborn’s condition.