As we approach the ten-year anniversary of Andrew Garfield's web-slinging debut in The Amazing Spider-Man, it's abundantly clear that the story of his era can be summed up in two simple words: missed opportunity.
As Spider-Man: No Way Home just reminded us, this guy is an, umm, amazing Spider-Man, a fact that has been drowned out over the years due to the messy, controversial way that his original tenure came to an end.
So with Garfield having a bit of a moment right now - and with renewed interest in him getting another Spider-Man movie - now is the perfect time to assess the failure of the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, particularly the announced (but then swiftly cancelled) third instalment, The Amazing Spider-Man 3. What really happened there?
Well, to borrow from that classic Spidey quote, Sony wielded great movie-making power, but they failed to treat it with the responsibility it deserved.
From an overly-confident studio to a couple of bizarre story ideas, let's chronicle the entire saga of The Amazing Spider-Man 3, kicking off with the series' origins - which, funnily enough, can be found in the aftermath of another failed Spidey franchise...
8. Maguire Out, Garfield In
The road to The Amazing Spider-Man 3 begins with the cancellation of Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4, which Sony pulled the plug on in early 2010.
That in itself is a complicated story, which we previously charted here (or in video form below!). The short version is that Raimi hit a creative wall, and rather than replacing him, Sony execs decided to reboot the entire franchise.
Raimi later explained "I couldn't get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to."
That reboot was soon titled The Amazing Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield officially signing on in July 2010, beating out the likes of Jamie Bell, Josh Hutcherson, Anton Yelchin, and even Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Interestingly - and even though you'd expect the opposite these days - Sony didn't rush into the film with a big plan for a cinematic universe, and hell, at the time, they didn't even announce a single sequel. At least, that's what the public was told - behind-the-scenes, it's safe to assume the wheels were turning.
Instead, a sequel wasn't officially announced until April 2012 - three months before the first film opened. As such, Sony didn't yet know how the world would react to Garfield's first outing, but they were clearly very confident!
Luckily then, that confidence paid off when The Amazing Spider-Man opened: it scored a solid 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and earned $757 million at the worldwide box-office, more-or-less in line with the grosses of the Raimi films. This reception affirmed Sony's decision to move forward with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which the first film's director, Marc Webb, agreed to helm in September 2012.
But Sony didn't just want one sequel - oh no. They wanted much, much more than that, which is where things started to go wrong for the franchise...