It’s pretty much impossible to leave a film set in the Marvel universe without having something to talk about, whether it’s a notable character, a plot development, or a storyline that you really enjoyed. Mostly, though, when you leave a superhero film, your focus isn’t on the present – it’s on the future. We want to know where this franchise is going. We want to know now. Thus, we speculate. And speculate and speculate and speculate…and sometimes we dissect just enough to keep us busy until more detailed intel comes out.
There’s always something to discuss about the end sequences and credit scenes, and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely been to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2. So, without further ado – and heeding the massive SPOILER ALERT below – let’s dig in.
An epic battle with Electro (Jamie Foxx)! And then a battle with Harry Osborn’s Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan)! The visuals in this film were super impressive, especially the final sequences of Electro’s apparent death. Oh, and speaking of death: R.I.P. Gwen Stacy. For real. Like, Uncle Ben real. None of this Nick Fury or Charles Xavier stuff.
Did we all know that Gwen was going to die? Probably. Definitely. Basically, we can assume that if you knew anything about the comics, you went in expecting the scene to happen. The surprise probably resonated more if you were a casual movie-goer. But if the repeated moments of Peter’s concern for Gwen’s safety didn’t tip us off, that particular plot point – like Bucky being The Winter Soldier – is not exactly a secret within the folds of the Marvel universe (hell, the story arc of 1973’s notable comic is aptly titled “The Night Gwen Stacy Died.”)
So while there may have been a question about if Gwen would die or not, the bigger question was if the writers, who were mum about certain storylines, would go through with it. Shock factor aside, Gwen’s death is considered to be one of Spider-Man’s defining moments and to not have it driving him through the rest of the franchise would feel like a cheat. In another sense, it’s what causes Mary-Jane and Peter to eventually relate and connect. Could this serve as the introduction of Mary-Jane Watson, and does that mean we should speculate that we’ll be getting MJ (or at least a glimpse of her) in Spider-Man 3?
It’s worth noting that the scene appeared almost exactly as it did in the comics (almost – in the comics, the scene takes place on the George Washington Bridge, with the Green Goblin throwing her off it.) In the film, the scene takes place within a clock tower. The iconic outfit is the same, though, as well as the events of the actual death. That includes Spidey’s botched attempt to save Gwen by catching her with his webbing, breaking not only her fall but her body as well.
All of this leads into the beginning of the final scenes of Spider-Man 2: Peter returning home depressed, empty, and guilt-ridden. He hangs up his Spidey suit for a really long time. He has a talk with Aunt May about how to move on from death. He visits Gwen’s grave almost obsessively. Like, really obsessively. Through all four seasons, obsessively. Until he watches Gwen’s graduation speech about living in the moment and treasuring life and, newly inspired, decides to ditch being depressed and suit back up.
The final moments also feature a scene with Harry, now in his own cell in Ravencroft, taking a call from The Gentleman otherwise known as Mr. Fiers (whom we all remember from his appearance at the end of the first film.) Harry is looking better – we can assume that the Goblin suit equalized his condition enough so that he could be functional – and he talks about putting together a team to beat Spider-Man. Important phrasing in this short scene: “I want to keep it small.” Without question, this is our introduction to the Sinister Six, as we then see The Gentleman start to peruse the goods in the special lab section of Oscorp (key among them: Doc Ock’s arms, Vulture’s wings, and the Rhino suit.) Harry suggests recruiting Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), the Russian thug that we saw Spider-Man chasing down in the beginning of the film. The conclusion of the film finds Spidey making a comeback in a stand-off against Sytsevich, who has now become Rhino.
The Marvel tradition of using the mid-credits to introduce or tease new plotlines for upcoming films is a staple; it’s basically a rule that you don’t leave a superhero film before the lights come up – and certainly not after the final scene has played. Sony seems to have carried on that practice. Except…
Wait, what? Who are these mutant people? Where’s my exclusive, super-cool teaser about film number three?! I thought I came to a Spider-Man film, not an X-Men film! Well, you did. Let’s back-up a bit: the mid-credits scene, previously explained, came about because Spidey director Marc Webb had an existing contract with Fox to direct another film. But after the success of the first Spidey in 2012, Webb was forced into negotiations, which put him in a bit of hot water with Fox. Eventually, Webb was allowed to go do the film under the condition that he would promote Fox’s X-Men essentially for free.
Thus, the mid-credits scene wasn’t even a teaser, but an actual scene from the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, set to be released May 23. The bit features Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, along with Havok (Lucas Till) and Toad (Evan Jonigkeit) breaking into a Vietnamese camp and attacking the forces of William Stryker (Josh Helman). It doesn’t really drop any big hints about the film, but it does its job just fine: it’s interesting, it’s fun, and it gives the Internet a chance to continue to talk about JLaw. Plus there’s a line about “Why didn’t Magneto come?” which adds a nice bit of exposition to an otherwise action-based scene.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT POST CREDITS SCENE? YOU ASK. WELL…
…there wasn’t one. The post credit scene has become an eagerly awaited treat in superhero films ever since Robert Downey Jr.’s random outtake during Avengers filming inspired a schwarma outing for the ages. Unlike the mid-credits scene, these moments tend to be lighter, not really adding much to the story (uh, Jane really likes to eat breakfast while waiting for a Norse God to return.) Sometimes, though, they do serve more of a solid purpose (see: Captain America 2 and the future of Bucky Barnes.) But there was no actual post credit scene in Spider-Man 2 to speak of. In fact, since our mid-credits tease was from a different film entirely, there was no real post credit scene at all. So the moral of the story is that we’re flying blind, led by our own speculation. Maybe that’s a good thing.
The Sinister Six. They’re coming, we’re getting them, but who they’ll be is still up for grabs. There’s a camp of people (read: me) who believe that Electro isn’t really dead, and that he’ll be resurrected in some sense. And seriously, I’m not convinced that Norman Osborn is dead, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if he returned in some capacity, ala Xavier, in Spidey 3. This is the Marvel universe, after all. No one really stays dead. (Unless you’re Uncle Ben. Or Gwen Stacy.)
But there’s been no formal announcement on that front aside from this little gem from Sony, which advised fans to “Shazam” the credit sequence featuring Alicia Keys’ “It’s On Again.” Screen captures tease photos of what looks like Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Ock, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio. Obviously, this should all be taken with a grain of salt. But we can at least assume that Venom is probably out of the mix, as Sony has confirmed that in their attempt to expand the Spider-Man universe, they’ll be giving him his own film. (In the Ultimates universe, Harry underwent a second transformation into Venom, but I doubt that will be the case here. So! Speculation on who would be a really good Venom? The floor is yours!)
In the meantime, we still have two more Spider-Man’s to go and as mentioned earlier, Gwen’s death will no doubt be a through line at least into the third movie if not the fourth as well. We should also be seeing the introduction of Mary-Jane (there were initial plans to bring her into this movie, but that changed) and let’s not forget the possibility of bringing Black Cat into the mix. Felicia Hardy’s introduction as Harry’s assistant suggests as much, and also suggests we could possibly be seeing a villainous take on the character. In the comics, Black Cat is a reformed thief who goes to the good side and helps Spider-Man fight crime. With the way she was set up and portrayed in Spider-Man 2, however, I could also see her as a bad guy on Harry’s side. Or maybe they’ll go both ways and she’ll get a redemption arc. Everyone in the Marvel universe loves redemption arcs!
Viewers, what did you think? Did Spider-Man 2 live up to its hype? Who do you think the Sinister Six should be? (Check out our wishlist here, courtesy of EW’s very own comic guru Darren Franich.) Or, be honest – you just want the next movie to be a musical where Andrew Garfield sings his own theme song as he fights evil, right? Right?