News of Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been known for about a month now. Initially I was going to post a blog as soon as the news broke, but as the hours went on more and more news broke. So I decided to wait. And wait, and sadly wait far too long. Eventually I deleted what I had written down and then out of nowhere while at work, I had a sudden urge to write. So the following are just a handful of things I wanted to say about Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. My thoughts, and hopefully if you agree (or don’t) I’d love to hear down below in the comments. A quick warning of potential SPOILERS BELOW.
Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe
I have been a big fan of Spider-Man since before I can remember. One of my earliest memories was my dad bringing home a comic book with Spider-Man’s first battle with Doctor Octopus. I remember it vividly because Spider-Man’s costume was all different. It had large web wings under the arms and Peter Parker wore glasses. Up until that point, my main exposure was the 60’s cartoon and this comic was very different from that. Also, it had Johnny Storm in it, and I found that to be really cool. Anyway, my point is, I’ve been a massive Spider-Man fan since that very first comic book and have been waiting many years since Spider-Man 3 for the character to be done with care and attention. Sam Raimi gave us the best Spider-Man with the second film, and after the not so great third film, SONY decided to reboot. Oh man, what a terrible idea. It is because of those two Amazing Spider-Man films that Marvel Studios has managed to grab the character back, but not own, for use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You see, in the 1990’s, Marvel Comics wasn’t doing so well financially and decided to sell off the film rights to their major characters. It helped them out but since that point, different companies own the film rights to very popular characters. FOX owns X-Men and Fantastic Four. SONY owns Spider-Man and Marvel Studios which is owned by DISNEY, owns the rest. A few characters are shared by FOX and Marvel, but apart from that no one can use the other. While filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, SONY decided that Marvel Studios had the right idea with a shared film universe and tried it themselves. Amazing Spider-Man 3, Sinister Six, Venom and Carnage films were put into production as well as an all women Spider-Man team movie and a rumoured Aunt May film. I kid you not. Amazing Spider-Man 2 was adding characters left, right and centre to the film with the combined filming, it was rumoured (and I still believe) part 2 and 3 were being filmed back to back. Mary Jane had scenes being played by Shailene Woodley, and the mystery behind Peter’s parents would be resolved. Still more characters were cast and even more villains added. People were getting worried, but had faith. The costume was tweaked to be faithful to the comics (the first one was crap) and everything was done to make the fans happy. When posters were revealed to show three villains, SONY went into damage control trying to distance themselves from Spider-Man 3 bloated villain issue and promised that wouldn’t be the case here. There would be two major villains and a third smaller appearance (how right they were). Trailers upon trailers were released showing most of the film (including the final shot) and fans were getting happy. Heck, even I was and I didn’t enjoy the first one at all.
Then the film was released and by golly, it wasn’t well received. Fans were split down the centre. Some liked it and others hated it. For the record, I couldn’t stand it and I have my reasons. Anyway, it was released to lower than expected numbers and SONY was in trouble. Amazing Spider-Man 3 was pushed back and the Venom and Carnage films delayed until…never. Damage control again from SONY pictures and then thanks to the hacking scandal last year, it was revealed that Marvel Studios made SONY many offers to buy back the rights to Spider-Man even going so far as to offer billions of dollars. SONY rejected. The other offer was a 60/40% split. Marvel Studios and SONY would have a 60/40% share of the character with Marvel Studios retaining the character for their films and allow SONY to gain profit when he was used. Again, SONY rejected that offer.
Now you may be asking, ‘why are you telling us all this?’ and my answer is because I can and its on my mind. The internet went crazy over these leaked emails and there was so much positivity toward Marvel getting Spider-Man back that I almost felt sorry for SONY. Almost. Eventually the fans going nuts must’ve paid off, because it was revealed that Spider-Man would be officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a 2016 Marvel Studios film with his own stand alone film in 2017. Casting wouldn’t be revealed, but it was said that Spider-Man would be revealed in a Marvel film first, and a SONY film second. He would be back in high school and focus on a younger Peter Parker. SONY would still produce the films, but Marvel’s Kevin Feige would help produce the Spider-Man movie as the character would now to part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All the released information was making me go bonkers and the more I thought about it, the less I could contain myself…and then I paused for a moment. What if Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe stuffs it all up. Now what a second, just hear me out please. I’m excited, VERY excited to see Spider-Man join the MCU. He is my favourite superhero of all time, and I have grown up with him and almost consider him a personal hero and inspiration. WWSMD is something I live by and often try my best just to help others, because at the end of the day, we may not be superheroes, but everyone can be a hero to someone. So when I say I’m excited to see him swing along side the Avengers, believe me I am. I’m just worried about the introduction of the character in the already existing MCU. You see in 2016, which is when Spider-Man makes his MCU appearance there are only two films being released. Captain America: Civil War and the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange. I doubt he will be showing up in Doctor Strange unless of course Marvel decides to use the latest tweak to the origin story and amp up the mystical side of his powers. I mean it could work especially with some extra tweaking, and would make the film more appealing to the average Joe who knows nothing about Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch aside. Still, I doubt it.
We have to work on the assumption that Spider-Man will be appearing first in Captain America: Civil War a movie that will include, in major roles, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther in his introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (unless he shows up in Age of Ultron like I hope). Then you have Black Widow, Nick Fury and (possibly) Hawkeye also in the film. So at the end of the day, thats six characters sharing screen time. Lets not forget the villains of which we have Crossbones and another (possibly) Baron Zemo. That is a butt load of characters but I have complete faith that Marvel Studios can and will handle them easily. Mainly because we have already seen 80% of them by the time Captain America: Civil War comes around, so introductions won’t be needed. On a quick side note, I wrote a massive speculation post on Captain America: Civil War found here. It was written before any Spider-Man rumours. Worth a read I think. However, when it comes to Spider-Man its a tough choice. Most audience members will already know the character going into (whichever) film, but we won’t know THIS Spider-Man. You have to remember that Marvel and SONY are teaming up and reboot the character. High school aged, so I’m guessing 15 years old and at this point in the continuity, he couldn’t have been Spider-Man for long, or even at all. Just not possible. But if the character is present in the movie, then chances are it may follow closer to the comic book Civil War story line. If it does though, then it contradicts what Kevin Feige said last year. Captain America: Civil War isn’t about secret identities at all. Most MCU superheroes have no secret identities at all. Tony Stark held a press conference. Steve Rogers is a public war hero. Thor is a God and doesn’t appear to have a public identity. Bruce Banner is maybe the only character of the four with a reason to hide ‘the other guy’. Black Widow is a code name and the same for Hawkeye. Hell, at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Widow released Hydra and SHIELD’s secrets onto the internet. So everyone knows everything. My point is, Spider-Man revealing his identity as the internet seems to be saying, in Captain America: Civil War is just pointless. The Civil War isn’t about secret identities, but instead about the power these heroes wield, and who they answer too. With so much property damage caused by these heroes, who is responsible? That is what the film will be about, according to all reports. Joss Whedon has mentioned the seeds to Civil War will be shown first in Age of Ultron, so I highly doubt Spider-Man will play a big role in the film.
But lets flip this on its head. Lets say Kevin Feige had two Captain America: Civil War scripts ready to film. One with and the other without Spider-Man in it. It still wouldn’t work. In the comic book storyline of Civil War, Spider-Man was used as the avatar for the reading audience. We saw the events through his eyes and changed along with him. At this point in the comics, Peter had been Spider-Man for 10 years and his secret identity was a major part of the character. During the Civil War story, Peter unmasked in front of the world and was pro-resitration. He sided with Iron Man and everything changed because of it. The reason the reveal had so much impact in the comics is because we grow up with Spider-Man. We had 40 years worth of character and knew the impact it would have on his life. So image if that happened only weeks after Peter Parker became Spider-Man? Let’s say he has been Spider-Man for a few weeks, swinging around New York city fighting petty criminals and a major villain too. Then he comes forward and reveals his identity in front of the cameras and thats it. The impact would be so little that it would almost be laughable. No one, especially me would care. I know that I have been reading him in comics for 20 years, but in the movie, it just wouldn’t work. With Spider-Man joining the MCU, it seems most people have forgotten all this. Everyone is of the opinion that Spider-Man will show up during Civil War, reveal his identity to the public and hell will open up. Sorry, but no. What I find truly saddening though is how Black Panther was to be introduced and (hopefully) going to be the avatar for the audience in Captain America: Civil War, which would’ve eventually gone into his own film a year later. Now, his character appears to have been pushed aside because Spider-Man is free for Marvel Studios to use. Even his film has had its released shifted (I think). And it’s sad, because this would’ve been the first black superhero in modern films (Blade also) to really buck the stereotype. I am hoping that if Spider-Man is revealed in Captain America: Civil War its as just a character who sees what superheroes can do, and becomes influenced to make a difference. In my head, I have a basic idea of how I’d love the story to pan out if his origin happens, I’d love it if Tony Stark has another Stark expo, a live experiment goes wrong and high school kid Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider. And throughout the film, he may start out as a freak on TV, with people thinking it’s like a magic act and him earning some money (Criss Angel type), but the events of Civil War between Captain America and Iron Man convince him that earning money from his gifts isn’t the right thing. Throw in Uncle Ben dying (or save that for his own film in 2017) and ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and you have a faithful introduction to the character which audience members can experience the film through. Don’t bother trying to reveal his identity, just keep it hidden. It is part of his character, so lets keep it that way. Still have Black Panther in there as the public figure we can root for. Maybe see him side with Tony at first, and then change over to Captain America’s side. So many different ways Marvel Studios can handle Captain America: Civil War, and until we get trailers, and the release of the film itself, we just won’t know. It’s always fun to speculate on rumours, and I guess thats what my entire reason for this was. Still, I am really worried that Spider-Man’s introduction could throw the universe Marvel Studios has spent years setting up, into a mess because they can now use him. And as much as I will love seeing Spider-Man standing tall beside the Avengers, I’m worried. The character needs time to grow and needs to be treated with respect by SONY, as Marvel Studios has done for each of the characters they have introduced so far. Well for those that have stay onboard to read the entire post, I thank you. Let me know in the comments your thoughts, or hit me up on twitter @truthfulnerd.