Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spider-Man Officially Joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

That sound you hear is practically every geek on Earth squealing (yes, squealing) with delight, for Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have finally come to an agreement that will allow Spider-Man to show up in future Avengers films.  Under the deal, Marvel will get to use Spider-Man in their Avengers' universe while also co-producing the new standalone Spidey films with Sony.   The real kicker that probably got Sony to sign the dotted line was that they will still finance, distribute, own, and still have final creative say-so on the Spider-Man solo adventures, even though they will have the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) braintrust helping them along to hopefully ensure better stories and a consistent tone and style that will allow Spidey to fit into the MCU.

Personally, I am over the moon about this.  I don't think there is a comic book fan alive that doesn't have some semblance of love for Spider-Man.  In terms of superheroes, Spider-Man is easily the most relatable.  He is like us with a job he hates, barely getting by or getting the girl, and yet unlike us he has those pesky super powers that often derail his personal life.  The idea of seeing Spidey making jokes alongside Iron Man and Captain America is just a fanboy's dream that is finally becoming a reality.  As a new report explains, Spidey will appear first in Captain America: Civil War before appearing in his first standalone film on July 28, 2017.  Considering Spidey plays such a huge role in the comic book Civil War storyline, that's not surprising.

While this announcement finally confirmed a lot of fans' desires, there are still a great many question marks.  Is Andrew Garfield still going to play Spider-Man, connecting these new movies in any way, shape, or form to The Amazing Spider-Man movies?  My guess is, if that were the case, Sony and Marvel would have said that in the initial press release.  Seeing as how the scuttlebutt was that Marvel was dissatisfied with the direction of Spider-Man on film, I think one of the caveats of the deal was that Marvel and Sony had to wipe the slate clean for Spider-Man and they are going to recast.  And yet word is that Sony is still developing their Spidey spin-off film Sinister Six, focusing on some of Spidey's most dastardly villains, but with the added benefit of probably no longer having to adhere to the continuity established in the Andrew Garfield movies.  So where does this leave us as fans?

If you look closely at the press release you'll realize that there is no mention of longtime Spidey producer, and former Marvel head honcho, Avi Arad.  It has long been rumored that there was some bad blood between Arad and the current regime at Marvel Studios and that Arad's departure from Spidey was one of the things that Marvel requested in the deal.  Considering Arad is not mentioned in any fashion, I have a feeling Marvel got their way (politics, I know).  Also, after stepping down as the head of Sony Pictures last week, Amy Pascal manages to kind of save a little bit of her legacy at the studio by ushering in this deal as her final act and staying on as the other producer beside Marvel's Kevin Feige.  As well, while some fans daydreamed about seeing the Ultimate Spider-Man from the comics, Miles Morales, the press release mentions Peter Parker too much for that to be the case (sorry fanboys wishing for Ultimate Spidey).  With this all now happening and the particulars kind of squared away, now begins the speculation.

As I said, if Andrew Garfield were a part of this new direction he would have probably been mentioned, therefore I think the films will start anew, not referencing The Amazing Spider-Man movies (though never, say never).  As well, given the mention of Peter Parker in the press release, this will be about Peter Parker and not Ben Reilly or Miles Morales (other people who have donned the costume in the comics).  So this more than likely means we will be seeing yet another reboot of Spider-Man on film, but Marvel has shown in the past that they don't need to redo origin stories in order to satisfy fans with the way they have continually rebooted the Hulk.

With a few passing mentions of him destroying Harlem and just alluding to his origin, Marvel has managed to acknowledge that all of the previous attempts at making the Hulk work on film might have still happened, but rather than trying to connect the stories they just have pushed on with the Hulk in the here and now.  I think that's what they'll do with Spidey.  I think they'll put him in a place, probably at odds with Mary Jane, still working at the Daily Bugle, and he'll already be Spider-Man with an established rogues gallery.  With that type of angle, all of the previous Spidey films could inform the audience as to how Peter got to this point in his life without having to be referenced or acknowledged, like they've done with the Hulk.  So with all this kind of sussed out, all that remains is the question of who should play Spider-Man.

This is a difficult part to recast, because both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire delivered performances that are equally beloved by fans.  The funny thing is, Garfield was a weak Peter Parker but a perfect Spider-Man, and Maguire was the opposite, being the ideal Peter Parker but just a good Spider-Man.  If Marvel and Sony can find a young, fresh face that we've never heard of to reconcile these two identities within this one character, I am all game, but if they feel they need a somewhat recognizable face I'd offer up either Miles Teller or Daniel Radcliffe, with the latter particularly showing his versatility since Harry Potter came to an end and the former having the baggage of playing Mr. Fantastic in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.  Time will tell, but I am sure we'll hear confirmations on a lot of these fronts coming soon.  For now, I am going to start my campaign to direct the new Spider-Man movie.  Hey, Marvel and Sony, look over here.  I know I have never done a feature length film like this before, but I am the right guy.  I promise.  Hey, I can dream, can't I?

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