Welcome to another week of Manic Movie Magic, where we talk about horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and (as of late) comic movies. Last week provided us with some interesting news from the Sony-Marvel tug of war that is the ownership of Spider-Man. A truce was finally struck between the two, where the iconic web slinger can appear in the highly beloved and blockbuster destroying Marvel movies. But this is a good thing, or is Spider-Man not the miracle catch we think he is?
A lot of it comes down to what version of Spider-Man we’re going to be getting. Many people are done with the Peter Parker incarnation of the character, mostly because Peter’s arc is just not that interesting. Sure, there have been some interesting plot twists with the character, like making a deal with Mephisto (Marvel’s version of the Devil), dealing with clones of himself, gaining and losing allies left and right, but in the end there’s very little to Peter himself.
He’s a teenaged nerd who gets bitten when a mutated spider crawls down, and then Peter crawls over everyone’s walls and he’s swinging all over town (thank you, Weird Al), beating up bad guys left and right because it’s the right thing to do. It’s all one giant metaphor for adolescence and the eventual maturation into adulthood, which is the big problem. That process has a finite end, and so once he plays out that growth, something has to give, and so the cycle starts all over again.
What I am trying to say is that Peter doesn’t really change very much. He follows his journey to growing up, protect his loved ones from his secret identity and trying to just make it through one more day as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man until he finally reaches adulthood. Do they really want to tell that same story for a third time? Even if it is just for one movie, they’ll have to give him some sort of story to explain why he’s there and what his story currently is, which will just the same crap where he’s hiding his secret identity from Aunt May and being smart-ass but insecure teenager.
If they decide to not bring Andrew Garfield along for the ride (which is very unlikely), Miles Morales would make for the most interesting Spider-Man. Picking up the mantle of the Spider-Man as a reluctant hero, helping the police who are known to target teens like him, actually having more black superheroes than just Falcon are just a few reasons why it would work well. But while Marvel hasn’t been afraid to get a bit political, Sony doesn’t seem apt to try and imbue the new web-slinger with any issues as complicated as police brutality against people of color. So, yes, most likely we will be getting Peter Parker…or if they want to throw a real wrench in it, one of his clones. That’ll piss the die-hard fans off.
The bigger problem is that this isn’t a total victory for Marvel. Sony still holds the rights to the character and have only really decided to play ball because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 performed abysmally, not helped by how terrible The Amazing Spider-Man was to begin with. This also means that Sony dictates when and where Spider-Man gets to be used in the MCU. So while he’s probably going to show up for Avengers: Infinity War, there is no guarantee he will ever make an appearance in any other Marvel film, and he’s definitely not going to his own stand-alone as part of the MCU canon.
Sony may also have some creative control left with the character, meaning they might have a say in terms of casting decision and input into the storylines. With less creative control, Marvel can’t guarantee the character will be any good in the film and if the battles over plot and character get too contentious, Marvel might stop trying to include him all together.
While this is excellent news in the short term, let’s not be too quick to start labeling this a victory for Marvel. There’s still a very long way to go before Spider-Man makes his official debut with The Avengers, and a lot can happen in production hell, so prepare for moths of rumors, in-fighting, and casting debates.
Can we please just have that Deadpool movie now?