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So it has come to this. Sony, humbled by the wreck that was Amazing Spider-Man 2, has decided that its in everyone’s best interest to let Spidey join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Awesome! Right? I mean, isn’t this is what we’ve been waiting for? Spider-Man alongside Captain America! Thor! Not only that, but it’ll be a Spider-Man done right. What could be better?
I don’t know. I’m cautiously excited, but I wouldn’t say I’m completely sold. There a few things I just haven’t been able to get over. A few nagging doubts stuck in my craw. Let me break it down for you.
So one of the best strengths (and arguably one of its weaknesses) is that the MCU is, at least to some degree, planned out a ways in advance. We know that Infinity War and Inhumans are on the way. Sure, the complete details are yet to be decided, but there’s a framework there. A blueprint.
Spider-Man wasn’t apart of this plan. Or, if he was, they did an amazing (ha!) job of hiding it. As soon as Spider-Man’s inclusion was announced, Marvel had to move back a bunch of dates to accommodate his own movie in Phase Two. That’s merely the tip of the iceberg.
How they tie into each other now has to be tweaked and tweaked carefully. When every movie is built on the success of the others there can be no misstep. If Agents of SHIELD has to tie into Inhumans it now has to find a way to create some more filler to meet it. If Civil War ties into Doctor Strange, they now have to find a way to stick Spider-Man in there too.
Which brings up another point. According to the deal, Spider-Man has to appear in an MCU movie before a movie of his own. Which, if we’re going by release dates, would make Captain America: Civil War the likely candidate. While there’s plenty of time for them to work through it in preproduction, that’s a potentially big change to make only a year or two away. Sure, they could just feature Peter Parker for a brief bit, or show Spider-Man tangentially, but if they intend to feature him heavily in the Civil War story at all (ya know, like in the actual Civil War story from the comics) then that’s practically a page one rewrite!
Is it possible to pull off? Oh yes, absolutely, but it’s hard. And last minute additions a la Spider-Man 3 have burned me. Oh, speaking of Spider-Man 3!
Sony cannot make a Spider-Man movie to save its life. Even when they have the strong vision of a director like Sam Raimi they still messing it up. In the end, I think their executives just enjoy having too much say. They screwed up Spider-Man 3 by forcing in Venom, they screwed up one of the simplest, most powerful origin stories in comic book history with The Amazing Spider-Man, and then created a strange mishmash of vague, Spider-Man-like elements in a sorta movie called The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In the various press releases, it seemed that it was a pretty big point of order that Sony still had a hand in helping with creative control. Now that could have just been bluster and Kevin Fiege’s word will vastly outweigh those at Sony. Which should be the way of things. Sony has proven their ineptitude and I don’t think Marvel would agree to something that could hurt their universe, but I worry.
I worry that they’ll want to stick in Spider-Man all over the place. I worry that they’ll want a million different Spider-Man characters in the stand alone movie so they can branch off of there too. I worry that Sony will want to continue on as business as usual, but now they can have Iron Man show up when they need to.
Spider-Man has never really been an Avengers character. I mean, sure, his personality is fun to play off other heroes, but he’s not the most useful guy. More obviously useful than a Hawkeye or Black Widow, don’t get me wrong, but not near the level of a Thor or Iron Man. He’s always been a street level hero. Foiling bank robberies and various heists.
Which is why something feels off to me about having him in Infinity War or some such. I trust Marvel to put him somewhere that makes sense, but doesn’t it feel a little weird to have him up there fighting Thanos? I think, with enough of a budget, Spider-Man would work best as a Netflix show or even, maybe, a TV Show proper.
At the very least, I hope that in his stand alone we see more of this. There’s not really an MCU movie that deals with street level crime. It’s all grand, save the world type stuff. Sometimes it’s just good to see someone save New York. Or their girlfriend. Or the girl next door who someone likes from afar, but can’t really work up the courage to say anything to because they’ve spent their whole life being bullied by the more popular kids. You know, Spider-Stuff.