Marvel Studios is — at least for now — the undisputed victor when it comes to superhero films. “The Avengers” remains the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time (and one of the all-time highest grossing movies, period), and even their “B-list” heroes have become major stars and major money-makers. At this point, they can even make a blockbuster out of a walking tree and a talking, gun-toting raccoon.
However, a fact that has complicated the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that while there are a variety of Marvel comics films — Avengers spin-offs, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. — Marvel Studios (and Disney) don’t have cinematic control of all the characters. Sony has the rights to Spider-Man, and Fox has the X-Men. Understandably, neither studio really wants to give up those lucrative characters. A mash-up with X-Men and the Avengers, or a Spider-Man appearance in an Avengers film, seemed unlikely.
That is, until Sony recently announced a deal to allow Spider-Man to appear in a Marvel Studios film with characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, granting a long-time wish of many Marvel fans. According to the official press release from Marvel, Spider-Man will first make an appearance in an MCU film (possibly “Captain America: Civil War”?), then a solo film with help from the MCU team and a supposed “new creative direction.”
I really think this was a smart move on the part of Sony. Marvel Studios is the biggest power player in superhero movies, and allowing Spider-Man to appear in an MCU movie will only make the character more bankable. Bringing him into the same universe will offer new creative — and financial — opportunities.
I am sad to see Andrew Garfield go as Spider-Man; although I haven’t seen a firm confirmation of this, it’s more than likely the role will be recast. Garfield brought a sense of lovably awkward earnestness to the role, and I don’t think we got a chance to see all he was capable of in the role, either. That being said, I think with this new direction it probably is a good call to go with a new actor, so that audiences’ perceptions of the character aren’t too tied to what’s been done before. What I’d actually like to see is, instead of recasting Peter Parker, having the movies features Miles Morales, a character from Marvel Comics who is Spider-Man in an alternative universe with no Peter Parker. Peter Parker already has been rebooted twice in a relatively short time, and using Miles Morales instead would give Spider-Man a genuine fresh start.
I’ve very curious to see how Spider-Man will be worked into the MCU. I’m guessing his first appearance will be more of a cameo, but Marvel Studios will certainly want to show off the new addition to the team. It will be interesting to see how the new Spider-Man interacts with the existing Marvel team. There’s already some big personalities in play, and general audiences are used to thinking of Spider-Man as operating on his own. Film makers will have to be careful about how he mixes with Iron Man, Thor, etc.
Overall, however, I think adding Spider-Man to the MCU is a good move, and positive news for Marvel fans (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for an X-Men/Avengers mash-up). What do you hope to see from Spider-Man in the MCU?