Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday Comics: Spider-Man in the Cinematic Marvel Universe

picture by stick-man-11 (click here for link to license)

Spider-Man is coming home!

Before Marvel was able to come up with its master movie plan, it had licensed its most popular characters to different studios.  Fox was given X-Men and Fantastic Four.  And Spider-Man was given out to Sony.

As a result Marvel had some of their B-list players like Iron Man as the foundations of their cinematic universe.  It may seem hard to remember, but Iron Man was not nearly as well known 8 years ago as he is today.  Say "Tony Stark" then and you might get a blank expression in return.  Say "Peter Parker" and everyone gets the Spider-Man theme stuck in their heads for the next week and a half.

Creating a shared universe was an absolute gamble.  It wasn't until the Avengers shattered box office records that the full power of the Marvel plan came to fruition.  And now that they have Mouse Money behind them with the Disney acquisition, their franchise powers seem unstoppable.

Look at Guardians of the Galaxy, a film with no A-List names about a group of comic book characters most people hadn't heard of opening at the end of Summer Movie season.  And then it became the biggest hit of the Summer not just because it was good, but because it was Marvel.

With Sony's recent financial and publicity woes, this was the perfect time to shake things up.  They have agreed to lease the character back to Marvel.  So now Spider-Man can appear with all of his other Marvel compatriots.

It is confirmed that his first appearance would be in Captain America: Civil War.  Fans of the comic will remember that Spider-Man played an integral role in the events that unfolded there.  I don't see it playing out the same way, especially if the character is rebooted.

And rebooted he shall be.  Andrew Garfield is out, so it seems that they are eschewing the Amazing Spider-Man continuity.  This makes me a bit sad.  While the second installment was a bit bloated and convoluted, it had some truly wonderful Spidey moments.

Rumor is that the plan is to return Spider-Man to high school age and remain there for awhile, just like they did with the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book.

Speaking of which, there has been a lot of Internet pushing to get the new Spider-Man to be Miles Morales and not Peter Parker.

This is a horrible idea.

Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

In the Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker was killed off and replaced by the younger Miles Morales.  A big deal was made at the time of the fact Morales was half-black, half-Puerto Rican, thus giving more diversity to comics.

But I can tell you that Morales is nowhere near as compelling of a characters as Parker.  I tried to follow the Miles Morales story, but they were so boring.  He wasn't awful or anything.

He just isn't Spider-Man.

If Marvel roles the dice on Miles Morales, I'm sure they could make a movie version of him work just fine.  But fanboys like me have been waiting for Peter Parker to join up with Cap and Hulk and Thor and Iron Man.  Using Morales would be like making a movie with Jean-Paul Valley as Batman or Mon-El as Superman.

We'll see though.  In the meantime, I'm excited at all the story possibilities that could come forth from this.  And who knows?  If this studio cross-pollination is successful, maybe we could get Fox on board for an epic Avengers vs. X-Men movie.

And then could you imagine a deal worked out with Warner Bros to do a Marvel vs. DC movie?  Okay, this last one is far fetched.  But if you had asked me a year ago if Sony would let Spidey into the Marvel MCU I'd have said you were crazy.

Stranger things have happened.


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