EDITORIALS

Editorial: Why Spider-Man Swinging Home to Marvel is Good News

by
February 10, 2015

Spider-Ma

After the news broke that Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios had finally come to an arrangement on the Spider-Man franchise, Alex wrote an editorial about how he wasn't excited. I can't help but disagree. First of all, let's take a moment to soak in how utterly exciting it is that Spider-Man is back home – in a sense – with Marvel. It happened. It finally happened. After years of fans wanting it, two lackluster Spider-Man movies (that fans didn't want) and a studio leak that all but got fans' hopes up with discussions of a talk between Sony and Marvel – the studio behind The Avengers will finally be helping shape the cinematic future of Spider-Man. I can't help but spin this as great news for for Marvel, Sony and Spidey's fans alike.

This has to be a "best of both worlds" scenario for all involved. For Sony, they can still retain the rights to the Spider-Man character but bring in people who really know how to tell a good superhero story on film. For Marvel, they can finally bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe fold. For fans, they finally get their wish of seeing one of their favorite comic-book characters interacting with the rest of Marvel's pantheon. Best of all, fans finally have a chance at getting an actually good Spider-Man movie for a change. After three consecutively lackluster films, it's about time Spider-Man got a good movie again.

To truly appreciate how great this news is, one simply has to look back at the somewhat tumultuous last eight years of the cinematic Spider-Man legacy. Spider-Man made his silver screen debut in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002 starring Tobey Maguire as the webslinging hero. It was hailed as a great cinematic achievement and the highest grossing film of that year. With 2004's sequel Spider-Man 2, Raimi made what is arguably one of the best superhero films of all time. Even nearly fifteen years later and Spider-Man 2 still holds up – no Spider-Man film has yet to top it. The series then started to swing downhill with Spider-Man 3. There are plenty of reasons for why that film floundered – one of them being the movie's producer Avi Arad forcing the villainous Venom on Raimi, who outright disliked the character.

Spider-Man

Sony Pictures, the studio that's owned, financed, distributed and overseen the creative development of the Spider-Man franchise since 2002, was planning on moving forward with a fourth installment in Raimi's series until Raimi walked away. Just five years after Spider-Man 3, Sony rebooted the series with The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield as the titular webslinger. While reviews were mostly positive, fans were less than enthused - although it earned a respectable $760 million at the worldwide box office. For the most part, fans seemed irritated that we were getting a reboot of the character so soon after the Tobey Maguire version. What's worse is that The Amazing Spider-Man promised to be different than its predecessor, but felt very worn and familiar – rethreading the origin story that audiences already saw in Sam Raimi's film.

Whatever small goodwill the Amazing Spider-Man series had – including some excellent chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – last year's sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, threw that all into a blender and hit the highest setting possible. While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did decently at the box office – earning a little over $700 million worldwide – it was still less than the previous film and continued what has been a steady decline for the web crawler at the box office. Throw in some mixed reviews and a fanbase that was growing more and more detached and you can understand why change was imminent. However, change for the sake of change doesn't mean anything. Why get excited for this new Marvel/Sony collaboration? After all, didn't Sony reboot the character just four years ago?

While this new version of the Spider-Man character will still be owned by Sony – who will continue to finance and distribute the solo films – this version will be creatively spearheaded by Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios. This is the same Kevin Fiege that has helped redefine the superhero genre (and yes it is a genre now) by producing every Marvel Studios film of the last several years, starting with 2008's Iron Man. Even though the Marvel Studios movies aren't perfect, for the most part they know how to deliver the hits when they do. Think back just five or ten years ago –no one would have thought a successful film version of The Avengers could become a cinematic reality.

Not only that, but Marvel has pulled off the herculean task of a successful, practically seamless cinematic universe, where characters appear in multiple films across different franchises – creating a shared space that feels occupied and real. In a way, Fiege and Marvel Studios have done the unthinkable – they have adapted, to the best of their ability, the comics to the screen in a way we've never seen before. Who would have thought just ten years ago Iron Man would be sharing the same frame as Captain America or Thor? Well, it's happened. Marvel is continuing that tradition of defying expectations with this new arrangement. Who would have thought just five years ago that Spider-Man would be sharing the same frame as Iron Man or Captain America? In a couple years' time, you won't have to imagine anymore.

Spider-Man

There'll be plenty of people that will bemoan yet another reboot of Spider-Man and you can't really blame them. This will be the third incarnation of the character in 13 years. By the time the new Sony/Marvel Studios Spider-Man solo film comes out in 2017, it'll be just three years after the last Amazing Spider-Man film. However, with that said, we don't know what kind of reboot this is going to be. The Hollywood Reporter seems to be the only source confirming that Andrew Garfield is not expected to reprise his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which is truly disappointing. As underwhelming as the Amazing Spider-Man movies were, Garfield was a highlight. It'll be a real shame if he doesn't come back, but The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was slated to be his last turn as Spidey anyway. Garfield is currently 31 – and he'll be pushing 34 by the time the new Sony/Marvel Studios Spider-Man film is supposed to come out. That's fairly old for a character that in the comics is known for being a teenager in high school.

So while it is sad that Garfield won't be returning, there are still plenty of awesome possibilities that could make up for it. For example, what if Donald Glover was cast as the wall crawler? Glover had a surprising amount of fan support – including Facebook campaigns to get him cast – while Sony was looking for its new Amazing Spider-Man. Avi Arad, the franchise's notorious producer (who will jump onboard the new film as an executive producer – in what is probably a significantly reduced role), once said he never saw Miles Morales ever becoming Spider-Man during his tenure. Now that Arad has been presumably pushed to the sidelines, it is safe to assume Morales is now an actual possibility. How exciting would that be? Everyone talks about wanting more diversity in their superheroes. By thinking outside the proverbial casting box or by eventually going with Morales as Spider-Man, the franchise now stands a true chance at becoming fresh and vibrant again.

After all, the lack of vibrancy and the creative staleness is what fans most complained about when it comes to the previous two Amazing Spider-Man movies. They didn't take enough chances. They were creatively running on fumes. What's exciting is that Fiege has always been very smart about choosing great filmmakers. Look at his track record: Jon Favreau for Iron Man, Joss Whedon for The Avengers, the Russo brothers for Captain America and James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy just to name a few. I'm sure whoever Fiege helps pick for the new solo Spider-Man film will be just as talented and right for the character. Even though Marc Webb is a very gifted filmmaker, it was no secret he was being hindered by Sony's past studio regime and Avi Arad and Matt Tomlach as producers.

Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man was originally touted as "The Untold Story", but much of that untold story was exorcised or re-arranged in the final edit, resulting in a film that was misshapen and uneven. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered from studio interference and terrible writing. With a brand-new creative team – and Fiege's backing and support – this can only mean Marvel bringing on a team that love and respects the Spider-Man character. Not only that, but a team that also has the talent and grit to make a good movie. When you hear Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely - writers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier – talk about the character it is clear they have a love and passion for him. Spider-Man needs the kind of creative team that has a deep admiration for the source material but also knows what they are doing. If anyone can find those that exhibit that delicate balance for Spider-Man, it's Kevin Fiege.

After all, Kevin Fiege is the man that turned a comic-book about obscure, barely known outcasts into one of the biggest films of last year. By now, we shouldn't be doubting Feige and Marvel Studios but trusting that they know what they are doing. Spider-Man needs some new creative threads to combat the spandex fatigue that's been plaguing the character for the last couple years now. While it might not be an overnight success, Marvel is smart to re-introduce Spider-Man to new audiences in a Marvel film before its new solo adventure. While there are many Marvel films to choose from between now and 2017 (although Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man are probably unlikely candidates), it's safe to assume our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will probably make an appearance in the next Captain America movie, Civil War. If the idea of Spider-Man spinning quips at Tony Stark doesn't get you foaming at the mouth with excitement, then you might be as cold as Captain America before he was thawed.

Let's be honest: It's an exciting time to be a Spider-Man fan – but also a fan of comics and comic-book movies in general. Marvel Studios just made the impossible suddenly possible – just like they have time and time again. Something tells me by July 28th, 2017 we'll all by sitting in that theater, anxiously waiting this new era of Spider-Man to start. Are you excited about Marvel's plans on working with Sony for a new Spider-Man film? Excited about Spider-Man sharing the screen with the Avengers? Sound off below!

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  • Tuomas Lassila
    Marc Webb films weren't lacklusters at all.
    • ragethorn
      First one wasn't. Second one was.
      • Tuomas Lassila
        Wasn't.
    • Devid
      Unfortunately both films are lacklusters.
    • Astroboy3000
      agreed. Atrocious is a much better descriptor.
      • Tuomas Lassila
        T_T
    • TheOct8pus
      Raimi's Spidey 2 was the best Spidey movie ever. Webb's first wasn't terrible, but it really wasn't anything special either. Unnecessary is the word that comes to mind....
      • Tuomas Lassila
        Raimis Spidey 2 was always my least favourate...
        • TheOct8pus
          You're a complex person, Tuomas...
          • Tuomas Lassila
            I have my rights to be different!
  • Devid
    The Amazing Spider-Man is the worst Spider-Man of all times. First part is may be a bit better as Jupiter Ascending.
    • ColtNoir
      ...lol no.
    • JBroti
      Big ol' bag of nopes. I'm glad we finally got to see The Lizard, as Raimi's fourth installment was most likely going to feature him anyways, but we never got that.
  • J Aquila
    Just thinking out loud here... but would the idea of Toby Maguire coming back as Spider Man be worth considering? Since Raimi's trilogy has been established, and done very well with fans ... Why not just integrate an aged Spider Man into the Avenger fold. This would save Sony the time and energy of eventually retelling the origin story line, and allow the already developed character an easy transition as the seasoned crime fighter, weighing in on the Cap vs Iron Man dispute over registration of super heroes. Sure, Maguire is old ... But would this be any different than the elder version of Affleck's "Batman" coming to spar with Superman, and eventually team up to form the foundation of the Justice League? With what appears to be a changing of team members on the horizon for the Avengers ... Adding a potential seasoned veteran character to the mix, just may be what Phase 3 needs. Again - Just an idea. I wonder is Maguire's back could hold up to the needs of such a physical role anymore?
    • Steven
      That is a great idea. I was hoping for a tie with Garfield, but this would be simply fantastic and allow Maguire to pass the torch to Spidergirl.
  • Ben Sharkey
    I don't know; I think Marvel comics has lost the plot recently. Steve Rigers being turned into an old man and Thor becoming a girl for reasons other than good story telling is very disappointing. It takes the books back to the dark old days of the 90s when comics were at their worst. I hope the films don't go down the same path. That said I'm excited to see Spider-Man back where he belongs. I think having miles instead of Peter would be a mistake just because Peter is Spider-Man and has such a rich history. In terms of diversity The Black Panther is where it's at. He is a real character with an awesome back story as is the Falcon. I think pushing existing characters makes a lot more sense than giving old ones a new skin colour and saying "diversity." Lets hope fox will hand it's titles over as well.
  • TheOct8pus
    So psyched! I guess if Spidey is in Capt 3, then it's safe to assume that he'll be in Avengers 3....how badass would that be?
    • JBroti
      I hope he makes at least a cameo but I still want the focus to be on black panther. Especially since his solo movie is now being pushed back till after Infinity Wars Part 1.
  • TheOct8pus
    If you want diversity, they should bring in Takuya Yamashiro as Supaidaman, with his trusty giant robot Leopardon
  • Dubmaster2010
    If they really don't want to use Garfield anymore, and maybe introduce another Spider-Man like Miles Morales or O'Hara...it would be good to kill Peter Parker in a Movie... I could live with it, if Andrew Garfield will be unmasked in Civil War, and than be killed in the same Movie by a Villain. Than in a post credit scene, they could introduce a new Spider-Man. But i am still hoping, that Garfield will return! :-) I loved the two Amazing Spider-Man Movies and the upcoming Story-Line for the other sequels. He was just the perfect choice! It would be a desaster, if they do not care about the Sinister Six in the new Movie.
  • Daniel_Plainview_Milkshake
    Peter Parker is my favorite character in all of fiction so I'm really pulling for him. I know they'll recast the lead, but I would die a happy man if some miracle brought Sam Raimi back
  • JBroti
    I'd much rather take Spiderman over the Inhumans. Sucks they won't be included in the Phase 3 ending, but I'll live. I can look forward to that new take in Phase 4. Anyways, Dan, so glad you made a counter article to Alex's depressing article (no offense Alex). I'm so pumped. SO STOKED! I think Marvel should open their first Spiderman with a BANG. Give us a movie we've all wanted to see done right for a long time. That said, here's my idea I'd love to see happen: During the aftermath battle against the Chitari in Avengers, somewhere's among the wreckage of the alien serpent beasts, and black parasite dislodges itself and is either found or escapes into the sewers. This symbiote, alien black parasite ends up being Venom (as the venom blackness is from space anyways)! We then have a solid movie with Venom or instead Carnage! Or both!
  • TyeFighterPilot
    Both of the Amazing Spider Man Movies was garbage. I thought they were stale and unimaginative. The Amazing Spider Man 2 had the cast but an awful script. It also had one of the worst endings I've ever seen in an Action/Super Hero movie. I think this is good for Spidey.
  • Kasual7
    "Even though the Marvel Studios movies aren't perfect" - and that's where I'm afraid. As great as Marvel movies are not all of them are gems, from what I recall the best Iron Man remains the 1st, Iron man 2 and 3 went downhill. I remain skeptical until something about the cast or a teaser tells me they'll deliver.
    • TheOct8pus
      True. With great power comes great responsibility.
  • Nick Perkins
    I agree with most of what is said here, and I share in your enthusiasm! A couple areas of disagreement: I'm not disappointed to see Andrew Garfield go. One of the greatest strengths of Marvel Studios is in their casting choices. I'm anxious to see who they pick for a younger Spidey. Also, while I agree with many points about Morales as Spider-Man, he's just not well-known enough to the moviegoing public yet, and you just know Marvel has been foaming at the mouth to make a Peter Parker film. Hopefully Miles will be introduced as a supporting character in the way that Bucky seems to be poised to take over as Cap when Chris Evans' contract is up.
  • DAVIDPD
    This article was nice but could have been summed up in, "Spiderman is a Marvel IP, he deserves to be home. As it should be."
  • theboyd
    My biggest problem with this whole arrangement is the fact that Marvel has no creative control over Spiderman. That is the weakest link in the chain. The movie where Spidey is introduced into the MCU might be a Marvel movie, and many Marvel movies' characters may show up in future Spidey films, but all the solo Spidey films will be Sony's and that is where my skepticism lies. As awesome as Feige is, he has no creative control over solo Spidey movies, Sony does. Sony has mishandled the character historically and if they mishandle the new Spidey, it will not only affect Spidey but the entire MCU. Another point is that Sony is still thinking about all those idiotic spin-off movies like Sinister Six and female Spidey, etc. I am gonna remain skeptical about this arrangement until I see the first AND second solo Spidey movies, and the spin-offs, and how they affect the quality of the MCU. In short, I am a skeptic for the entire time Spidey remains with Sony.

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