I know what you’re thinking. “Here we go, nerd man is going to spew more love all over Marvel.” Well, you’re damn right I am! I’ve been waiting years for this to happen, don’t you take this away from me! Excelsior!
Okay. So here’s the haps.
This past week, Sony and Marvel announced a deal that will allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In movies. Made by Marvel. And not made by Sony.
For years, Sony Pictures has owned the film rights to the character of Spider-Man. And they chose to remind us of this fact in the most painful way possible: by making movies. And they were pretty whatever. This was before Marvel Studios came and blew the superhero movie into this amazing, enjoyable, perfect little gem. But then they did that. And everything else started to look like garbage. Maybe it isn’t fair to hold everyone else to the same standard as Marvel Studios when it comes to superhero movies, but…actually yes. Yes it is. They’re good at this thing in a way that no one else has been.
But Marvel being great at making movies has been a double-edged sword, because they sold off the film rights to all of these great characters long ago. Don’t get me started on the travesty- filled crop field of what could be that is the X-Men franchise. The Spider-Man movies made under Sony have been pretty meh. They’re not bad films, per se. And I’ll admit I haven’t seen Andrew Garfield sling his webs yet. But I know Sony’s style. I’ve seen their trailers. See…okay–
–in the superhero movie space, Marvel is the Apple Computers. Everyone else making phones and computers just sort of finds a middle ground of specs that the lowest common denominator wants, and they just churn out whatever will probably make money. Apple, in contrast, tells people what they want. They innovate. They’ve always been good at this. And in this same way, Marvel is good at saying, “okay, this is the way you tell a superhero story on the screen. This is what works.”
It’s slightly different than that, because people, I think, have really always wanted what Marvel is pushing now, and it’s the production people, the Hollywood people, that they’ve had to get onboard with that. But I digress.
Marvel is winning. And Sony saw that. And they also saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 bite it at the box office. So they (finally. FINALLY) came to Marvel and said, “Please. Take this Spider- Man fellow. And make him awesome again.”
And Sony reportedly did not even receive any money from Marvel in exchange for use of the character. So that’s probably pretty much how it went down. Sony really wants Marvel’s help, and that’s fantastic. I would say that it’s because they finally care about the character, but let’s be honest, it’s still about money. But we can be happy that we live in a world where Marvel’s version of these characters’ movies are the ones making more money, and therefore give the better stories more power over the production people who ultimately have the most power over what gets made.
I, like many, worried that Spider-Man would be forever lost to the MCU. But I remained hopeful that Sony would come to its senses and do something like this. And they have. Could this mean something for the future of the X-Men? Probably not. They’re doing pretty okay. But objectively, FOX is not doing those characters or that franchise justice. Imagining the Marvel version of the X-Men that we could have makes my heart hurt in a way I’ll probably never feel about my unborn children. FOX won’t let it go. At least not now. We’ll see. (Hope hope hope…)
We can expect to see Spider-Man start appearing in Marvel’s films in the next few years. His homecoming actually pushed back a few other Marvel films in the pipeline. My hunch, and my hope, really, is that we get to see him first in the third Captain America film, Civil War. He’s very important to that storyline in the comics. Civil War without Spider-Man just isn’t Civil War.
So what do you think? Were you as immediately excited as I was upon hearing this news? Feel free to comment!
— Mike Egan, Film Blogger