Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe
THE STORY: Ever since the disappointing box-office returns and lukewarm reception to last year’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘, the future of the web-swinger on the big-screen has been in doubt. Sony were banking on the latest instalment being a billion-dollar movie and using it as a launch-pad for future sequels and spin-offs including ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 3‘, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 4‘, ‘Venom‘, ‘The Sinister Six‘, an unnamed female-centric spin-off and even a prequel where Sally Field’s Aunt May was a secret agent.
After the infamous Sony hack last year, it was revealed that Sony were considering a second reboot or getting Sam Raimi to return and direct another trilogy or even sharing the rights with Marvel Studios and booting Andrew Garfield as the lead. But late last night, Marvel and Sony broke the news that Spider-Man will be featuring in their cinematic universe.
Under the terms of the new deal, a brand new Spider-Man will make his debut in an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (probably 2016’s ‘Captain America: Civil War‘, but unconfirmed) and thereafter Sony will make a solo Spider-Man follow up to be released on July 28th 2017. For this solo movie, Kevin Feige, the brainchild for most of the MCU, will be co-producing the movie along with Amy Pascal who recently “stepped-down” (a.k.a. “was fired”) as Sony’s co-chair but will be acting as another producer as she’s been a producer on all the Spider-Man films since they started in 2002. A statement released from Marvel says;
“Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.”
If your Spider-Sense is tingling, that’s probably because you may or may not have noticed that the new Spider-Man’s July 28th 2017 slot originally belonged to ‘Thor: Ragnorok‘. Unfortunately, that’s not because ‘Thor: Ragnorok‘ has been named ‘Thor 3: Civil War 2‘. Instead, the upcoming slate of Marvel films have shifted their release dates to accommodate their brand new Avenger.
‘Thor: Ragnorok‘ will now be released on November 3rd 2017.
‘Black Panther‘ has moved from October 2017 to July 6th 2018.
‘Captain Marvel‘ has moved from July 2018 to November 2nd 2018.
And ‘Inhumans‘ has moved from October 2018 to July 12th 2019.
Interestingly, the release dates of ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 1‘ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 2‘ have remained unchanged (May 4th 2018 and May 3rd 2019). Originally, ‘Captain Marvel‘ and ‘Inhumans‘ would have debuted between the two films, which fans assumed would play into the space-faring concepts of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, but now ‘Black Panther‘ and ‘Captain Marvel‘ will be between the two-parter and ‘Inhumans‘ will release afterwards. It’s unsure what changes will be made to these movies to accomodate Spider-Man and that information won’t be known for some time.
While no official, formal statement has been released, it is assumed that Andrew Garfield will no longer be portraying Peter Parker and that a brand new actor will be playing the new incarnation. There is also no information concerning the status of ‘Venom‘ or Drew Goddard’s ‘The Sinister Six‘, but it is assumed that those movies will no longer be happening. There’s also no news on what direction this new Spider-Man character will go in, but rumours and sources indicate that it’ll be more focused on teenage problems in high-school with a love-story sub-plot, as well as Spider-Man already having his powers when he’s introduced. This was the original plan for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘ 2012 reboot, but was quickly abandoned when the producers wanted a bigger emphasis on the action aspect of the character.
Before Spider-Man enters the MCU, we still have ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘, ‘Ant-Man‘, ‘Captain America: Civil War‘, ‘Doctor Strange‘ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘, all released between April 2015 and May 2017.
MY THOUGHTS: If you’re a long time viewer/reader of mine, you’ll know that I think the 2012 rebooted series is an unmitigated disaster. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘ was a lifeless, poorly made jumping off point to a franchise and even the writers didn’t know where it was going. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ pretty much killed the series beyond repair when it came to the characters and the story so, in my eyes, another reboot was essential. Building off the foundations of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ for future sequels and spin-offs would have been like building a house out of sand in the ocean…on a rainy day…in the British “Summer”.
I’m mixed on this news. While I’m happy that the web-slinger is partially in the hands of people with a good track record and a stake in the character, Marvel Studios will NOT have final say or as much creative input as Sony will.
That’s what worries me.
While the Sam Raimi reboot started off very strongly, ‘Spider-Man 3‘ was ultimately crippled by producer interference to the point where Raimi walked on the proposed ‘Spider-Man 4‘. The hiring of Mark Webb was partially because of his experience with romance films after ‘(500) Days of Summer’ when the reboot was going to be low-budget and focus on Peter Parker in high-school (I say “partially” because Webb wouldn’t have nearly as much directorial clout as Raimi which would make him more obedient. Harsh, but that’s the truth of Hollywood), but producer interference placed a director with no experience with any sort of blockbusters at the helm of a blockbuster reboot.
These are the same producers who will have final creative say on this new franchise.
If it was up to me, it’d be a brand new Spider-Man, set in the MCU and do what ‘The Incredible Hulk‘ did in 2008; have the origin story of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man in the opening titles and jump right into Peter Parker’s life. No secret agent parents BS, no elaborate conspiracies, just Peter Parker in high-school. Maybe a character-driven franchise and let the big-budget action happen during his crossovers with The Avengers. It would also be nice to have Spider-Man keep his secret identity since every MCU hero right now is known to the public. Having Spider-Man and Peter Parker be two separate entities would help change up the dynamics of the Universe.
This approach will allow Sony to save money and potentially make big profits whereas, right now, the franchise is losing them money. According to leaked Sony e-mails, Amy Pascal said that ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ “needed” to make them a billion dollars. Instead, they made $709 million and it was the lowest grossing to date.
We’ll see how the casual movie-goer reacts to ANOTHER reboot, but hopefully Marvel’s creative influence will rub off on those who make the final decisions and after the cinematic catastrophe that was ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘, a movie that makes ‘Batman & Robin‘ look like ‘The Dark Knight‘ in comparison, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Sometimes you need to hit rock-bottom before you realise something has gone wrong.
Though the biggest victim here will be Andrew Garfield. Even though the character he’s portrayed for two movies doesn’t even fit the minimum requires for Peter Parker, that’s not his fault. He’s hugely dedicated to the franchise and an incredibly talented actor who COULD play a great Spider-Man. I’d like to see him get another chance, but it looks like that’s not going to happen.
‘Captain America: Civil War‘ starts filming in April so it’s not out of the question that he may be involved in that movie, even if it’s not to a plot-specific degree.
STORY UPDATE: According to The Wall Street Journal, the new version of Spider-Man will NOT be played by Andrew Garfield who has been let go from the role and the new actor will debut in ‘Captain America: Civil War‘. Also, the ‘Sinister Six‘ movie has been removed from its initial release date of November 11th 2016 to an unspecified date so the studio can rethink it. It also seems that Drew Goddard is still attached to write and direct. I personally hope that Goddard is still attached to the project. He seems like an awesome guy, he’s a great writer and he also left the Netflix ‘Daredevil‘ series in order to create ‘The Sinister Six‘ so thankfully his talents won’t be wasted.
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Posted: 10th Feb 15