Superhero Roundtable Discussions is a series on GamingIlluminaughty.com where writers will come together to discuss superhero/comic book movies. If you missed our previous discussion on the new trailers from Comic-Con, click HERE. Today’s discussion will be covering our thoughts and opinions on Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First, here are the key details on the agreement between Marvel and Sony. Click HERE for more information.
- Marvel does not own the film rights to Spider-Man. They are “leasing” the character and will get to use him in Marvel Cinematic Universe films while Sony will develop solo Spider-Man films. Sony will not receive any earnings from the MCU films that Spider-Man appears in and Marvel will not receive anything from the solo Spider-Man movies.
- MCU characters can appear in future solo Spider-Man films, but the films are still Sony films. Amy Pascal will be producing the solo Spider-Man movie along with Kevin Feige, although he won’t be compensated.
- The new Spider-Man will first appear in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and will then have a standalone film releasing in 2017.
Malaiko: Marvel Studios and Sony have finally decided on Tom Holland as the new actor to take on the mantle of Spider-Man and I have to say, I’m a little on the fence about this decision. I’ve only seen him in The Impossible, which came out in 2012. I actually really like that movie; it was well directed and extremely well acted by the main cast, including Holland, who delivered a very solid performance. It’s obvious from that film alone that Holland is certainly a talented actor but that film is all I have to go on when it comes to his acting ability and range because I haven’t seen his other work. I like that Marvel actually picked a younger actor to play a Peter Parker/Spider-Man that’s in high school, as opposed to getting 20-something-year-olds playing the role of teenagers. I definitely think he can pull off the role of Peter Parker but whether or not he pull off a good Spider-Man is where I have my doubts. What do you think?
Austin Manchester: I had actually never heard of Tom Holland before this casting process (or any of the other five finalists) and have still not seem him act, so I don’t know how good he’ll be as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I trust in Marvel though! I think they’ve been spot-on with casting so far, my favorites being Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. They were all established actors with varying degrees of fame before joining Marvel and not almost completely unknown like young Tom Holland. In a few years, will fans view Holland in the same way as they view those talented actors — as a damn near perfect casting for the character? Who knows! Only time will tell. Holland having screen tested with RDJ and Evans is a good sign — they must have worked very well together for Holland to have gotten the part. And what you said about the age thing is very true — Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were both damn near thirty by the time their Spider-Man films first hit theaters and yet they were supposed to be portraying high schoolers. Holland is young enough to be believable as a high school-aged Peter Parker. He just needs to make sure to bring the humor and charm that is essential to the Spider-Man character. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the role and, of course, him and RDJ firing quips back and forth.
Malaiko: I agree with you, Marvel has been pretty spot on with their casting. Like you said, Holland got the role after he screen tested with RDJ and Chris Evans so obviously that means that there’s chemistry between him and the two other stars, which is critical in the MCU because everyone needs to play off of everyone else’s energy. I’m confident in Marvel’s choice, but I’m unsure of whether or not he can play a good Spider-Man.
Speaking of a good Spider-Man, his appearance in next year’s Captain America: Civil War has to be a memorable one and it can’t be reduced to a simple cameo. His character plays a major role in the comic book storyline that the film is loosely based on so they need to use this movie to make his presence felt in the MCU. I think we can all agree that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a disappointment; we haven’t really had a great Spider-Man movie since ’04 (Spider-Man 2) and this is their chance to take out the bad taste the previous movies left in people’s mouths and make people cheer for Spidey once again. I do think the movie is overcrowded (though, with this storyline, it has to be) and I want the movie to focus on Cap and Iron Man but Spider-Man needs to be a major player in this story. For me, what they need to do is hint at his character and mention him throughout the film. We can see Peter here and there but no Spidey yet. Then in the 3rd act of the film, during the final battle, Spider-Man shows up and is forced to join the battle and pick a side, showing his allegiance to whichever side he decided to join. I don’t want him reduced to a side character who we just see web up common criminals and that’s it. He needs to play a major role in the final act of the film for this storyline to work.
Manchester: I actually don’t think Spider-Man needs a big presence in Civil War. Marvel was starting production on this film before they got the deal with Sony and they were prepared to go at it without the webslinger. I think Black Panther is actually going to play a big role and Spidey will appear in a glorified cameo. Marvel has talked a lot about how Black Panther is going to bring a new perspective to this Civil War and how he will be a major player. They don’t necessarily need Spider-Man for this film, especially because it seems like they’re doing their own thing with the Civil War and basically borrowing the name from the comics. If Marvel were to have both Black Panther and Spider-Man get introduced and play big roles in the film, I think that would be too much. Let’s not forget, this movie is called Captain America: Civil War. The majority of the movie needs to be about the conflict between Cap and Tony Stark. The way I see things playing out is that Spider-Man will have conversations with both sides but won’t be a large focus of the movie and, like you said, might show up at the end in the final battle, although maybe he won’t fight, but instead will call a truce, peace.
Malaiko: You put it perfectly, nothing more than a glorified cameo. I definitely don’t want to him to have a lot of screen time, as personally I’m more interested in the introduction of Black Panther than I am of Spider-Man. To me, five minutes of total screen time would be the perfect amount of time. They could introduce Peter as a new intern at Stark Industries or whatever, which would give him a connection to Stark without them having to force him on the big screen. Show a short scene or two of Peter Parker and then in the final battle have him show up with his new costume in full splendor and either stop the fighting or give a speech of some sort about how Cap and Tony need to work together and not against one another. He doesn’t need a lot of screen time to have a major impact on the story. He should be the bridge that brings Cap and Tony together again. About five minutes of screen time is all I want for him but, for me, he definitely needs to show up at the final battle but at the last moment and hopefully, like you said, he’ll be the reason they call a truce. I hope they don’t force him into the plot as a major player; that could potentially ruin the storyline.
Manchester: Five minutes or so sounds like an appropriate amount of time for Spider-Man in Civil War. I expect that the mid-credits scene at the end of the film will be about Spider-Man, unless they want to tease Doctor Strange, which comes out in November 2016.
Speaking of Spider-Man’s solo movie, what do you expect from it? Because they’ve kept talking about bringing the character back to high school and they were looking for a young actor, I hope they make the most of the high school setting. All of the Avengers are at least in their thirties and being superheroes are their jobs, so it will be interesting to see how Peter Parker balances being a kid and a superhero, something that wasn’t really done well enough in Raimi’s trilogy. Being a teenage superhero with a secret identity is so much different than being Thor, Iron Man or Captain America — heroes with no secret identities. I expect Marvel to introduce a lot of supporting characters and lay the groundwork for future sequels, which is Marvel’s calling card. I wonder if they want to go the Osborn/Goblins route over the course of the Marvel/Sony Spidey films, seeing as how the descent of Harry Osborn was done so well in Raimi’s films (so well, in fact, that I really don’t want to see it again). I don’t think we need another “Harry Osborn turns into a bad guy” storyline.
Malaiko: I expect the tone of the film to be considerably different from the other Marvel films because in this universe, Spider-Man is still a teenager and he’s in high school. His crime fighting career is still pretty young so you have an inexperienced hero, as opposed to the other Marvel heroes who have been out fighting crime and have already saved the world a few times. I want to see Peter’s threats start out on a smaller scale, because he’s just a kid so we can’t really expect him to deal with a world ending crisis. They’ve already said that they’re going with a new villain in the film, so I’d like to see Kraven the Hunter face off against Spidey first. Kraven is an expert hunter and for him there is no greater prey than Spider-Man. Having him be the first villain would be a good foe for Spidey to go up against because even though Kraven has no powers, he’s incredibly intelligent and he knows how to stalk and learn his prey’s weaknesses in order to defeat them. So far, Peter has only faced common criminals and may feel on top of the world because of his powers, plus he hasn’t really had anyone that could challenge him in his young crime fighting career yet. Kraven would be that guy against whom Peter would learn that just because he has powers doesn’t mean he’s invincible. He would help Peter mature as a person and as a crime fighter.
I’m also glad that you mentioned Harry. I definitely don’t want to see another Green Goblin again, it’s been done to death. Like you said, Peter’s relationship with Harry was done to near perfection in the Sam Raimi films, and in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 they completely ruined it. I do think Harry should be in the film, because he’s a major character in the Spider-Man mythos but I definitely just want him in the film as Peter’s best friend, not as a villain. Also, I’d like to see Mary Jane from the get go, maybe introducing Gwen later because with Gwen, she has an iconic death at the hands of the Green Goblin. If she shows up then we know that’s the route they’re going to take, which means we’re going to see Green Goblin for the fourth time. I’ve had enough of him. Bring on MJ, have her be the main love interest for Peter. He’s in high school so it’ll be interesting to see how Peter will balance school, crime fighting and romance. In the comics (especially in the Ultimate universe), Peter’s friendship with MJ suffers a lot at times because of him lying to her about being Spidey but eventually when she finds out it brings them together. I want to see that same kind of a dynamic in the first film.
Manchester: I like what you said about injecting some romance into the new Spidey films. In the MCU, romance isn’t really something that’s prominent, and when it is, the film makers screw it up big time (I’m looking at you, Age of Ultron). Bringing Mary Jane as the pretty girl opposite Peter Parker’s nerdy persona will add to the high school elements. He would be pining over her and maybe get stuck in the friend zone, which is different than previous MCU romances, where the heroes (Cap, Stark, and Thor) get the girl with relative ease. Again, this is something that I thought was done well in Raimi’s trilogy and I want to see where Marvel goes with the MJ/Peter romance. Whatever relationship that develops between them will certainly have to be strained and challenged. It will almost certainly be different than the Gwen Stacy/Peter romance in In The Amazing Spider-Man, where they had chemistry and romance early on that was never really challenged.
As for the villain of Spider-Man’s solo outing, I like the idea of starting out on a smaller scale. Almost all MCU movies deal on a large scale with the hero saving the world/galaxy from some “unstoppable” force. Spider-Man is more suited for a smaller scale villain, and I think Kraven would be a good choice. From a story-telling perspective, Kraven would make sense (as you said) and having Spider-Man go up against him would leave a lot of room for character development for our webslinging hero. Kraven the Hunter would pose a physical, and tactical, threat to Spider-Man and I want to see these two go against each other.
I also want to see Chameleon show up sometime in the new Spider-Man films, primarily because I grew up on the animated series and remember loving him as a kid. Maybe Chameleon would be better suited as a villain in a sequel, but I think he would represent an interesting challenge — the filmmakers could get creative with the fight scenes and if he somehow learned Spidey’s secret identity, he could screw with Peter Parker’s personal life in an effort to defeat the hero. He is kind of the opposite of Kraven; instead of relying on strength, Chameleon relies on deception and trickery. He would represent a great challenge to Spider-Man. I don’t know, I just want to see this guy on film!
Spider-Man has such an extensive rogues gallery, probably only rivaled by Batman’s. Because of this, the filmmakers better have a villain for each Spider-Man movie that we haven’t seen before, the only exception might be Doc Ock, which I think (along with the Green Goblin) is Spidey’s most famous villain, like how the Joker is to Batman. I’m not really interested in Shocker, Vulture, or Hydro-Man (maybe for a future movie, though). Electro, Rhino, Lizard, and Sandman have all had their time in the spotlight. Morbius would be cool, although he may not fit the MCU. I think Mysterio would also be a great choice. Venom and Carnage should be saved for a future film and the character of Eddie Brock needs to be developed properly, unlike in Spider-Man 3.
But, honestly, with so many great Spider-Man villains to choose from, they can’t go wrong. Unless they go with the Green Goblin again.
Malaiko: Yeah you’re right about the romance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Both Peter and Gwen get together in the first movie, they both liked each other from the start so there wasn’t that build up to the relationship that we saw in the Raimi films between Peter and MJ. I would like to see Peter’s love be one-sided at first. They start out as just classmates then their relationship evolves to that of good friends by the end of the first film. I don’t want them to shoehorn romance in there just for the sake of doing it. Build up their relationship, let us see their bond develop from mere friendship to an actual mutual love between the two over the course of several movies. Maybe in the second movie they finally get together like they did in the Raimi films.
Chameleon would also be a great choice. He would challenge Spider-Man mentally. I want to see something different in these Spider-Man movies. He has so many great villains to choose from so there is no need for them to repeat villains. I love Venom but I wouldn’t want to see him until a third movie. They could introduce Eddie Brock in the second film and build up and establish his character, actually get some character development for him this time around and in the third film make him turn into Venom.
I’m looking forward to seeing this new Spider-Man, the possibilities are endless and with Marvel having creative input I think we’ll get some solid Spider-Man movies, which we haven’t had in years. Plus, can you imagine seeing Spidey team up with Captain America, Iron Man, or, hell, even Daredevil?! Those two have teamed up multiple times in the comics and they share an enemy: The Kingpin. I could definitely see the two of them team up to try and destroy Kingpin and his organization. With all the money Kingpin has, it’s likely he would hire supervillain bodyguards, which is where you could introduce Mysterio or Chameleon. Those two basically work for whoever pays them so it’s definitely a possibility. Have a final showdown between Daredevil taking on Kingpin again and Spidey taking on Mysterio and/or Chameleon.
Manchester: While Sony is “leasing” the character to Marvel for use in MCU films, Marvel has always had the rights to use Spider-Man on television, so we could very well see the MCU Spidey appear on Daredevil. I would love to see him and Daredevil team up — it just makes so much sense. They’re both street-level crime fighters operating in New York City and it would be odd for one to exist without ever crossing paths/communicating with the other. Having Spider-Man show up every now and then to help out Daredevil would be great (and it would also be great if Daredevil showed up in an MCU film, but that’s another topic for another day).
Having both Daredevil and Spider-Man showdown against the Kingpin would make sense seeing as how the Kingpin is considered both a Daredevil villain and Spider-Man villain. It would also be a way for Marvel to introduce some Spider-Man villains (like Chameleon and Mysterio, as you laid out) without crowding up a solo Spider-Man movie.
Do you have anything else to add? I think we’re just about wrapping up.
Malaiko: The possibilities are endless, I’m telling you. With Marvel having creative input, I really hope Sony listens to some of their suggestions so we fans can have the best possible Spider-Man film. I’m really excited to see what both companies do with the character.
And that concludes this Superhero Roundtable Discussion! Be on the lookout for more and if you want to add to the discussion or if you have any suggestions for topics, make sure to drop a comment below! We thank you for reading!
Austin is in his final year at the University of Florida studying English. He enjoys binge watching on Shark Tank, winning the Mortal Kombat, and occasionally stepping in for Batman when necessary.