The Amazing Spider-Reboot
You ever have that one friend that’s in dire need of getting some sense punched into them? Sure, your relationship is a bit rocky at first, but then they clean up their act and start acting like they’ve got a brain. Eventually you learn that they aren’t stupid, they’re actually quite intelligent and just happen to do stupid things sometimes. Sure, sometimes they say something that makes you want to staple their fucking mouth shut for a few hours, but you can see that this is going to be a very good friendship, albeit one with some occasional swearing and threats involving throat punching. But then there comes that day where they say just the wrong thing and next thing you know, you’ve already planned their death and how you’re going to live out the rest of your days in Canada.
But anyway, enough about me and my (now former) childhood best friend, let’s talk Marvel. Recently it was revealed that they got their movie mitts on Spider-Man from Sony. That leak, combined with how 95% of the world wanted to set fire to Amazing Spider-Man 2 after an hour of watching it, didn’t do Sony any favors so like divorced parents, they’ve come to an agreement. They have joint custody of the wall-crawler; while Sony will continue to own and have financial and creative “control” (and I can’t use that word loosely enough, if ASM 2 is any indication), Marvel will be able to use him in their films. He’ll be making an appearance in an upcoming Cinematic Universe film before getting his own solo film in July 2017. This, in turn, knocks back the rest of Marvel’s Phase Three films, with Thor Ragnarok taking Black Panther’s November release, Panther taking Captain Marvel’s place in July 2018 so it’ll be pushed to November, and Inhumans gets knocked off to July of 2019. But of course, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 stays in May 2017 and both Avengers Infinity War films keep their respective May 2018 and 2019 spots.
When I first heard the news late Monday night that it was posted, my first thought was, “Hell to the shit yes! Marvel gets Spider-Man and they can do stuff with him that isn’t just a masturbatory slideshow of future products or the equivalent of a child hogging their toys so no one else can have them!” But now that the dust has settled and the information presented thus far has been allowed to sink in, I’m kinda on the fence. Don’t get me wrong, I like Spider-Man, but just thrusting him our faces like a child with a shiny new toy is a bit shitty, especially since this’ll be coming just three years after the last one, and especially especially because it’s taking center spotlight over T’Challa and Carol. One can make the argument that they’re still coming out, but understand that people have wanted a Marvel movie with a POC or woman as the main star for years now. To have Spider-Man just show up and Leroy Jenkins them feels like being promised cake for your birthday but it turns out you’re going to Arby’s instead.
Also not helping right now is what we’re hearing right now about the new Spider-Man. Marvel wants to make Spider-Man younger, about high school age. Okay, Spectacular Spider-Man had the high school setting and that made it work, so I’ll let it slide. Andrew Garfield is out; a bit disappointing, considering he’s the better actor both in and out of costume, but also not expected. But Peter Parker again? I honestly don’t think I could take a third film series about Peter Parker, high school or no; Raimi and Amazing already went through whatever villains and storylines they could with Peter, to varying degrees of success. I’m not looking forward to watching Uncle Ben die for the third time in 13 years, because I swear I’ve got his deaths on loop in my head next to a supercut of the Waynes getting gunned down. But I’ll take that in stride if it means I don’t have to watch Peter Parker get played by yet another goddamn fucking dark-haired white guy.
Currently, Logan Lerman from those Percy Jackson movies no one likes (not even the author) and Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf are the only two names listed as potential candidates. Both of them are in the running basically because they’re white dudes with dark hair, and there’s nothing about them that screams leading man material. Lerman wasn’t the worst thing about the Jackson movies, but he’s also just kind of there; I’ll admit to not seeing Maze Runner yet, but O’Brien isn’t nearly as great as the Teen Wolf fandom creams their pants over, because his role as the snarky human in a world of supernatural creatures could be played by literally anyone. And it has, on shows that people actually watch.
Maybe it’s not fair to pre-judge and to slam two actors who I haven’t seen in other things, but I don’t fucking care, I’m gonna be really annoyed if Panther and Marvel got pushed back for yet another movie with another white dude. I know that superhero movies are practically filled with them, but it’d be nice to have someone with a skin tone darker than the walls in an Apple Store in a leading role in one of Marvel’s films. There’s legitimately no reason for Peter to be white anymore besides being either tone-deaf or just really stubborn. I’ve never been to New York, but I’m certain that there’s more than just white people in that enormous city. If we’re going to go with Peter Parker for another one of these things, have him be played by someone not white. People have thrown out Osric Chau and Dev Patel, that’d be pretty fun. Honestly, literally anyone besides a white guy will do at this point.
Or, here’s a wild thought: Miles Morales. Y’know, that black/Latino Spider-Man hanging around in the Ultimate universe? He’s high school age, he’s been bitten by a spider, and he faces the struggle of great power and great responsibility, basically the only things that you really need to make Spider-Man. Sony said flat out that they weren’t going to do him, even though Garfield at the time that Amazing Spider-Man 2 was coming out said that they should because it’s a “really beautiful and important move”. Now in Marvel’s hands, they can definitely put him to use without having Peter be in it. The most common argument I’ve seen against this is that people “know who Spider-Man is” and “you can’t do Miles without Peter.” Okay, counterpoint–no one knew who the fucking Guardians of the Galaxy were until last August, so saying that no one will know Miles is pretty weak at this point. No one knew who Iron Man or the Winter Soldier were, and look how that’s worked out for them.
“But wait, they have to do Peter before they do Miles!” That isn’t entirely true either. If you look at the upcoming Ant-Man movie, that’s got second generation Ant-Man Scott Lang taking the mantle from Hank Pym. There’s no reason this method can’t work for Spider-Man as well, which is why I took the opportunity to write the best way to work Miles into the MCU while also acknowledging Peter’s existence.
The second argument I’ve heard isn’t necessarily true, either. If rumors are true and Spidey is making his first MCU appearance in Captain America: Civil War, there’s no rule saying that it has to be Peter. His role in the Civil War comic was to show how the perspective of the normal person changes during a time of war. He started out on Iron Man’s pro-registration side, then defected to Captain America’s resistance. Yeah, revealing his identity was a pretty big deal, along with Aunt May getting shot, but are those things really essential to Peter Parker specifically? I don’t see that being the case. You could use Miles in place of Peter, and what would make it more compelling (at least in my mind) is how young he is. Being a teenager, he could easily be influenced by Iron Man’s money and technology while Captain America would appeal to his desire to clean up New York and fight for the little guy. The fallout from Civil War from his perspective would be interesting. After all, teenagers are known for doing stupid and impulsive things, and a teenager with superpowers whose parent got shot? Miles would go ballistic, and watching that follow up movie would be way better than seeing Peter Parker putz around in high school for two hours for the third fucking time.
Is it fair of me to try so hard to stop Peter Parker from making his way into the MCU so Miles can finally get his time to shine? Probably not, but at the same time, it isn’t fair to have Panther and Captain knocked to the side for the third fucking reboot of goddamn Spider-Man in nearly 15 years. It isn’t fair that more than likely yet again there’ll be a Marvel movie with a witty white dude having witty white dude problems for two goddamn hours. I don’t know who ultimately made that call, Sony or Marvel, but not unlike the last two Spidey films, this announcement isn’t deserving of the ‘amazing’ title.
(Image: Marvel Comics)