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Critic's Corner: Spider-Man joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Intros to every Spider-Man TV series
Greetings and salutations. My name is Steven Escareno aka Stevennix2001. And today's "Critic's Corner" topic will be regarding Sony and Marvel's new alliance to have Spider-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That's right folks. If you're one of these die hard fans that's been clamoring for the opportunity to see Spidey possibly team up with the Avengers, Daredevil, or any other character that Marvel Studios owns theatrically, then you might be getting your wish.
As it was revealed through the leaked e-mails by Sony's hacking incident, they were indeed talking to Marvel Studios about the possibility of having Spidey join the Marvel cinematic universe. What could this mean this mean for Sony moving forward? What will this mean for Marvel moving forward? We'll get into that now.
Like my "Superheroes Assemble" series, I'll basically going over the pros and cons of this deal, and conclude with my overall thoughts on how this might work out.
The known details thus far.
According to various sources, Spider-Man will be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for short), which includes the likes of "Guardians of the Galaxy", "Avengers" and etc. However, Sony still retains the theatrical rights to the character, and creative control over what happens to Spider-Man, in the Sony stand alone films.
However, it seems that Marvel will have creative control over Spider-Man, in any MCU film that he appears in. For instance if he appears in "Avengers 3", then Marvel will have creative control. However, any stand alone spider-man film will be distributed and controlled by Sony. Marvel Studios will not take any of the profits from the Spider-Man stand alone movies, which will be handled by Sony exclusively. And Sony likewise will not take any of the profits from any MCU film that features Spider-Man.
For example if Marvel Studios wanted to use spider-man in an "Iron Man" film for instance, then Sony will not be allowed to one penny of the profits.
Another interesting development is that Kevin Feige (the head of Marvel Studios) is going to be a producer on the new Spider-Man films at Sony, and the character is going to have another reboot.
Sadly, Andrew Garfield will not be coming back to play Spider-Man, as it's being reported that both Marvel and Sony want to cast a young actor that can portray Peter Parker, as a high school student again.
Of course, this also means that the announced Marvel films such as "Thor Ragnarok", "Black Panther", "Captain Marvel" and "The Inhumans" had their release dates switched, in order to make room for Spidey's stand alone film; which ironically makes "The Inhumans" movie take place after "Avengers: Infinity Wars part 2" now.
As for the previously planned "Sinister Six" and "Venom" spin offs, they've been pushed back indefinitely at this point. According to some sources, "Sinister Six" is still going to happen. Although it could largely depend on the success of Warner Bros.' "Suicide Squad" next year. If that super villain team up movie is a hit, then I'm sure Sony will move forward with "Sinister Six" at some point.
If "Suicide Squad" doesn't do well next year, then don't be surprised if "Sinister Six" inevitably gets scraped. However, we'll see.
As I pointed out before, Sony and Marvel have already confirmed that they're rebooting Spider-Man again, and that the new version (that's part of the MCU) will get his first stand alone film in 2017. Therefore, I wouldn't expect the set up from "Amazing Spider-Man 2" to play any part of it, as it's more than likely this'll be a completely different "Sinister Six."
Apart from those issues, it seems like an ideal situation for both parties involved.
Marvel Studios doesn't lose anything in this deal, yet they'll be able to utilize one of the most iconic superheroes of all time in a lot of their films; while Sony won't even get a penny for it. And, Sony gets to save face with fans, while having Marvel help promote their character in various MCU films. And if all goes well, then this could lead to the Sony Spider-Man films making close to the billion dollar range again; similar to what we saw in the Raimi days. And the best part of all for Sony, they don't have to share the profits for the stand alone Spidey films with Marvel. Everyone wins.
However, is this situation as hunky dory as it seems? Or should this be a cause for concern?
Pros and Cons of this situation based on what's been confirmed thus far
As I mentioned earlier, this seems like a perfect situation for both parties involved. It's been no secret that Sony has been struggling financially these days, and "Spider-Man" is one of the few cash cows they have left. And with their last "Spider-Man" movie failing to meet their financial expectations, it seems like a great deal for Sony to finally get the hardcore comic book community behind them, while still retaining the cinematic rights to the character.
Not to mention this takes away a lot of attention they got from the embarrassing hacking incident they suffered, in large part to the controversial "Interview" film; starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Not only does this mean a fresh start for Sony's "Spider-Man", with the hardcore comic nerds and geeks finally getting behind the it, but it also means that Sony could stand to make substantial profit from all this. Take in mind, Marvel Studios did manage to gain considerable financial success last year based on one of their more obscure properties in "Guardians of the Galaxy", which surprisingly became the second highest grossing film last year domestically; second only to last year's "Hunger Games." That's quite an impressive feat for Marvel Studios.
And with Marvel Studios giving Sony's new Spider-Man free publicity with him joining the MCU, it seems almost like a no brainer that this new reboot could potentially make Sony billions upon billions of dollars. After all, if Marvel was easily able to make "Guardians of the Galaxy" such a huge success, then you can only imagine how much money it could make with "Spider-Man." Granted, Sony will still retain distribution rights and creative control over all stand alone "Spider-Man" movies. We get that, but the fact that he's finally in the MCU might entice fans that were boycotting it before to finally support him on the big screen.
And after the last "Spidey" film got mixed reactions, this could go a long way in helping Sony gain back it's credibility. They may not be making any money off any Spider-Man cameos in any other MCU film, but they get free publicity for the character, which could trickle into huge financial success in the long run for them.
Sure, you might have some skeptics out there about this deal, but I'm sure with Kevin Feige acting as producer of the new reboot, then it might go a long way to help ease fans' fears over the situation. And assuming he's actually going to have an active role in the direction of the Sony "Spider-Man" films, then all that crap that was revealed about Sony executives not being sure where to take the character could turn out to be a thing of the past.
Although everything sounds good in theory, there are a few major issues that don't add up with this story. From my own understanding, Sony will retain all creative control over the character's stand alone films, but we also know that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are very meticulous, when it comes to their cinematic universe.
Seriously, Marvel is the same damn studio that Edgar Wright walked away from because he didn't like the fact that they made too many changes to his "Ant-Man" script, in order for it to fit in with the MCU. This is also the same studio that had Joss Whedon rewrite various scenes for "Thor: The Dark World", so they could give Loki a more prominent role that would align with whatever long term plans that Marvel and Feige have in store for us.
Regardless how each of the Marvel films and TV shows might've been perceived, each one meticulously plays a part of a bigger picture. Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are stingy about continuity errors, which tends to take away a lot of creative control from filmmakers that work for them. It's the main reason why Edgar Wright walked away from "Ant-Man", yet they're suddenly okay with having a character being a part of their cinematic universe that they have no control of?
What if Sony decides to take Spider-Man in a different direction that contradicts what Marvel plans to do? Granted, there's been a lot of conspiracy theories out there saying how Sony is merely saying they have creative control to save face, while Marvel is going to be the true mastermind behind the scenes. However, we don't know that for sure, as we can only go off the information that's been confirmed thus far.
And from what we do know thus far, the details of this deal are a bit sketchy at best. What if Marvel plans to do something with Spider-Man in an upcoming "Avengers" film that contradicts what Sony wants? And is Sony going to allow Marvel Studios to dictate to them about what direction Spider-Man should go in just so it can align with whatever plans that Feige has for the MCU? Or for that matter is Sony really going to listen to Feige now that he's going to produce the stand alone Spider-Man movies for them? There's a lot of questions to be answered, and we'll definitely find out in the coming years how this will play out. However, if it does pan out, then you can expect arguably the biggest movie studio partnership, since the days of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Of course, some fans might be mad because this is going to be the second Spider-Man reboot, in ten years. Look, we have to face reality. If fans wanted Spider-Man to join the MCU, then it was going to have to be rebooted. That's just the reality because if Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man was part of this deal, then it would've created a huge plot hole for both film studios to address.
Marvel Studios would be stuck with the nagging question of "Where was Spider-Man during the alien invasion in New York?" Or where the hell was Shield when Dr. Connors was turning people into Lizards? And why the hell hasn't Shield looked into Oscorp? As Val Kilmer said in "Batman Forever", "It just raises too many question." The reality is if fans want Spider-Man in the MCU, then a reboot is a necessary evil; even at the expense of recasting all the actors involved.
Don't get me wrong, I like Andrew Garfield, but he knew what the stakes were. He knew that there wasn't any guarantees; in spite of his multi picture deal. Is it fair to him? No, but that's life. Was it fair to Brandon Routh that he only got one shot to be Superman? Certainly not, but we can't control that. Plus, Hollywood has been rebooting superheroes for decades, so this is hardly uncommon.
However, fans do have a point that it is way too soon to reboot Spider-Man. Seriously, two reboots in less than ten years? Wow. And would it work? Take in mind. Part of the reason "The Incredible Hulk" under performed at the box office was because many people thought it was a sequel to the poorly received Ang Lee version. This was mainly due to the fact that the film came out five years after Ang's original "Hulk" film.
Plus, the fact that it wasn't an origin story per say, and the fact that the story picks up where the character coincidentally left off in the Ang Lee version, didn't exactly help either. However, if Sony and Marvel can somehow reboot Spider-Man, while making it perfectly clear to audiences that this new version has NOTHING to do with the previous incarnations, then it might work.
All I can really say is that it should be interesting to see how this partnership plays itself out. While I'm sure a lot of hardcore fans would've preferred for the rights to Spider-Man to revert back to Marvel completely, I'm sure this'll be the next best thing.
And assuming Sony listens to whatever input Feige has as a producer, then we could be in for some great Spider-Man stories on the big screen. Although many people are questioning who the next Spider-Man could be, I'm actually hoping for an unknown to be honest. Besides, if Sony and Marvel are serious about making Peter Parker a high school student again, then why not cast someone around that age who's virtually an unknown?
Personally if I had my way, I'd cast an unknown, while signing Matthew Vaughn to direct the next solo "Spider-Man" flick. After watching his "Kick-Ass" films, it's quite obvious that Matthew Vaughn knows how create great action films that feature heavy doses of humor and dramatic flair, which is exactly what a "Spider-Man" film needs. Plus if Sony and Marvel cast a guy that's around fifteen or sixteen years old, then we know Matthew Vaughn can make Spidey kicking a** around that age believable. Heck, if he can make a ten year old girl kicking a** believable in "Kick-Ass", then I have no doubt he could do the same for Spidey.
However, I doubt seriously that Sony or Marvel would consider him, but who knows? All I know is that it should be interesting to see how Spider-Man interacts with the MCU, and what effect this'll have moving forward. I just hope that Sony and Marvel Studios realize the power it has now.
As Uncle Ben once said, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." Let's hope that both Marvel Studios and Sony are up to the task at living up to Uncle Ben's advice.
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© 2015 Steven Escareno