MCU Spider-Man...No More
Hey, everyone. Sorry for the shortage of articles, reviews, etc., but I’ve been getting back into the swing of college and all that stuff. But now I finally have some time to talk about something. And this week, I thought I’d bring up a certain web-head that’s been in the news lately. That’s right, I’m gonna lay out my opinions on Spider-Man leaving the MCU.
For those of you who don’t know, Sony and Disney/Marvel have parted ways in terms of Spider-Man, meaning that the beloved webslinger will not be appearing in any more MCU films, nor will any future Spider-Man films – to which Tom Holland and director Jon Watts are still attached – make any references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As to why this happened, the answer is many-fold and a lot of articles from both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have already gone in depth to the situation. Long story short: Disney/Marvel wanted to renegotiate the existing deal they had with Sony – which involved getting 5% of first-dollar grosses (gross box office revenue from the first day of a film’s release) on Sony-produced Spider-Man films while still maintaining the merchandising rights – and wanted to split it 50/50, wherein they would shoulder half of the production costs, but also get half the first-dollar grosses. Now this sounds fair on paper, until you factor in that Disney/Marvel would still have the merchandising rights while Sony would only have the film rights, and as a wise Yogurt once said in Spaceballs, merchandising is “where the real money from the movie is made!” Anyway, Sony tried to get Disney to lower the split, Disney refused to budge, or maybe Disney offered something lower than the 50/50 deal, no one really knows, blah, blah, blah, no more Spider-Man in the MCU.
Now, many fans were outraged by this news. In fact, there was a great article in THR about how myopic and overreactive the outrage has been. The less negative of disappointed fans, however, have been holding out hope that Disney/Marvel and Sony could come to something of an agreement, however, just this week, Sony Pictures CEO and chairman Tony Vinciquerra has put a kibosh on those hopes.
And how do I feel about this whole ordeal. Honestly…I couldn’t be more excited!
Let me explain by discussing my feelings about the MCU Spider-Man films. I have never been that big of a fan. I actually like Far From Home better than Homecoming, but they still are lacking some core elements that have made Spider-Man so unique as a character since his first appearance in 1962. The main reason people like myself and others love Spider-Man so much is because he is a normal guy with normal problems like money, maintaining his friendships, keeping up with his schoolwork, being extremely unlucky in the romance department, etc. And when he obtains his spider powers, those problems only become worse. This is the reason why many still proclaim that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is one of the best Spider-Man movies ever, second only to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (for me, it’s a toss-up between the two). It delves into how much Peter’s life is ruined by his outings as Spider-Man, and even briefly posits that maybe he would be happier if he just gave it all up to live a normal life.
Side-note: I’m so sick everyone on the Internet proclaiming how supposedly “terrible” the Raimi movies are, how unfaithful they are to the comics, and how awful Tobey Maguire was in them. Hey, if you don’t like those films, fine, but stop chalking up Raimi fans’ lingering adoration for them to “being blinded by nostalgia”. I wouldn’t be so annoyed if I didn’t keep hearing the same complaints: “Oh, they’re so cheesy and goofy! Tobey cries too much! Mary Jane is an awful character!”
Ahem. Anyways, the MCU Spider-Man films seem to forego diving into the consequences that should arise from being Spider-Man, instead focusing more on wacky jokes and Peter’s relationship with Tony Stark. Now, Homecoming did have a very good ending where Peter decided to reject Tony’s offer to become an Avenger and just focus on his little berg of Queens, but it’s undercut in Endgame when Tony just outright makes Peter an Avenger. And that message is even further undercut in Far From Home, which is all about Peter trying to live up to Tony Stark’s legacy. And even after Happy explains to Peter that he doesn’t have to be like Tony, the next sequence where Peter is designing his suit with Stark technology against the blaring sounds of an AC/DC track pretty much says, “Yep, this kid’s the next Iron Man!”
And maybe this all connects to the heart of the problem: the fact that these MCU Spider-Man films seem way too connected to the MCU. As HiTop Films said in his video about Homecoming, most of the character motivations and beats contain a reference to the MCU. And it’s the same thing in Far From Home; we have yet another villain whose motivation is based around Tony Stark, and again, the whole movie is about Peter trying to live up to his legacy.
But now that Spider-Man is not in the MCU anymore, this could open up all kinds of opportunities, especially with the ending.
SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM!
Now, at the end of Far From Home, after Mysterio is defeated, Spider-Man is swinging around NYC when a breaking news alert appears on all the screens. It seems that during their battle, Mysterio had one of his lackeys put together a fake video that made it look like Spider-Man attacked and killed him – everyone thought Mysterio was a hero by the way. At the end of the video, after a great cameo by J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson – the role he was born to play - Mysterio reveals Spider-Man’s true identity and a picture of Peter Parker to the world. The scene then ends with Spider-Man going “What the f---!” as a tribute to Homecoming’s ending.
At first when I saw this, I thought they were gonna treat this like a total joke in the next one, same way as they did with Aunt May now knowing that her nephew is Spider-Man. But now that Spider-Man is no longer part of the MCU, this could go in all kinds of different directions. Since Iron Man cannot be referenced anymore, Peter will have nothing but his wits at his disposal. How’s he gonna handle that, considering that Tony Stark basically handed him every Spider-Man tool on a silver platter? Not only that, maybe we’ll finally see how this takes a toll on Aunt May, who was never really treated like a character in these films, despite the fact that she is one of the most important characters in the Spider-Man mythos.
Not only that, but maybe Jon Watts and his production crew will finally be allowed to give the next film more of a visual identity as opposed to the grey, washed-out, drab color palette that is typical of MCU films. I mean, say what you want about Venom, at least cinematographer Matthew Libatique was allowed to do his thing, and the colors in that movie really pop, despite the fact that the CGI is still questionable in certain spots. And finally, this could mean a Spider-Man story with some actual, genuine drama that won’t be undercut by a string of poorly timed jokes. I mean, again, considering where Far From Home left off, this would not be a good time to make another wacky comedy.
Finally, the last reason why I’m so glad this turned out the way it did is because there is something basely cathartic about someone going up to a Disney subsidiary and saying “No, you can’t have what you want this time.” I mean, I know Sony is a big corporation as well, but we’re really talking about the lesser of two evils here, and when it comes down to that…yeah, I’m gonna have to side with Sony. Sorry.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.