Ever since the Avengers hit the screen a few years back, people have been wanting to see Spider-Man join the MCU and interact with Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and the other Marvel heroes currently owned by Marvel Studios and Disney. Wish granted, because the web-spinning hero will make his MCU debut next year as part of the all-star, multi-hero epic Captain America: Civil War, and then will star in his first Marvel Studios solo film on July 28, 2017. He’s being played by young Tom Holland, a relatively new face on the scene, who likely will get a big career boost out of this prime role.
What will this new version of Spider-Man be like? Lots of big and little hints, as well as various rumors, have been popping up recently to help us formulate a preliminary opinion of this latest web-spinner. We’re going to look at what aspects of this new Peter Parker seem to be good signs and which appear to be rather worrying. Bear in mind that most of this is based upon partial bits of information and rumors, all of which are subject to change until the movie actually debuts, so take all this with a big pinch of salt.
#1) IT’S NOT JUST A CAMEO (Or is it?): The latest information, coming from an interview on the site ‘Birth.Death.Movies.’, tells us, “Sources have recently made it clear that there’s more Spider-Man in this movie than I expected.” Spidey will have at least one major fight scene. We’re informed, “His fight scene might be the one that really gets fandom excited, not because of how top tier the face-off will be, but because of how profoundly dorky and unlike any other big screen superhero fight it will be.” It’s a good sign to hear that the amazing wall crawler will have significant screen time in CA: CW. However, Tom Holland will not. Most of Spider-Man’s scenes here will be done by a stunt man in the costume or by CGI. The majority of the spider scenes were filmed before Holland was even hired. Tom Holland himself will basically just have a cameo as Peter Parker (And probably some looped-in dialogue.) So it’s a cameo for Tom but more than a cameo for Spider-Man.
#2) NO ORIGIN STORY: Excellent idea. This is a good sign because nobody needs a third version of Spidey’s origin within 14 years. Everyone knows the story by now. Screenwriter Jonathan Goldstein, whose working on the solo film script, explains, “You know that he gets bitten by a spider, and you know that Uncle Ben died. We probably don’t need to revisit that.” He’s right. Let’s just jump into an already established Spider-Man, the way the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batman jumped directly into fully costumed bat action. Marvel boss Kevin Feige told Crave Online, “There is a kid running already around New York City in a homemade version of the Spider-Man costume in the MCU. You just don’t know it yet.”
Now, you might ask, “Hey Mr. Feige, if Spider-Man already exists in the MCU, then why haven’t we seen him already? Where was he when the Chitauri attacked Manhattan, or when Ultron was running amok?” The reason is because Spider-Man will only have been around for “months not years” when CA: Civil War takes place. He will still be very new. The Russo Brothers, as well as writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, have said on ‘The Vulture’ site that this version of Spider-Man is a novice at crime fighting, having just recently gotten his powers. He’s only fought street thugs and bank robbers. This movie will be Peter Parker’s ‘coming out’ as a super hero, which is why we haven’t seen him yet. True, he was alluded to in Ant-Man, but don’t forget that the ending of Ant-Man takes place concurrently to Civil War, (see the ending) so Spidey would have gotten his powers roughly the same time as Scott Lang did. He’s a total newbie, but unlike Scott, he doesn’t have a mentor to train him.
#3) A “PROFOUNDLY DORKY” SPIDER-MAN: This is both good and bad. On one hand, it makes total sense, since this is going to be a very new and inexperienced Spider-Man, still learning to use his powers. CA: Civil War will be his first battle against an actual super-powered foe, so he won’t exactly be a polished warrior. Goldstein says, “We want to explore the fact that just because you get superpowers doesn’t really make you into a sophisticated, successful adult. He’s still a kid, and he’s clumsy, and he’s a geek, and he’s a bit of an outcast. And in many ways, the superpowers amplify that, and exacerbate his trying to fit in.” The battle scene will supposedly be very unique and entertaining.
On the other hand, this fight will be our one and only look at Spider-Man until July 2017, which is 14 months later. That means the image we’ll be left with of the popular hero is that of an awkward amateur. The problem here is that many comic fans—and we all know this is true—can be very reactionary and opinioned, and sometimes quick to become irate (Remember the anger when Affleck was cast as Batman?) so I can just hear the cries of ire and indignation by those particular comic fans who will decry the new adaptation of Spider-Man as a not-so-competent crime-fighter. For 14 months, we’ll have to keep hearing “Marvel ruined Spider-Man!”
#4) HE GETS HIS COSTUME FROM IRON MAN: Peter is supposed to begin the film in an ugly homemade costume and later gets a new outfit from Tony Stark when he joins the pro-registration side of the Civil War. This will be the classic red-and-blue webbed outfit. (Originally designed by artist Steve Ditko.) If it’s just a regular costume, that’s not too big a deal. However, if this is some fancy nano-tech armor, (something like the Iron Spider suit in the comics) it’s huge deal! This could be the biggest Red Flag that we’ve heard yet, if that’s the case! Why? Because it makes Peter dependent on Stark for his tech.
One of the key aspects that made Peter Parker so interesting in the comics is that he was a science prodigy. He invented his web-shooters. (Unlike in the Sam Raimi version.) He invented his spider-tracers. (Which haven’t been used in the films yet.) He has a Batman-like capacity for pre-fight prep where he often uses some gadget he tinkered together to defeat a much more powerful opponent. Peter is a young genius. That’s why it’s a bad idea for Peter to have to rely on Tony to get his tech. Peter’s scientific genius was brushed over in the Rami/Maguire films.
Even in the Webb/Garfield version, Peter generally needed Gwen’s help for the big sciencey stuff. Personally, I was hopeful that this newest interpretation would finally play up the smart-guy angle of Spidey. However, this bit of news about Stark giving him the costume could throw a body block to the idea of a brainier Pete. Big red flag! Some of you might be thinking, “You idiot! Didn’t you even read Civil War? Don’t you know that Tony Stark gave Peter the Iron Spider armor in the comics, too?” Yes, I have read it and I do know that. But the point I’m making is that Marvel needs to establish Peter as an inventor and science whiz kid in his own right before he starts turning to other heroes for equipment. Hopefully, the costume he gets will just be a regular suit, but with the tech-savvy Stark as its creator, I’m concerned that Peter’s genius will be ignored in favor of another Stark-stroking scene, due to Downey’s popularity.
#5) HE’LL BE ON IRON MAN’S SIDE: In the film, Captain America will have the Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Ant-Man and The Winter Soldier on his team, while Iron Man will have Spider-Man, The Vision, Black Widow, and War Machine to enforce his argument. So Spidey will be on the pro-registration side of the argument; at least initially. This isn’t really a big surprise, since Peter began the comic book Civil War as a member of Iron Man’s stable. Will he change sides here, as he did in the comics? Since Tom Holland is only appearing in a cameo, and Spider-Man will be masked throughout most of his scenes, I don’t think we’ll get that much character development from Peter. This is Cap’s film, after all. So it’s unlikely we’ll get the defection we saw in the comics. But you never know. There are rumors that Cap will have a spy on Tony’s team. The smart money for that one is the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who is listed as being part of Stark’s squad. Seeing as she’s a spy by trade, it’s logical that she’ll be the mole. Still, if it turns out to be Peter Parker who’s the inside man, that’ll be a nice way to bring some attention to Peter amongst a crowded pack of costumed characters.
And that’s our initial opinion of the good and the bad regarding the new Spider-Man, based on the limited information we have so far. Again, this is all subject to change (there is still plenty of time for reshoots and reediting) so we’ll have to wait nine more months to find out what Spidey phase three will be like.