Monday, February 23, 2015

Toaster's Ramblings - Spider-man has Come Home to Marvel (Films) Edition

The news about Sony and Disney working out a deal with the cinematic use of Spider-man has been known for almost a month now, but I thought I would throw in my two cents now that we seem to know a little more about what will be going on. For a while there were a lot of rumors running rampant, but some details seem clearer now, still technically rumors, but rumors with some weight behind them. Apparently the Spider-man franchise will be rebooted... again. It's unclear if this will be a "soft" reboot (Sort of like the new Terminator movie, it's a new direction with new recasts, but the previous continuity is intact) or if we are getting a full do-over. Perhaps they can call this set of films "Spectacular Spider-man."

The reason I wonder iof this is a softy reboot is that Sony still wants to make movie spin-offs of the Spider-man property such as Venom and that confusing Sinister Six movie. That last one is strange. It seems like to do a Sinister Six movie, Sony kind of has to keep the mythology from the two Amazing Spider-man films as they introduced four of the six (Lizard, Rhino, Electro and Green Goblin) and the sequel showed the Vulture's wings and Dr. Octopus' arms. Having to introduce all of that from scratch would be difficult.

Of course, Jonny and I have wondered about how a Sinister Six movie would work. Whom would they fight? Spider-man? If that's the case, wouldn't it be his movie versus the Sinister Six? Will they fight other villains? If so, Sony's going to have to dredge up some seriously obscure characters to rival those 6. Of course, they could just fight other Sinister Six members from the comics like Hobgoblin, Sandman, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Scorpion and Boomerang? That could be cool if it's not too chaotic. Personally, a purely villain driven film could be really cool, if done well. It's something that's never been done before and you could really explore the flip-side of the superhero world. It's like what Wanted could have been if they hadn't neutered the premise by making the film about an assassin's guild rather than super-villains that had conquered the world years prior. But, like I said, it would require the Sinister Six film to be written and directed well... something I doubt a mainstream studio looking to rake in cash is going to pull off. Why? Because Sony will want to play things safe and, unfortunately for them, a film where the bad guys are the protagonists is not something you can play safe. Put it this way, how crappy a show would Breaking Bad have been if Vince Gilligan and AMC had chose to "play it safe."

Getting back to the topic, it has become clear that Sony wants Marvel to help them make a better Spider-man movie. The deal is a win-win. Sony gets an improved product with the possibility of crossovers. (How cool would a Maximum Carnage movie be with Sony borrowing characters like Daredevil, Captain America, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, etc.?)  Marvel gets one of their biggest and most recognizable characters to help expand their universe, possibly as soon as next year's Captain America 3: Civil War!

One thing we know is that Andrew Garfield is out. Marvel and Sony are trying to find a new Peter Parker (last I heard Logan Lerman and Dylan O'Brien are being talked about). Of course, there is the discussion of having the Ultimate Marvel universe's Miles Morales wear the Spider-man costume on the big screen. I would love this. It would bring a much needed big name minority character to the big screen. However, I don't see it happening. First of all, it might alienate audiences. By that, I don't mean people can't accept a black Spider-man, though there are many that would have a problem with that. What I mean is that Miles Morales is popular with a lot of comic book fans, but if every fan of that character bought a ticket to a Miles Morales Spider-man movie, it wouldn't bring in nearly enough money to be considered a hit. Sony made this deal to make money, not take risks. Average movie-goers are the ones who make or break a movie's success. The majority of the knowledge about Spider-man that the average movie-goer has is from the movies... and by judging from the Amazing Spider-man's numbers, those films are from the Sam Raimi years. My guess would be that average movie-goers might not see a Mile Morales Spider-man film just out of confusion. Now if Morales were introduced in something else and audiences got used to him they might be more acclimated to seeing a stand-alone film of his. It's all about familiarity.

Secondly, I don't think audiences are done with Peter Parker. I read an article from someone who felt that people wouldn't really want to move on to a new guy in the Spider-man until we get some truly excellent Peter Parker Spider-man films. Lets face it, none of the Spider-man films have had that perfect combination. Tobey Maguire lacked the energetic spirit and cockiness of the Peter Parker of the comics. Andrew Garfield was closer, but still not perfect, plus his films had some other problems, among them failing to capture the fun spirit of the Raimi trilogy. I will put it this way, Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy gave us what I and many others consider a damn near perfect Batman and a near perfect set of films. I think it's because of this high water mark that Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers has chosen to make an older version of Batman and a female Robin, something we have never seen on the big screen before. Until Spider-man has such a great set of films, I don't think Pete is going anywhere.

Oh yeah, I want to add that while I love Donald Glover, he's 31 years old. Miles Morales is supposed to be like fourteen or right around that age. I'm sorry, but he's too old! He would be the oldest actor to start playing Spider-man in the movies.

Moving on slightly, I've seen some write-ups that Spider-man's addition to the Marvel films universe will have a negative impact on lesser known characters whose films may be pushed back to make room for a Marvel directed Web-Slinger flick. I fail to see how Marvel getting their masthead character to use in their already successful films if a bad thing. Yes, Black Panther and Captain Marvel are likely to be pushed back a bit, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. As the Marvel Films progress, it will become harder for them to keep their original actors. (By his own admission, Robert Downey Jr.'s days as Iron Man are numbered.) This in turn will make it harder for Disney & Marvel to produce films that maintain the success rates of their predecessors. One way to help is to introduce new franchises. I don't think pushing back a few of those movies, like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange, is problematic. On the contrary, it could benefit Marvel in the long run not to cram a bunch of new characters film releases into a small stretch of time. I mean, it's not like Marvel won't make those movies.

I look forward to getting what I hope will be some great Spider-man films as well as the chance to have him and his related characters show up in other Marvel films. Now all we need is Fantastic Four. We just need to boycott the new movie, cause it to bomb and Fox will hopefully decide to give it back to Marvel and just focus on the mutants. Sounds like a plan to me.

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