Spider-Man & The Future of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe
****MAJOR SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING & MCU SPOILERS AHEAD***
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a perfect Spider-Man movie. Is it the greatest adaptation of the hero? That’s debatable. (I still love Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.) When it comes to choosing the best iteration of Peter Parker on the silver screen it honestly doesn’t matter. What matters is telling a good Spider-Man story. To put it simply, if you’re looking for an amazing Spider-Man story… This is it.
The Tobey Maguire era ended with an overstuffed film that elected to include more villains and less coherence. The Andrew Garfield era suffered from over emphasis on world building and forgot to tell a Spider-Man story. Sony immediately understood they were, perhaps, a little too ambitious.
The Marvel/Sony alliance got off to a great start by bringing Peter back to highschool. And keeping him there! The Marvel universe stretches across the galaxy and features super soldiers, gods, monsters and billionaire philanthropists. Setting Homecoming in highschool simultaneously grounds Peter Parker’s story and allows Marvel to explore and entirely different set of themes and storylines.
That is Spider-Man: Homecoming’s greatest strength. They managed to tell an amazing story while smartly integrating Parker into the MCU. It all feels so natural. Of course a boy like Peter would idolize The Avengers. Of course his world would be affected by Loki’s Chitauri invasion. Tony Stark DOES make a perfect father figure. Especially with his rocky releationship with his father. These connections aren’t limited to Peter either. Michael Keaton’s brilliant portrayal as The Vulture is also greatly influenced by the events of Marvel’s The Avengers. He instantly becomes one of the better Marvel villains to date thanks to those connections.
It all works. It all fits.
So… Spider-Man: Homecoming is a complete success. Specifically in ways Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol 2 frustrated me. It was disappointing that Guardians featured no notable setups or connections to Marvel’s epic Infinity War especially with the franchise having DIRECT ties to Thanos himself. Watching GotG made me wish for a fast forward button. It made me feel impatient for Thanos to finally do something… (Read: anything) With Homecoming, I wasn’t looking past the film to next year’s Infinity War. Spidey’s full length debut got a, ahem, hall pass yet still manages to set the future of the MCU in motion.
The Avengers are still operating. Not only that, they are evolving. Stark has sold The Avengers Tower in favor of a state of the art facility ‘upstate’. Speaking of Iron Man, he’s never looked better. He’s more confident and has taken the role of mentor in stride. The events of Civil War left The Avengers broken. Spider-Man: Homecoming finds at least one version of the team rebuilt, upgraded and ready for the battle ahead.
We even got an update on Tony’s relationship with Pepper Potts!
Again… It all works. It all fits.
What interests me about the future of Spider-Man centers on a quote from Kevin Feige:
“This original 22-movie arc ends with the Untitled Avengers in May of 2019 and then two months later it will be Peter and Spider-Man that usher us into the aftermath and how things proceed from there.” (Independent)
Infinity War and it’s companion ‘untitled’ film will surely rock the foundations of the MCU. So why Spider-Man? A lot of people are concerned about Spider-Man’s future in the MCU. Especially with Sony moving forward with films set in their own Spidey Universe. Tom Hardy is set to play Venom and will go toe-to-toe with Carnage. That’s exciting on it’s own but you have to assume Parker will eventually join the party.
Why would Marvel position Spider-Man as the first post Infinity War film if they aren’t planning on keeping him around? Personally, I think Marvel and Sony will realize the benefits of their arrangement and make a deal. Especially with Spider-Man being groomed to potentially become the MCU front man should characters like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers take a back seat.
Will we see Peter lead The Avengers in a world of Gods and Monsters? In a way, it’s the perfect way to introduce a new threat after Thanos is defeated. Introduce it through the eyes of someone like Peter Parker. The entire MCU began as a simple Iron Man story and grew organically from there.
Why not take a similar approach in a post Infinity War world. Start with Peter Parker. The perfect character to launch Phase 4.
I suppose the biggest question about the future of Spider-Man’s story revolves around the aftermath and… Aunt May. With Parker confirmed to play at least a minor role in the Infinity War, how will Aunt May react now that she knows. It adds a level of tension that probably won’t be addressed when Thanos attacks. A Homecoming sequel is already poised to offer a natural continuation of Parker’s story regardless of the unverse altering events ahead.
Less than a year and two films stand in our way! Your move Thor!