Fans have been gleefully awaiting the appearance of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War ever since getting a brief glimpse of the character in the film’s second trailer. The movie finally hit theatres in North America on May 6, but reviews (and international ticket sales) suggest it could be one of Marvel Studios’ best films thus far, with Spider-Man being one of the major highlights. Spider-Man is an integral part of Marvel Comics so having him become a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredible news for fans. Here are five things that Spider-Man brings to the MCU that should have everyone excited for future Marvel films.
Return of the Flagship Character
Like Superman is for DC Comics, Spider-Man is the flag bearer for Marvel, the most recognizable character in an incredibly deep stable. That remains true even as the popularity of characters like Iron Man and Captain America has risen over the last decade. The costume for Civil War deliberately recalls Spidey’s inception, with bright colours and a thick black border around the eyes. Peter Parker is the Marvel Universe’s resident everyman. Everyone can relate to the challenge of balancing work, school, and a social life, and watching those aspects of his life become entangled with his crime fighting brings so much relatable depth to the character and the Avengers.
Another thing that makes Spider-Man so iconic is the richness of his world. For more than half a century, Marvel has filled Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Universe with amazing characters like Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, and Harry Osborn, as well as perhaps the most recognizable rogues’ gallery in comics. Every Spider-Man movie has featured a different villain, and that trend looks to continue with early word suggesting that he’s likely to take on the Vulture in the first of the rebooted films (titled Spider-Man Homecoming). It can certainly be interesting to see a new director and a new actor put a stamp on a character, but just as Batman needs rivals other than the Joker, the Wall-Crawler needs to face off against more than the Green Goblin, and now we’ll get to see any or all of those characters in the MCU.
Wealth of Source Material
As with villains, Spider-Man has a deep well of stories to draw from and that’s going to be huge given that so many comic book adaptions have turned to the source material for inspiration. The first Thor movie took from the early parts of the J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the book, while Batman v Superman was inspired by The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman and Iron Man 3 drew on Warren Ellis’s Extremis storyline. With Spider-Man, we could easily see The Clone Saga, Venom (and the Symbiote in general), Rage of the Rhino, The Sinister Six, and Kraven’s Last Hunt, along with individual moments like the deaths of Gwen and George Stacy, the conversation between Aunt May and Peter (Amazing Spider-Man vol.2 issue 38) and Spider-Man No More. There’s no shortage of Spider-Man stories and they’re all newly available to the writers at Marvel Studios.
Longevity of the Actor
The stories and characters in Spider-Man’s part of the Marvel Universe won’t have as much emotional weight if the actor playing him grows out of the role too soon. The audience won’t have as much time to get to know the character, which is why Marvel made a wise decision in casting 19-year-old actor Tom Holland. Though he’s just shy of his twentieth birthday, Holland has a youthful look that allows him to believably pass for a high schooler. The new series could take advantage of Holland’s age and build a few films that show Parker having to deal with teenage life and early adolescence alongside his superheroics. Keeping the character in his mid to late teens would allow for a longer series and make for an interesting coming of age dynamic as he gradually tries to find his place both in the regular world and that of the heroes.
The Prospect of New Deals
The fact that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures were able to come to an agreement over the shared rights to Spider-Man is a monumental accomplishment, even if it is primarily a business deal. The worst films in the MCU are still pretty good and they always make a ton of money. By allowing Marvel to take the helm, Sony practically ensures that they’re going to have a fantastic (and lucrative) relaunch of their property.
For the fans, it’s a win because it could open the door for similar deals in the future. Marvel and Fox don’t exactly have a cordial relationship, but if the relationship between Sony and Marvel works out for both parties it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see the X-Men appear in the MCU. After Thanos – and after the Fantastic Four’s most recent disaster – why not try to bring Galactus over as the next big bad threat?
Marvel regaining some semblance of control over the film rights of their most iconic character is huge. We’re almost certainly going to see the best version of Spidey we’ve ever seen on film, one that will likely remain for many new instalments of the franchise. We’ll also get to see him alongside the many amazing characters Marvel Studios has built up through their Cinematic Universe, and that gives us a lot to be excited about in the next few years.