After months of speculation, rumors, and cyber hacks, we have official word from Marvel Studios that they’ve finally brokered a deal with Sony, allowing Spider-Man to appear in their cinematic universe, thus pretty much guaranteeing his place on an Avengers roster somewhere down the “web” line in Phase 3.
We know Spider-Man will be introduced in a 2016 Marvel film (the unofficial word on the street and the most obvious candidate is Captain America: Civil War, considering the crucial role he plays in Marvel’s Civil War comic’s storyline.)
and following that appearance will appear in his own solo film put out by Sony but co-produced by Marvel’s Kevin Feige (giving fans hope that they won’t screw things for a third time). It is confirmed that they are looking for a new actor to portray the webslinger, but it is unclear as to how much of a ret-con they are performing on the character.
EVERYONE IS HOPING FOR IT NOT BEING ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY.
Since Spider-Man will first be appearing in another character’s film, my guess is it will somehow be eluded that he’s been a player in the universe all along—not unlike how Joss Whedon brought the Hulk into The Avengers (yes, I know he had his own solo film in Phase 1, but no one really thinks of it as being cannon, do they?). Following this logic, the film Sony produces thereafter will not contradict any events that transpire in the Marvel film he appears in, and therefore we can safely expect it not to be an origin story…
…but who knows Sony might call it a “prequel.” God help us if they do.
Now there have been a lot of articles and blogs posted since news of the deal dropped advising what Marvel/Sony need to do to ensure not only a box office success, but a grand slam with fans and critics alike. I’m not so much as going to list my do’s and don’ts, rather I am going to pitch what I think would make the perfect solo film for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, following his debut in a Marvel Studios picture, of course. Not an origin story. The word “origin” will not appear anywhere in this pitch. Get the hint, Sony?
If Spider-Man does indeed first appear in Captain America: Civil War and plays a role similar to his part in the comic book storyline, we could see Spider-Man unmasking
in support of a Super Hero Registration Act, thus his follow up solo film could deal with the fallout from this. Namely, I’d love to see how his secret identity reveal affects key relationships in Peter’s life—Aunt May, classmates, but most importantly, J. Jonah Jameson.
I know J. Jonah Jameson, editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle, is not a ‘villain’ per se, but he his a major antagonist of Spider-Man’s in the mythos of the character…always mistrusting of him and trying to convince the world he’s a menace. There’s a lot more complexity to the character than that; however, he’s a good man, but his actions are ruled by his fear and misunderstanding.
What’s more, Jonah sees himself as more than a boss, but a father figure to Peter and genuinely cares for him. Learning Peter has lied to him over the years, and is in fact, the thing he despises most in the world would drive him mad with anger, mad enough to make some pretty poor judgments…like hire a mercenary to take him down.
In the early days of The Amazing Spider-Man comics, Jonah, convinced he was doing the right thing, hires a shady private investigator, Mac Gargan, to undergo an experiment that will give him powers greater than those of Spider-Man, and thus the means to bring him to justice.
The second and third act of the new Spider-Man film could focus on Jonah’s struggling with his conscious and forming some level of reconciliation with Peter— an uneasy truce, that brings complexity to a franchise that his long been too flat and one-dimensional.
As for casting Jonah, obviously there’s only one man for the job. J.K. Simmons.
And right off an Oscar nomination, Marvel/Sony would be foolish not to have him reprise his J. Jonah Jameson (especially if they were to go with my pitch), because they’d need an actor of his caliber to carry the weight of the role.
The great thing about this pitch is that I think it could work even if Spider-Man doesn’t reveal his identity in Captain America: Civil War; we just wouldn’t have the added layer of Jonah (and the world) dealing with the realization that puny Parker is the amazing Spider-Man. Jonah is certainly flawed enough in his misdirected hatred for Spider-Man to reach the conclusion he must take matters into his own hands with or without the betrayal he’d feel from Peter’s reveal.
And in case Sony is worried that they need to retell Spider-Man’s origin for the five people who don’t know he was bit by a radioactive spider…I have the perfect solution, which would also help establish the relationship between Jonah and Spider-Man: throughout the opening credits we see flashes of Daily Bugle’s skewed front page stories, which serve to recap the audience of our hero’s origin and early escapades, but also establishes Jonah’s relationship and role in Spider-Man’s life.
Yes, I know there are talks of having Spider-Man return to high school and to a lighter, more humorous tone, and I support that 100% and think that can still be accomplished in the pitch I have given.
I just hope they don’t being the Norman or Harry Osborn anywhere near this film—NO MORE GOBLINS, SONY, YA HEAR!?!?
Lastly, lets dial back the romance. Not that seeing Peter struggle with the ladies isn’t part of what makes the character so fun, but Mary Jane/Gwen Stacy—been there, done that. They can certainly plant seeds for the future, but let’s focus on giving the audience more new than old this time around; maybe then we’ll actually get a Spider-Man film that is…
…dare I say it, amazing.