First thought: YES!
It is very difficult to think of a single character who is more iconic than Spider-Man in Marvel’s comic universe. He may only be a reservist Avenger, but he easily stands among Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and even Marvel’s “first family,” the Fantastic Four. Not bad for a kid who got bit by a spider. He’s much more down-to-earth and easy to relate to than most of the other heroes, and his entire saga is saturated with the message, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
So, I am very happy at the thought of Spidey finally being connected, in any way, to the MCU.
Second thought: details! Is this as good as it sounds?
It’s not as though Sony has fully returned Spider-Man to Marvel and Disney’s capable hands. Instead, they seem to be listening to the age-old adage, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
If I understand correctly, the character will be shared between the two studios. Spider-Man will appear here and there in the MCU, but have his own franchise, tangential to the MCU, produced by Sony. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, is signed on to produce the future Spidey films together with Sony’s former-president, Amy Pascal.
So, with the mastermind behind the MCU as a whole at the wheel, Spidey’s future looks very promising.
Something I’m not clear on, yet, is how this affects Sony’s previous plans for Spidey’s own Avengers-esque franchise. Is this another Spidey reboot, or a continuation of Amazing? What about the Sinister Six, Venom, etc. spinoffs? I have no particular desire to see the villain-based movies come to fruition, but at the moment it looks like they may have just been nuked. Certainly, the next Spidey film seems to be scheduled to come out in July, 2017, instead of a rumored release date in 2018.
Now, here’s where I start grumbling a little. July, 2017, was scheduled to be the release for Thor: Ragnarok. Spidey’s new connection to the MCU pushes Thor to November, and has a cascading effect. Black Panther is pushed around Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 1 in May, 2018, all the way to July, 2018. Captain Marvel is pushed from that slot to the next one, in November, with Inhumans coming out after the climactic Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 2, in July 2019.
So, after the upcoming Age of Ultron, we will not see Thor again until just before Infinity War. Seems to be cutting it pretty close, and now we can pretty much rest assured that Black Panther won’t appear in the first Infinity War installment, and the Inhumans won’t appear in either film. It’s probably ridiculous, but I can’t help but be just a little bit disappointed at that.
Did something similar happen when they were making Iron Man 3? It was supposed to originally be released around the holidays, I think, in November, but it got pushed back to the May slot, and now we have a “Phase 2” film, Ant-Man, coming out this July, instead of sometime last year, after the Avengers film that was supposed to “conclude” Phase 2. Just seems like they were juggling all of these characters perfectly fine, albeit with a hiccup right after Avengers, but inserting Spidey into the picture might be throwing things off a bit.
Oh well. We know the Guardians aren’t appearing in Age of Ultron, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. As the cast expands and revolves, there will likely be some who simply don’t make it to an Avengers movie. Falcon, for instance, remains a sidekick, and had his wings clipped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while Age of Ultron is going to introduce us to Quiksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision.
Speaking of introductions, whatever the plans are, we have some fairly certain assurances of other heroes and villains being introduced in films prior to launching their own franchises. Black Panther should be appearing in Captain America: Civil War, and the rumor is Spidey will be there too. We know Black Panther’s enemy, Klaw, appears in Age of Ultron.
I wonder what else they’re plotting? Particularly since Civil War is supposed to debut next year, in Marvel’s May slot. That’s one year after Ultron has torn the Avengers apart, and launching the MCU’s third phase. But then we won’t be seeing the African superhero until after the Infinity War duology is halfway done, and there seems to have been some actual planning concerning his part in Civil War. In contrast, Spidey’s inclusion seems more last-minute. Are they going to alter/lessen Black Panther’s role to make room for the wall-crawling web-slinger? Or is this deal between Marvel and Sony driven partly because Marvel really wanted, perhaps even needed, Spidey already?
Basically, on one hand, I am stoked about Spidey coming into the MCU. On the other hand, this seems to have certain ramifications I am a little hesitant about, both for Spidey’s franchise and the MCU as a whole.
That said, Marvel has actually built up enough trust in me that when I say, “What’s gonna happen?” it’s with a certain dramatic thrill, instead of dread and trepidation.
I may grumble, but I’m actually a bit excited to see what they manage to pull off.