With the announcement this past week of Spider-Man finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have taken one step closer to having all of Marvel’s characters under one roof. Yes, Sony will still put out the films and have creative control over what happens; but we’re seeing Spider-Man in a Marvel Movie! The Press Release (which you can read HERE) indicates that we will be seeing the Web Head show up in a Marvel Cinematic Movie first, and then in his own Sony film in 2017. The obvious placement for his first foray, would be seeing Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War. Lauded as one of the best events in Marvel’s history, it pit brother against brother in a superhero battle of the ages! You can read the wiki about it’s plot here.
The plot of the series follows a framework storyline in which the U.S. government passes a Superhero Registration Act ostensibly designed to have superpowered characters act under official regulation, somewhat akin to police officers. However, those opposed to the act, led by Captain America, find themselves in conflict with those in support of the act, led by Iron Man, with Spider-Man caught in the middle. The events of the series touch upon themes of liberty, moral responsibility, and civil order, with good-intentioned superhero characters finding themselves upon different sides. The series received polarizing reviews but was a commercial success, spawning many media adaptations.
One of the key players in the plot of Civil War is Spider-Man. To get him to be a part of that movie is huge news and will be the beginning of undoing the damage of what happened to the comic characters back in the 90s. Back when Marvel Studios didn’t exist, Stan Lee and producer Avi Arad wanted to get their characters some big screen exposure and there was a splitting of their popular franchises to different movie companies. You can see who owns whom as follows:
Infographic via TheGeekTwins
Fox: Deadpool, X-Men, Fantastic Four
Sony: Spider-Man, all of his Rogue’s gallery and heroes in his ‘verse
Marvel/Disney: Iron, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Blade, and well, anyone not mentioned above
Floating (characters that can go between studios because they exist in multiple universes): Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Kingpin
As you can see, it’s a bit of a mess with everyone all over the place. Since 2007, Marvel has set itself apart with it’s films, building a cohesive universe, and changing the way that we view superhero films. They have heart, characters we care about, and the scripts are being written by comic book writers. All things that the guys over at DC don’t seem to understand, but I digress. As Marvel rocketed to new Box Office heights, the other studios had their struggles.
Fox is doing good with the X-Men series now, but it hasn’t always been that way. X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins were complete wastes of space at the box office. Also, Marvel is methodically drying up that franchise with lack of merchandising and even in the comics. They killed Wolverine! Not only that, show me a Days of Future Past toy that wasn’t a Diamond Select minimate? As Marvel digs at extra revenue for the series, Sony is busy digging it’s own grave.
When the announcement of another Spider-Man film hit, it was met with wild dispute. Fans were still reeling from Spider-Man 3, and this new movie would be opening less than ten years later than the original Sam Raimi film. They would be seeing a basic unknown in Andrew Garfield, and Marc Webb was best known for a romantic comedy as opposed to an action franchise. With the odds stacked against Marvel’s most recognizable character, The Amazing Spider-Man made enough money to garner a sequel. Now this put Marvel in quite a predicament.
If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did good, there would be little way that they would recover their most beloved hero. They have the Ultimate Spider-Man TV show going strong, a new line of toys on the way, and a video game based off the film, which was received to better reviews than the film itself! They wanted the movie to fail in order to recover the rights, but it was still a risky maneuver. On the other end, Sony had everything to gain and lose with The Amazing Spider-Man sequel.
With their second biggest title being 21 Jump Street and the next after that, Monument Men; they had to make a decision. Put all of their money in Spider-Man, or possibly bankrupt their studios? As we can see by this week’s announcement, they decided to go begging to the House of Mouse. So, just what does this mean for our favorite Web-Slinger and the rest of the red-headed step-mutants that live outside the Disney/Marvel umbrella? I will let you know my thoughts on that in the next article.