Sundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.
On tap this week?
Spider-Man’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, pro or con? Discuss!
Troy: Pro: If this leads to more unification between studios where marvel’s properties are concerned I’m all for it!
Con: Character inflation. Civil War minus spidey already has a wide roster, and usually when this happens the story or film does not do each character justice. I know it pales by comparison, but please lets not forget the atrocity that was Mortal Kombat Annihilation. If Spider-Man is in the movie there should be a good reason, and not just done for shock value.
Mr. H: Very pro. Looks like he leaped right out of the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. I think we are going to get a great energetic performance. Plus it’s good slowly acclimate spidey to the MCU properly. I like the costume revamp as well. We are in for a good time especially with RDJ to play off of.
Steven: I don’t think there are any cons in this. Spidey has always been a great character and I don’t think there is over inflation of characters as Spidey started the MCU with the movies starring tobey maguire. And the rest just blossomed into what we have today. With that said, Spidey has to be in civil war. He is an integral part in the comic version of civil which means he had to be in the movie version. Disney had no choice but to go out and get home from Fox anyway they could
Alex: I actually disagree with the thought that Spidey HAS to be in Captain America: Civil War. Yes, he’s integral to the comic story, but there’s no reason that Marvel or Disney had to approach Sony just to get him for the movie. Trying to be overly faithful to the comic arc will, I think, be more likely to end in disaster.
Is it a good thing the character will be appearing in the MCU now? Absolutely. But would Captain America: Civil War have suffered without Spider-Man? I don’t think so.
Mr. H: The big question will be is he going to be outted from the get go as Peter Parker, or is he a secret weapon? Either way I can’t wait for this now!
Steven: That depends I think on how the story goes. In the comic books the civil was was about registering the super heroes true identity for all to know…..its the movie it looks more like it’s about restrictions on what super heroes can actually do. If its true to the story book then you might see Peter if it’s the just about restrictions it might just be Spidey and not at all Peter Parker
Mr. H: I think it will be the Super Human Registration Act. Tony said they ran unchecked. That would only make sense.
Steven: Then it may include Peter parker
Logan: Pro: We haven’t seen any teen superheroes in the MCU, and he brings a refreshing, youthful perspective. Con: Once his solo movie rolls around, it will be the fourth Spider-Man in high school story, and it’s getting repetitive. Tbh, I hope he bites it and gets replaced by Miles Morales
Elana: Miles! miles! miles! Having Peter in yet another movie is stupid and wrong. And if they do yet another origin story my head will explode.
If in the year 2016 you do not know the origin of Spider-Man it is because you’ve chosen to not know the origin of Spider-Man.
Logan: Honestly, the only Peter Parker Spider-Man movie I’ll watch is if he’s married or a struggling middle aged science teacher/Stark employee.
Elana: Logan those sound awesome! Especially when he’s struggling with New York’s housing crisis
Logan: Take a dash of JMS’ Spidey, subtract the totem stuff, and add the recession and perfection!
Katherine: Elana I think they’ve already said that the new Spider Man movie isn’t going to be an origin story, so there’s that.
Daphne: Pro all the way. I don’t think there’s any cons to this. If Spidey is introduced in Civil War, hopefully the Marvel execs will realize they don’t have to waste time on an origin story and can just throw him into some adventures in his next films without wasting time feeding the audience his backstory, AGAIN. I maintain (despite tumblr arguments to the contrary) that people aren’t tired of Spider-Man, they’re just tired of half-assed, lazy storytelling Spider-Man. With the right writers anybody can be an amazing character – take it from somebody who had no idea a year ago how cool Daredevil could be. wink emoticon I’m so excited for Spider-Man and Black Panther, I really don’t see any drawbacks to their presence in Civil War.
Mr. H: Couldn’t agree more Daphne. Bring it on!
Ryan: Don’t care. Don’t understand all the hubub, either. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think The Amazing Spider-Man or its sequel were particularly great, but they didn’t strike me as being in any way, shape, or form appreciably different from Marvel Studios product, either. In fact, I’ll bet any sum you’d care to wager that if those flicks had the “Sony” label scrubbed off them and replaced with a “Marvel Studios” one, almost everyone who trashed them would have thought they were great. The Dis/Mar “whisper campaign” against them was amazingly successful — for the price of a few free passes to a few well-placed internet “opinion makers,” they were able to spin a $90 million opening weekend for “Amazing Spider-Man 2” as a box office disaster and convince everybody that the film was some sort of artistic failure even though it was absolutely indistinguishable from the so-called “MCU” films stylistically. If everybody’s into seeing a CGI Spidey suit team up with a CGI Iron Man suit and a CGI HUlk suit to fight some CGI aliens with CGI explosions going off in the background, then by all means, enjoy it and have fun. Of far more concern to me than who’s PRODUCING the “Spider-Man” flicks is who’s GETTING PAID for them. To date, Steve Ditko has never received a dime from any of them despite, ya know, creating the character. And that’s not likely to change no matter who holds the film rights.
Madison: I’m pretty ambivalent about Spidey in the MCU. The marketing for Civil War has made it feel less and less like a Cap film with the multitude of characters in this one. I think, and this was one of my issues with Ant-Man, was that they had a chance to diversify their lineup but didn’t. There’s no reason that Spider-Man has to be Peter Parker or that Peter Parker has to be white. When Spider-Man is released through Marvel Studios, is it going to be the same movie they’ve released twice already? I don’t find it particularly compelling, but maybe that’s just me.
Elana: With you 100000%. They are being small minded and leaving money on the table by keeping the cast so white in the face of a successful brown superhero character
Madison: One thing that made me really bitter toward Ant-Man–I thought the story would have had a MUCH bigger impact if Scott had been a person of color getting a second chance.
Brett: I’m a bit with Ryan on this one. I don’t want to go through my long list of apprehensions (which includes what Madison has to say), but:
1) There’s the continuity issue and having Spider-Man in this universe the character and his world become a part of the Marvel universe that’s starting to show cracks with having to deal with all of these interconnected characters.
2) I think the Sony Spider-Man films are a bit like DC in that it’s cool to hate on them. But the numbers speak for themselves. On average they made $793 million a piece, none below $708 million. Marvel’s average is $757 million a movie. Take out the two Avengers and it drops to $616 million. Spider-Man didn’t do so bad.
So going by the numbers, it’s clear that no, there wasn’t an issue with Spider-Man. People paid a hell of a lot of money to see the five films, more than they’ve paid on average to see Marvel’s (that’s without inflation adjustments too). I agree with Ryan, this has been an amazing whisper campaign to spook Sony and get them to blink. I’d love to know how those rumors popping up aligned with meetings between the two companies.
The reason Marvel wanted Spider-Man? Licensing is my guess. No idea what the deal they have with Sony is, but Spider-Man is by far the top earning comic property out there. It crushes the competition. My gut says this all has more to do with that than about any movie, because when it comes to those numbers, Spidey destroys the rest of Marvel’s slate.
Madison: Just…how many times must Uncle Ben die. Marvel could be making even more money with Spider-Man, because I’d pay extra to not have to watch Uncle Ben die. In all seriousness, though, I really enjoyed TASM and I don’t totally understand the hate.
Mr. H: I’m all for Miles Morales in the MCU. If they have Balls they will do it, in the meantime I’m just smiling that I feel Spidey will be done justice on the big screen. Good point though.
Brett: I think it was beyond a failure to not go with Miles for these films. That film would do a billion easy. But, as far as what has come out, forget the sequels, the first film of each set absolutely did the character justice. I don’t see what Marvel could do differently.
Mr. H: Well Spider-Man 2 is one of the greatest superhero films ever. Doc Ock. Spidey. Near perfect. But Spidey like Batman is generational. Time to wipe out those last two films
Brett: I actually wasn’t a fan of the second one. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t love it as much as others did.
Mr. H: To me that movie was like a Stan Lee and John Romita masterpiece on screen. John Romita Sr. Is the best Spider-Man artist of all time in my opinion.
Brett: Yeah, there were parts I definitely liked, but overall I think the first was better. Just a personal thing.
Mr. H: I loved Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin. Just hated the suit design. He was brilliant as Norman Osborn though.
Brett: Yeah, I got back and forth on the suit design. Why it existed made sense, but it didn’t completely blow me away.
Mr. H: I think they should have went with a more chain mail style appearance like from Humberto Ramos art. But definitely keep the goblinesque mask but make it have expression. Loved the glider too.
Ryan: I have to respectfully disagree with the opinion stated upthread that Romita is the best Spider-Man artist of all time. His work is fine, but lacks, in my opinion, the personality of Ditko’s work. If you look at those Ditko issues, Peter Parker was almost always on the brink of either a complete nervous breakdown or some sort of apocalyptic revelation, and often over the smallest things. He was a lonely outsider fighting to save people that he felt intrinsically alienated from. The minute Ditko left the book, Peter Parker became a stereotypical square-jawed hero who almost always got the girl — and just happened to like science a little bit. I don’t think Peter Parker has been anything like an interesting character since Ditko stopped drawing — and, who are we kidding, writing — him.
Brett: Oooo this could be a debate for another time. Hell, could just be a fun feature.
Ryan: I’m not out to denigrate anyone’s opinion — if you like Romita better, fine. Cool. Art is subjective. But I think it’s undeniable that Peter Parker’s character changed irrevocably, and was taken in a far more traditional super-heroic direction, when Ditko left the book. Others may like that change, and that’s fine, but for my money it resulted in a hopelessly dulled-down character.
Brett: I didn’t think you were. Everyone has their opinions on good runs and what they do and don’t like.
Mr. H: Well for one we had the best representation of Norman Osborn. The Ditko version is ok. But not even close. The iconic scene of Spider-Man putting his uniform in the trash. Ditko was like Bob kane. Yes it’s classic and the first but many have improved upon it. Some of ditkos art isn’t that pretty.
Ryan: Pretty? No. Expressive? Unquestionably. I saw an interview with Dan Clowes recently where he said that Ditko’s “lonely outsiders silently raging against an uncaring world” was a huge influence on his work. The fact that Ditko’s work was able to have such a profound effect on idiosyncratic and iconoclastic artists such as Clowes speaks volumes about the strength and power of his imagery and ideas.
Mr. H: He gave us the groundwork. He is undoubtedly the father of Spidey but others have mastered it. Imo.
I am really digging Slott’s take on Spidey too. Was huge fan of superior Spider-Man
Ryan: I certainly thought “Superior” was the closest thing to an interesting and unique take on the character since Ditko left the character.
Elana: Ryan please write this essay Ryan!
Javier: Spidey is an iconic character, and it’s no surprise Marvel and Disney want to bring him into the MCU. He’s a money maker, and with the whole Spider Verse thing with Spider Woman, Mile Morales, Spider Gwen, Silk, etc … (not to mention the villains), there are lot of opportunities for them to make money off their stable of spider characters. I’ve given up on the whole continuity thing a long time ago, and it’s only a matter of time before they start rebooting the MCU, like they do in the print world. So long as they continue with the snappy dialogue and special effects, I probably won’t tire of it; and neither will the rest of the world. Could they fuck it up? Sure, some bad writing and bad directing; It’s happened before. But Disney has a long history in the entertainment business, and have proven to be resilient. The bottom line is I’m going to pay the money to see it at the movies, enjoy it, eat some popcorn, have a coke, and shut the fuck up about it.
Sean: Pro all the way, I just wish they got the rest of their properties from FOX, so we can also get a proper FF4 & Punisher movies
Katherine: Okay. Here’s my thoughts.
PRO: I’m a sucker for Spider-Man, and I think it’s good that we’re getting him as Spider Man and not Peter Parker. If this works out well for Sony and Marvel, this could open the door for other studios to work with Marvel with their IPs. (I’m lookin’ at YOU Fox.)
MEH: His CGI and suit. I mean, on my work monitor it really looked crappy, but then I saw a hi-rez picture of it, which made it look better. I’m just hoping that the finished product looks less cartoony on the screen and integrates better with the rest of the team. A plus is that it’s actually nice to see bright vibrant colors in the MCU.
CON: Yeah. At this point I think there’s too many cooks in the kitchen with this movie. The roster is HUGE, so focus is going to be a huge issue.
DOUBLE-CON: He’s not Miles Morales.
Brett: Amen on Miles Morales! And with that I think we’ll call it a debate. How about you readers? Where do you stand on the issue? Sound off in the comments below!