Sony have recently cancelled the release of The Amazing Spiderman 3, after the announcement that they are joining with Marvel studios to create the future cinematic releases staring the superhero.
Marvel fans have been calling for the return of Spiderman to the studio which has had worldwide success with its ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’, after the not so satisfying results of The Amazing Spiderman 2. However, the announcement of the two film giants seemed to come out of nowhere, with many, including myself, never expecting any kind of agreement – after all, The Amazing Spiderman series only came into existence so that Sony’s rights to Spiderman would not lapse and revert back to Marvel.
The deal states that Marvel will be able to integrate Spiderman into its wider cinematic universe, including a role in one of the already scheduled Marvel films (most bets are on this being Captain America: Civil War), while Sony’s Amy Pascal will work with Marvel’s Kevin Feige on a stand-alone Spiderman film, which has been scheduled for 28th July, 2017. Sony will retain “final creative control” over the character, and will continue to have any and all rights to the franchise.
Good news surely? Sony have hardly done its best work with Spiderman, with The Amazing Spiderman 2 falling foul to the same problems which plagued the Toby Maguire film, Spiderman 3: too many villians thrown in all at once. This union with Marvel could bring fresh life to the character. However, as much as I am a fan of Spiderman, and of how Marvel handle their character on screen, I feel trepidation at this news. I can’t help but feel audiences are feeling fatigue with the Spiderman franchise. The cancelling of The Amazing Spiderman 3 adds to the pile of ever mounting evidence that the next stand-alone film starring Spiderman will be yet another reboot of the franchise, with the deal including seeking another actor to play Spiderman, which means that Andrew Garfield has been dropped as the webslinging superhero. I don’t think anyone wants to see yet another film where Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, three origin stories in fifteen years feels excessive.
This deal has meant that Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Captain Marvel have all been pushed back to accomodate the new release date for Spiderman. Consequently, we have to wait even longer to see an African American hero take centre stage in Black Panther and even longer for a female lead superhero film to come from Marvel, in Captain Marvel. I don’t want to see another straight white male superhero take centre stage. I don’t want to see Peter Parker yet again take on the mask of Spiderman. It would be far better for Sony to take a leaf out of Marvel’s comic books and focus on the webslinger in his Ultimate Spiderman series of comics: Miles Morales. Morales is Black Hispanic, and plenty of fans would welcome this change, bringing more diversity to the on screen superhero world.
Marvel and Sony teaming up to develop this character would be great if they use this opportunity to be brave with the character. Give us Miles Morales as the webslinger, or a homosexual Peter Parker. Anything else and it will be retreading ground which we have seen far too often on screen. This is a chance for the studios to be bold. But I’m not holding my breath that they will.