As most anyone who cares even remotely about superhero cinema has heard by now, Marvel is rebooting Spider-Man yet again.
After franchises directed by both Sam Raimi and Marc Webb (starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, respectively) fizzled out, the new attempt is being made not as a third solo franchise but as an immediate introduction of the hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Basically, this means that Spider-Man will be joining the same cinematic saga/timeline in which the Avengers live, in accordance with the comics upon which the upcoming Captain America: Civil War are based.
Naturally this has caused (and will continue to cause) mixed reactions from fans. Some believe it’s too soon for a third modern Spider-Man no matter how he’s presented, or that the Spider-Man story is so thoroughly established that he’s an awkward fit, at this point, in the MCU. Others simply accept it as part of a faithful adaptation of the comics, or they’re excited to see what a Spidey in an entirely new atmosphere will look like.
Whatever your personal feelings on the matter, here are three important questions that will interest us all with regard to the new Spider-Man.
1. Can MCU’s Spidey retain the charm?
One of the best write-ups of the details we already know about the MCU Spider-Man comes from Cinelinx, which focused a piece on this subject on five key points. Some of these points, such as Spider-Man joining team Stark in Civil War (as he does in the comic), are exciting. But others leave the character sounding a little more forced and decidedly less charming than the Spider-Man that modern film fans have already come to love, or at least understand.
A lot of the appeal of Spider-Man, and really Peter Parker, is his youth and humility. Right now the MCU is filled with larger-than-life characters with egos to back up their statuses. Tony Stark is a self-described “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist”; Thor is a god; Hulk can’t appear without ripping up a city; and even Captain America, despite his humble origins, is basically a war hero from day one.
We know Parker as a scrappy high school student, ripped apart by love and bullies as often as by bad guys. But in his introduction to the MCU, it sounds as if Parker will be thrust right into the thick of things. Cinelinx specifically notes that there will be no origin story, and this is probably a good thing as it’s been done twice this century already. Even though it’s also pointed out that Parker will be “profoundly dorky,” it’s hard to imagine him retaining his city boy charm if he’s immediately swept under Tony Stark’s wing.
2. Does this mean Green Goblin?
Spider-Man has a lot of noteworthy nemeses in comic books, but in film—and, as a result, modern media in general—the Green Goblin has become his signature adversary. Willem Dafoe memorably portrayed Norman Osbourne, and by extension the Goblin, in the Raimi series while James Franco adopted the Goblin suit later on. Meanwhile, Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ended with the emergence of a new, young Goblin in the form of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osbourne.
Beyond, and perhaps as a result of these appearances in film, the Goblin has also become a staple in Spider-Man video games, which are already more popular than those of any other Marvel hero. Gala Casino has even offered players the chance to “take down the Green Goblin” in an online game. This demonstrates that even when he’s not part of a larger action environment, the Goblin functions as a recognsable enough symbol of the Spider-Man comics to be used as an attraction to fans.
But will the Marvel folks agree? On the one hand, Spidey’s indoctrination to the MCU probably implies he’ll get in on the action of fighting bigger, badder villains. On the other hand, Goblin (and by extension Norman and Harry Osbourne) is a perfect foil to Tony Stark—a mad, brilliant scientist who even as a somewhat comparable suit. And Stark is supposedly going to be Spider-Man’s mentor.
3. What about the suit?
Goblin’s suit aside, what can we expect from Spider-Man’s costume? If we’re to trust the information put forth in the Cinelinx article, the Spider-Man we see in Civil War, at least, will probably be dressed rather crudely. That article revealed that most of Spidey’s scenes in the film will be action scenes, with a stunt man in a suit, while new Peter Parker Tom Holland (a young actor who was simply exceptional in The Impossible) will merely make a cameo.
Evidently, on the MCU timeline, Spider-Man is already out there in his early days of fighting crooks and discovering the range of his powers, and this is his level of sophistication as he’ll be introduced. Perhaps a red hoodie should be the expectation.
That said, Marvel maestro Kevin Feige had some interesting comments quoted at Cinema Blend in which he strongly implied we’ll be seeing a full, new costume. Given that the next Spider-Man solo film isn’t due out until 2017, that’s a decent hint that a new costume will be visible in Civil War. Feige praised the Raimi series in particular for its costume design, and said that the MCU version will be very different, but “classic Spidey” nonetheless.
What exactly this means is anyone’s guess, though it’s worth noting that versions of the comics feature Tony Stark making a high-tech suit for Peter Parker. If that’s the case, it’s easy to imagine the suit being revealed toward the end of Civil War, perhaps even in a post-credits teaser for the Spider-Man solo film to come. But that’s purely speculation.
These are just a few of many questions fans are sure to have about the latest interpretation of the classic superhero, but these three will play very key roles in defining the direction of the new Spider-Man.