Doing it Right: Untangling Spider-Man’s Web

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Well kids, it happened. Rumors had been pointing to this event for a while as cynical logic and studio execs denied its possibility.

Spider-Man is finally being brought into the fold. The Web-head will be a part of the extremely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sony Pictures will be maintaining final control over the webslinger, and Marvel Studios will essentially be brought on board to help guide the usage of Spider-Man, as audiences generally seemed to have problems with the Amazing Spider-Man attempts. While I do have faith in Marvel’s abilities moving forward with the character, I’m still a bit wary of what will be done. So naturally, I’m going to write down all of my requests for how the new movies should be handled just so I can scream out in agony while watching the 2017 film if any of my upcoming terms aren’t met.

So… you guys

Take a look.

Disclaimer: There have been reports going back and forth about if Marvel and Sony were going to go the Miles Morales route or not. It seems like either might happen at this point. That said, I’m all for Mr. Morales getting his time on the big screen, but unfortunately I don’t know too much about that character. I’ve written the guidelines below in relation to the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

He sucks

Okay, this one requires a bit of clarification. Spider-Man doesn’t suck. Well, at least, as a character he doesn’t suck.

But his life definitely does.

Spider-Man having a shitty life is a central aspect of the character that cannot be ignored. He’s poor, awkward, and misunderstood. And I prefer him not to be a very gorgeous dude.

Pictured above: Gorgeous dude.

Pictured above: Gorgeous dude.

The thing that has always made ‘ol Spidey one of the most interesting and enduring characters has been his perpetual underdog status. Peter Parker is picked on at school, he’s not noticed at work, he comes from a very financially-modest household, and the general public believes Spider-Man is some sort of scumbag criminal.  And yet, with all of these things stacked against the guy, he still chooses to run into that burning building, to go to class each day, and to hand in photos to an unappreciative boss. Not necessarily in that order.

His optimism constantly takes hits, but he always regains faith in people. The scrawny kid lives his life by the legendary words of Chumbawumba–the world knocks him down, but he gets up again.

Of the two previous series, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films portrayed this aspect better. For my taste, the Amazing Spider-Man films attempted to make Peter a bit too cool with the broody, kickflippin’ Andrew Garfield.

The only place I want to see Spider-Man on a skateboard.

This is the only place I want to see Spider-Man on a skateboard.

In those movies, it seemed as though Peter came from a pretty financially stable background, while being pretty confident. Not to mention when we saw Peter standing next to Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy… it made sense. That doesn’t work for me. Peter always needs to seem as if he’s out of his league–whether it be in dating, in his professional life, or in a brawl. Constantly putting Spider-Man out of his league makes the character that much more impressive when he overcomes the odds.

Commit to his Life

One of my biggest frustrations with each of the last two Spider-Man franchises was how they sped through Peter Parker’s life circumstances. We barely spent any time with Peter in high school before he went off to college, and after that we barely spent any time with him as a struggling college student. In all of the best Spider-Man stories, there’s always something going on in the background that Peter doesn’t have time to deal with–whether it be his job, his studies, or his relationships. While we saw snippets of Parker’s high school and college life in the films, that’s not enough to hammer home the idea that his life as Peter Parker withers as he commits to his responsibility as Spider-Man.

Oh, you missed a test because you had to go fight the Vulture? That doesn’t seem like a big deal.

What about if you’ve missed nearly half of your tests over the course of the school year because of your commitment to keeping New York safe? Your Aunt now thinks that you’re turning into a delinquent because of your Uncle’s death, and your internship at The Daily Bugle is about to be revoked as a result of your poor academic performance.

I think the second choice is better. If Marvel and Sony choose to have Spidey be a high schooler, then STICK WITH IT. I’m talking for at least three or four films. If the Harry Potter movies were able to do it, I can’t see why this next batch can’t. We’ve seen Spider-Man briefly as a high schooler, but we’ve never seen the films commit to that.

On the flip-side, what if the producers want to have their Spider-Man dealing with a different set of problems than the Spider-Men we’ve seen? You could nab an older Peter Parker, one in his late 20’s. This Peter could be dealing with slightly different stresses, like trying to succeed as a competent science teacher in the city while also working to keep its citizens safe.

"Hangin' with Mr. Parker"

“On the next episode of Hangin’ with Mr. Parker”

But again, if we’re seeing this established as Parker’s life, I want to see how those stresses stack up over time.

People Don’t Rely on Him.

Have I mentioned that Spider-Man’s got it rough? Spider-Man is accepted with the same level of competence in the Marvel Universe as Donald Trump was in the 2012 presidential election. When you’re in a bank that’s being held up (a very common occurrence in the Marvel world) and Spider-Man plops in through the window, you’re more likely to react with an expression of

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…that, than relief.

As big as Spider-Man has always been, he’s never really been associated with a group in the way that other notable heroes like Captain America and Batman have. And while he’s had some short stints working with groups like the Fantastic Four and The Avengers–he’s usually left on his own.

Why? Because he’s “just a kid” AND he’s a P.R. nightmare. Spider-Man never really gets recognition for the incredible things he’s done as the media in the Marvel world has done a great job of painting him as an inept menace. This leaves us some room for really cool things to happen to Spidey once he finally does meet The Avengers. Spider-Man is meant to be like the messy little brother that The Avengers will play with when they’re forced to. And when Spider-Man is brought into play, you can be sure he’ll end up saving all of the Avengers’ butts.

^^ What Spider-Man will save ^^

^^ What Spider-Man will save ^^

And I’m sure some great quips will be provided by the web-head  during the butt-saving, of course.

Dichotomy

This is an aspect of the character that’s been slightly touched on in the past cinematic iterations, but not nearly as developed as it should be.

Peter Parker feels alive when he puts on the Spider-Man mask. The Spider-Man persona imbues Peter with confidence and comfort that allows him to give a voice to his usually silenced inner-thoughts. Just watching Spidey slinging around, spouting off SICK zingers is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face, but the thing that can really bring weight to that much-beloved trait of the character is commitment to Peter’s public persona.

Peter Parker is cripplingly shy, fumbling, and has difficulty talking to anyone, let alone girls.

Especially one that looks like this.

Especially one that looks like this.

The only reason Peter should be comfortable talking to a Mary Jane is because he grew up with her. Peter is the kid who sat in the back row of each of your classes, never talking. He’s the kid who stared down at his feet wherever he walked. The Spider-Man persona grants Peter the ability to disassociate himself from the “Puny Parker” identity pushed on him at school–and he takes full advantage of that opportunity.

We Know How he Got his Powers

This one should be fairly self-explanatory, but I feel the need to state this just because it’s so widely agreed upon. Spider-Man is already one of the most widely-known and widely-loved comic book characters around. He’s had nearly four movies come out in the past ten years. So, we definitely don’t need to see how the character got his powers again. Nor do we need to see Uncle Ben getting murdered again–I don’t think my heart could take it. I’ve just recently regained the courage to go down the rice aisle at the supermarket.

MAYBE the new movie can get away with a quick aside or reference to Uncle Ben’s death or Peter being bit by a radioactive spider, but aside from that… leave it be, dudes.

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So, am I being too picky with those requests? Possibly. I just really like Spider-Man and want to see the character done right this time. What are you hoping to see in this new iteration? Feel free to comment below and I’ll include those requests in the PowerPoint presentation I’m not scheduled to make at Kevin Feige’s house.

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