Spider-Man looks set to be yanked from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe after negotiations failed with Sony Pictures, but a retreat from the MCU’s expansive web might solve all the franchise’s problems.
Marvel Studios and Sony previously agreed to a deal which allowed Tom Holland’s web-slinger to spend time with both his corporate parents.
In return for appearances with Marvel’s Avengers in the MCU, the studio’s boss Kevin Feige acted as a lead producer on Sony’s solo outings, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, to help steer the ship.
The breakdown of this deal has, unsurprisingly, caused uproar – with the now customary online petitions already in full swing. It’s understandable from the perspective of not seeing Tom Holland shoot superpowers with Captain Marvel, Black Panther or Thor again.
But for those who want a more fulfilling, engaging version of Spider-Man on screens, these severed ties could give Peter Parker the freedom he deserve.
Both Homecoming and Far From Home, while perfectly enjoyable, suffered from distracting tissue connecting to Marvel’s wider plans.
The repeated appearances from Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and Jon Favreau’s Happy, for example, felt like unnecessary bloat in his solo outings.
The subplot with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury and Maria Hill were the main bum note in Far From Home too, lumbering tired characters into a mix that took the shine from Tom Holland and Zendaya’s chemistry.
It’s unclear whether this broken deal will strip this out altogether, but the idea of a Spider-Man flick that predominantly focuses on Spider-Man characters would be welcome at this point.
Spider-Man has easily the most interesting cast of supporting players and villains in Marvel’s pantheon (Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Norman Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson), which would likely continue to be criminally side-lined when you consider Marvel Studios’ expanding plan with Blade, Disney+ shows, and next year’s Eternals.
The outcry of Spidey’s return to Sony feels largely down to the studios poor reputation from handling The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield, but that dismisses their recent successes.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, produced by Sony Pictures, is regarded as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made and won an Oscar for Best Animated Film. Venom might have proved more divisive among critics, but the fact it became the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2018 proves it, at least, cast some positive spell with audiences worldwide.
If anything, it’s surprising Marvel and Disney weren’t willing to agree to Sony’s terms considering Tom Holland’s winning charm.
His version of Spider-Man was a refreshing standout across Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, with the next wave of superheroes, like Captain Marvel, Falcon, and Doctor Strange, now looking considerably more drab without him.
The fact Spidey was lined-up as Tony Stark’s heir too feels like another awkward note Marvel now has to overcome.
Spider-Man might be Marvel’s most famous superhero, but his story and world is better served outside of their cinematic universe.
The potential absence of the web-slinger in future Avengers movies might be a difficult pill to swallow, but if it leads to a focused spotlight on Spider-Man’s world without Nick Fury crashing the party – the split from Marvel Studios can’t come soon enough.
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