FORTRESS OF NERDITUDE: Significance of Spider-Man
On March 10th, Superhero movies changed for the better, forever. A new trailer was released for “Captain America: Civil War.” If you’re into Superhero movies, then it likely blew your mind.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I really don’t understand why you would have clicked on a link to an opinion piece on the new trailer, but just in case someone tricked you into reading this BEFORE you’ve seen the trailer, I’ll help you out (I linked the trailer at the bottom of this page).
Hey! Welcome back. Yes, Captain America and Iron Man are fighting. Yes Black Panther is in the fold. YES THAT WAS ACTUALLY SPIDER-MAN!
Now, to the average viewer, you may have seen the trailer, and thought to yourself, “Cool, Spider-Man’s in this movie. Weird that it took so long. But I guess it could be cool.”
Now, you’re correct in saying that, because Spider-Man is arguably the most popular Marvel character, and he’ll be on the same screen with Iron Man and Captain America.
Why did they wait until they were already 12 movies into the franchise to have him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
But now that you’re thinking about it, you may have also realized that X-Men and Fantastic 4 are also Marvel movies, but in the MCU, they haven’t alluded to Wolverine, the X-Mansion, the Fantastic 4, Deadpool, or even the word mutant.
Short answer, they can’t.
In 1996, Marvel went bankrupt (it’s interesting to think that a juggernaut such as Marvel even COULD go bankrupt, but they did). In an effort to generate some quick revenue, Marvel sold off the Film Production and Distribution rights to other film studios. Seeing the big opportunity, 20th Century Fox grabbed the ‘X-Men’ franchise, the ‘Fantastic 4’ franchise, and the ‘Daredevil’ franchise. Universal Studios scooped up ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ and Sony/Columbia Pictures grabbed ‘Spider-Man.’
A stipulation was added to the deals that if a movie wasn’t in production and/or released every five years, the rights would revert to Marvel. That was the case with Daredevil, where a sequel couldn’t come to fruition within five years after 2003’s ‘Daredevil’ starring Ben Affleck, causing the rights to head back to Marvel, where they were quick to utilize them and create the critically acclaimed Netflix series (Season 2 out now on Netflix!).
Since all these competing studios have the rights to different characters, one giant shared universe could never exist. Marvel would end up making a deal with Universal to be able to use The Hulk for their movies, but an individual Hulk movie is still in Universal’s hands, which is why we’ve never had a sequel to 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.”
Once Marvel started to get the (money) ball rolling again, they realized they had the rights to The Avengers characters. That’s when you started seeing ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Thor,’ ‘Captain America,’ and so on. Then the big movie happened. ‘The Avengers.’ A movie that captured audience’s imaginations from every age group.
Seeing all these Superheroes on the same screen, all with one goal, it was amazing. It felt like something you’d been waiting your whole life to see. Once it finished, everyone wanted more.
Everyone wanted to see all their favourite heroes on the same screen. Maybe Spider-Man and Wolverine could join the group for The Avengers 2!
But it could never be. The studio’s head executives wouldn’t allow it, all wanting their own piece of the (money) pie. Fans who knew about Marvel’s rights battles were bummed out, knowing that something great could be even GREATER. But to the average fan, it just looked like they were forgetting Spider-Man.
Now, Spider-Man has already had five movies. The Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi trilogy (which was 66% awesome) ended when Spider-Man 4 was cancelled.
Sony, not wanting the free money machine that is Spider-Man to go back to Marvel, decided to reboot, giving us two Andrew Garfield/Marc Webb movies. Now, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ movies made a decent chunk of change, but not enough in Sony’s eyes.
And then, on February 9th, 2015, EVERYTHING CHANGED.
For me personally, I didn’t believe my eyes. Sony and Marvel decided to work together and split the cash (February 9th is my birthday, and being the gigantic nerd I am, it was also the best birthday present of all time). They pushed all the disputes aside, to work together to give fans what they want (maybe just a BIGGER free money machine).
After seven long years, Spider-Man was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The possibilities are endless.
Then, after waiting for so long, on March 10th, 2016, the trailer was released. At the end of it, Iron Man calls out “Underoos!” We see a string of webs steal Captain America’s prized shield away from him. He lands on a car, and there he is, in his red and blue glory. SPIDER-MAN.
In such a tension filled moment, with two formerly great allies and friends going head-to-head, Spider-Man, without a care, says “Hey everyone.”
It shows that rival studios can work together. It shows that this already MASSIVE universe can still get bigger.
What this means is that we can dream about Marvel and 20th Century Fox coming to some agreement one day. Spider-Man and Deadpool could try to out-quip each other. Iron Man/Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards can be science friends. The world needs to see Wolverine and The Hulk fight each other!
Spider-Man swinging into the MCU has reinvigorated our imaginations. It can only go up from here.
‘Captain America: Civil War,’ hits theatres on May 6th, 2016.
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War - Trailer 2
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