Come next year in Captain America: Civil War, big screen audiences will meet the third (re)incarnation of Peter Parker and his web-slinging alter ego in as little as ten years. Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy helped revive the superhero film genre and produced one of the best superhero films of all time (in our opinion), while Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man franchise half a decade later told another origin story, albeit with flashier effects. We've seen both natural and mechanical web shooters, plenty of high-flying skyline shots, and three goblins. With so much done and repeated, it makes sense that the upcoming (Spectacular) Spider-Man reboot has received a tepid reaction from some.
Marvel and Sony plan on avoiding repetition by (thankfully) ditching the origin story in favor of an already established, much younger Spidey. And as announced this past week after months of speculation, Tom Holland will play the teen hero. But are a fresh face and a bypassed beginning enough to spawn stories that feel necessary and new?
While promoting Ant-Man, Marvel Studios head hancho Kevin Feige addressed this issue, explaining to Zap2it just how the new Spider-Man movie will stand out from its predecessors and fit into the overarching MCU.
The biggest thing ... is that it takes place in this universe. It's the first time that you'll be able to see Spider-Man like he was in the comics, as a very different type of hero when compared to the other heroes in the universe. Up until this point in the other Spidey films - some of which are some of the best superhero movies ever made - he was the only hero, and now he's not. Now he's a kid in Queens with these powers and has other [superheroes] to look to.
With Holland's Spider-Man set to take a side in next year's Captain America: Civil War - which will feature the titular hero, Iron Man, and many, many more costumed characters - audiences will meet the new web-slinger in the immediate context of this shared universe.
And while it's unclear how significant a role he'll play in Civil War, witnessing the initial dynamic between he and his future fellow Avengers is an exciting prospect rife with character development opportunities. Will he act like a starstruck fanboy? A wide-eyed mentee? Or the wily wall-crawler many comic fans know him to be? Feige commented on this interaction, teasing how Spider-Man will initially grapple with the established superhero ideology as he attempts to find his place in the overcrowded world.
Does he want to be like these other characters? Does he want nothing to do with these other characters? How does that impact his experience, being this grounded but super powerful hero? Those are all the things that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko played with in the first 10 years of his comics, and that now we can play with for the first time in a movie.
Civil War will undoubtedly introduce this concept with the Spider-Man film set to explore it further. In fact, Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man is rumored to appear in the solo movie in order to test/evaluate/audition Peter Parker before he becomes an official Avenger.
So as it stands, the first two times viewers will see the new Spider-Man, he will be accompanied by other heroes - which could either be a sign of waning faith in the character's solo bankability, or more likely, an obvious testament to Feige's words and the ever-growing, ever-connected MCU. Which makes us wonder, how much longer can true solo films last in a cinematic universe that has become so reciprocal? We'll find out as Phase 3 commences and introduces new heroes.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.