The news finally cracked open! Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! What happens to be cause for a great celebration is also a red flag and disappointment for others. I’m torn over my abundance of thoughts and feelings on the topic, so I had to take to writing it down. I wasn't sure if I would survive, but I made it. And I documented the journey. Me, myself and I, talking about the good, bad and ugly of Spider-Man finally joining the MCU and the fallout. If I got past the turmoil within, I believe many of us will survive these dark times of celebration, disappointment, joy and outcry. Now, let’s take a look at what almost got the best of me:
Spidey-fan me: “Holy crap! Spider-Man is joining the MCU! This is so awesome! My nine year old self has never been so excited!”
Realist me: “Don’t get your hopes up. The Sony movies have been such disappointments Marvel Studios will have to work thrice as hard to make this count. Plus, the MCU has been fine without him.”
Spidey-fan me: “Yeah, yeah. I know. But still, Spider-Man is finally going to get the movie treatment I’ve been waiting on for years. I trust Marvel Studios.”
I go back and forth in my head, mostly trying to be positive about Spidey being in the MCU, but then something happens. More news is revealed regarding a movie date, delays and speculation on which Spidey will Marvel go with. The news of movies getting delayed was met with uproar. Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans were each pushed back to make room for a new Spider-Man movie. The delay of Black Panther and Captain Marvel are the focus, but in good news Miles Morales was trending on Twitter. Let's continue...
Spidey-fan me: “Wait a sec…look at these tweets… Oh no!”
Realist me: “Oh boy. Things just got interesting. Haha, are you starting to get upset, Raf?”
Slightly-perturbed, forward-thinking me: “You should be upset, Rafael? Can you believe that Marvel Studios just pushed the desperately needed diversity of the MCU back for another white-male lead? We’ve already had 17 of those!”
Spidey-fan me: “But it’s Spider-Man! He’s an icon. Spidey was the first superhero comic I liked. I thought he was so cool. Everyone likes Spider-Man to some extent, right? And why are you bring up the representation/diversity thing anyway? I’m just happy we might see Spidey done right! Then Spidey fans can finally be at ease.”
Slightly-perturbed, forward-thinking me: “So what! Open your eyes, man! You’ve been feeding a white-male dominated entertainment industry that doesn't understand the importance of diversity because they’re constantly represented. And after all these years you have been indoctrinated into thinking “white is right, white is normal, be like us, no one else really matters”. You should be screaming for Miles Morales to be the Spider-Man Marvel puts into the movies. He's already in the cartoons. On top of that, pushing Black Panther and Captain Marvel movies is a big spit in the face for everyone pushing for diversity. Damn, big business mother f-
Realist me: “Whoa, OK, chill! It’s not the end of the world. Those films were only bumped back about four months each. Yeah, people have been waiting since the Blade movies for people-of-color, comic-movie leads, and more abhorrently women have been since forever for even a single female-lead, but change doesn’t come overnight. And, to be unpleasantly frank, money talks. Red and Blue, Peter Parker Spider-Man is far more well known to the non-invested masses. These companies are out to make the biggest return. There's the licensing to consider as well. Marvel probably had to push up the release date so Sony wouldn't lose their licensing rights, just so Marvel Studios could be involved. Anyway, until we shake things up within the creative teams and business decision areas in general, and people continue paying to see white-male lead movies, things won’t change with the flip of a coin.
Spidey-fan me: “Aw, what the hell, guys? Pooping on my parade. I was only excited about seeing Spider-Man. You guys are making me feel bad, guilty and depressed about a Spidey movie, and I do love Miles Morales. I just didn’t think of him first.”
Slightly-perturbed, forward-thinking me: “And that’s exactly the problem. Change doesn’t seem to be occurring when you don’t thing of the half-black, half-Puerto Rican Spidey or feel bothered that diversity has taken the back seat for another Spider-Man movie that we all know will feature Peter Parker first. And you should feel guilty. You’re solidifying the status quo when you continue to support it blindly. By saying you 'don't care about race and gender, you just want good stories', doesn't enable change, it maintains the current norms.”
Realist me: “Hold up for sec. There is a way to get this right if Marvel is forward-thinking. We know Spidey will appear before his feature film, right? My bet is obviously on Captain America: Civil War. That will introduce Peter Parker Spider-Man to the MCU, and possibly Miles Morales, clever execution of exposition could knock out what kind of Peter Spidey is entering the fray--seasoned or inexperienced. If they go the seasoned route, this would come into play for the feature film which could usher in Miles Morales as the Spider-Man to take over in the MCU. A movie about passing the torch and future cameos by Peter Spidey for guidance would be an ideal, but it's a damn good idea. That way both of you could be satisfied by just having a little compromise.”
Spidey-fan me: “That would be awesome for me. When I put thought into it, Parker Spidey is an icon but Miles is way more modern and fitting for the MCU. I enjoy Miles' comics more too. To get both onscreen would be the way it should be done, and if any can pull it off, it's Marvel Studios. Hope Sony doesn’t muck things up.”
Slightly-perturbed, forward-thinking me: “Yeah, that would work. I still think Marvel made a misstep with this. Diversity is good, think about how much more confidence you would have about who you are if Miles Morales was your first Spider-Man. You probably wouldn’t feel like such a square peg everywhere you go trying to fit into the round hole. Diversity in media matters so much especially when you lack role models that instantly represent you. You’re lucky you were still able to latch on to a Spider-Man in general. Most girls still don’t realize there are superheroines out there ready to lead them to a better life filled with confidence and better philosophies.”
Realist me: “I totally agree, but regardless, the movie won't be out until 2017. Try not getting worked up, dude. Speculation might drive you nuts.”
Spidey-fan me: “So do I, about diversity, not the calming down thing. I’m still excited about Spidey in the MCU, no matter how crappy you made me feel, and you know I support diversity and proper representation. Stop acting like you don't know my every thought. Remember, cooler heads will prevail. Also, you know which Marvel Studios movie I’m most excited for...Captain Marvel.”
No Rafaels were harmed in the making of this post. Only sleep and appetite were lost.