Marvel movies are currently very much like spinning plates. It all looks great, and is very impressive when everything goes smoothly, but if one is allowed to fall, the audience will start booing. Meanwhile DC is set to get scores of applause if they can ride a tricycle across the stage without it catching fire. It seems that the current state of Spider-man is much like that last plate that's been added, but starts wobbling right away. Is [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) all it takes to knock it off?
Now, I'm not doubting the efforts of Marvel in acquiring the rights to Spider-man from Sony. Taking Peter Parker back to more classical high school roots and even throwing him in with The Avengers is admirable, yet I'll be damned if Civil War isn't playing some role in this. Whether it's Asa Butterfield, Tom Hollander or any of the other veritable children playing him in this new incarnation, Marvel clearly saw the chance to put Spider-Man in Civil War, and thought "yep", like a hungry walrus reaching for a fish out of water.
Why is Spider-man so important to Civil War?
While not playing an integral, world changing role, Spider-man, or more appropriately Peter Parker, is important to Civil War for he almost represents the story conceit. Spider-man is the one Marvel hero genuinely caught between the two ideals, coming to embody both of them. Peter Parker sways both ways in the fight, and thus becomes the closest thing the story has to an audience insert character! This push and shove spurns from the moment Spider-man reveals himself to be Peter Parker to the world, showing his subservience to the Super Human Registration Act. What could he possibly gain from that? Well, a sweet new suit from Tony Stark is what!
These now iconic depictions of Spider-man may not come to fruition. In a Q&A last year, Kevin Feige confirmed that, while Captain America: Civil War would indeed follow the thrust of the comic storyline, it would not hinge on the Super Human Registration Act, where Marvel heroes are forced to unmask and reveal themselves for the good of humanity. This is a sound move, for ideas of secret identities have barely played a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. That leaves us wondering, how can an entirely new Spider-man begin when he has no theoretical place in Civil War?
Civil War is no place for a brand new Spider-man
The reason Spider-man's role works in the Civil War comics is because he's a character who, being Marvel's most iconic hero, almost all readers understand. The trouble with adapting him once more, and placing him straight into Civil War is that the audience could feel fatigued with how much he's changed. If someone like Asa Butterfield is cast, he would need time to establish himself in the role, rather than simply turning up to join the Avengers like some guy who's stolen our friend's clothes and wants to go out.
This problem could be navigated if Spider-man's role is dialed down, if he's a guy on the fringes of the story who we're barely supposed to know. That way, we can get to know Peter Parker at our own pace, and simultaneously enjoy the main story. There's just one problem with giving Peter Parker a fleeting role in Civil War.
Could it be a rush job?
Anyone who's read the Civil War comic will know that there is a LOT going on, and many characters with their own goals and motivations. Of course, Captain America 3 will be an extremely diluted version of this story, with only a fraction of the characters making up the full roster, because Marvel is only a little bit crazy with their ambition, not completely. The only danger with this reserved approach is the prospect of Spider-man's presence in the movie being rushed and forced. Suddenly, the strings will be apparent, and the audience won't think "hey it's Spider-man!" but rather "hey it's Asa Butterfield in a Spider-man costume because Marvel really wanted to tick that box!" Alright maybe they won't think exactly those words, but you get the idea.
How should Spider-man be implemented in Civil War? Should he play out just as he does in the comics, or should he not have a large role at all? Let us know with your own post here on MoviePilot, or leave a comment below!