I've finally had time to fully digest the news that SPIDER-MAN HAS BEEN REVEALED!!!!
*ahem* Sorry about that.
Just as I had made peace with the fact that he wasn't going to show up in the trailers at all, he finally appeared. After eight years, the moment we all wanted came: Marvel's flagship hero has finally been introduced in the MCU. I had goosebumps all the way through the Captain America: Civil War trailer and my favorite arachnid-themed superhero's appearance was the icing on the cake. We all knew he was going to appear, I just expected to have to wait until I saw the film.
The trailer does reveal one interesting development: Spider-Man is on #TeamIronMan (use that on Twitter and get the cool little emoji) — but is there a chance he may change allegiances and join #TeamCap in the course of the film?
Why The Split?
Just in case you don't know, the film revolves around a disagreement about regulation of superheroes. General Ross (William Hurt, reprising his role from The Incredible Hulk) meets with the Avengers to discuss the need to regulate their activities after the deaths in New York, Washington, and Sokovia. Iron Man and Captain America both disagree on this idea and the Avengers are split down the middle — some siding with Cap and some siding with Iron Man.
Spider-Man is obviously a new player in the MCU and as such is a bit of a wildcard. We know that this is the youngest version of Spidey to be portrayed on screen and from the trailer we can surmise that he sides with Stark. Quite why this is the case is not obvious at first, though there are rumors that he is given a new suit by Stark. Perhaps Stark meets with Spidey, as he sees potential in the young hero, and convinces him to join his team — he almost takes him under his wing. It could be that this is a passing of the torch, Iron Man has arguably been the flagship hero of the MCU until this point and Spider-Man could be his successor.
Why Would He Change Teams?
In the original comic, Spider-Man is a key player. His role almost guides the reader's opinion of the Superhuman Registration Act (which will be called the Sokovia Accords in the film). Initially, Spider-Man agrees that superheroes need to be regulated and, as a result, he publicly reveals his identity in support of the SRA. Not long after this, he soon begins to regret his decision. He soon discovers that anyone who failed to agree to the SRA would be imprisoned. Spider-Man does not agree with this and soon the highest profile supporter of Iron Man joins with Captain America.
What Do The Russo Brothers Say?
We don't know how faithful the film will be to the comic. I think that Spider-Man's identity will remain a secret to the public, but I do feel that he may end up changing allegiances during the film. The Russo brothers have stated that Spider-Man will play a significant part in the film. The brothers told Collider:
"During the time that it takes you to convince the powers that be to make the jump and let you do that, you’ve engrained the character so deeply into the story at that point that you’d have to destroy the story to take him out."
It could well be that this significant part is due to a change of allegiance. If Spider-Man is so deeply engrained in the story that removing him would mean they would have to totally reimagine the film, he obviously plays an important role. Could it be that his arc will be closer to the comic than we think? Perhaps Peter Parker could be the character that guides the viewer's opinion throughout the film, maybe that is what the Russo brothers meant by this quote:
"That character (Spidey) helps us balance out the tone of the movie."
Adding balance to the tone of the movie — with the Avengers splitting into two factions, perhaps it is important to have a newcomer in the story. Yes, we do have Black Panther in there as well, but Spider-Man's profile and accessibility to the audience could be the key. He has no connection to the Avengers previously and he certainly does not have the financial clout of T'Challa, so perhaps he can look at the argument objectively and come to an informed decision.
Maybe It's All A Ruse!
There is of course on other option: Spider-Man has not taken any side. In all of the trailers and promotional art we have had a recurring theme of Avenger vs. Avenger. Spidey plays no part in any of this. Now, I realize this could just be because they wanted to hold off on revealing him until the end, and I totally respect that (hell, I wrote a post saying why it was a good thing we hadn't seen him!), but maybe there is an actual reason that it makes sense in the story that he actually is totally neutral. Perhaps he is initially starstruck when he meets Tony Stark (who may or may not give him a new suit) and bonds with him. But as the film goes on he discovers that he disagrees with Tony more and more, ultimately siding with Captain America.
Of course, this is all just speculation. At the moment we have heard two words and seen 10 seconds of Spider-Man in the MCU. After 8 years of waiting, I'm sure we can wait a little longer to see how it pans out in the film...