(WARNING: The following contains very mild potential plot SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War, as well as discussion about the nature of Spider-Man as a character, both in the MCU and in his comic book appearances. Proceed with whatever level of caution suggests to you is wise...)
Captain America is serious and honorable. Iron Man is egotistical and arrogant. The Hulk is — well, angry, all the time. We tend to have pretty strong ideas of what our favorite superheroes should be like — and for the most part, comic book adaptations stick pretty closely to those overarching cultural imaginings. In fact, that's a big part of why Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was criticized by many fans for having Batman kill people; it's not that there isn't comic book precedent for it, but rather that we seem to collectively conceive of him as being someone who doesn't kill, thus making it discomfiting to watch him do it.
Which is perhaps why it was so reassuring to notice in a recent TV spot that...
Spider-Man Looks Set To Be Super Snarky In Captain America: Civil War
So much so, in fact, that he not only completely ignores Tony Stark's instructions in that there video, but seems to loosely reference a classic movie and/or Walt Whitman poem with his line: "Oh Captain! Big fan." (It certainly seems to be hinting at the "O Captain! My Captain!" scene in Dead Poets Society, which was in turn quoting the classic Whitman poem).
In other words? It looks as though we're set to see a distinctly snark-filled and joke-laden Spidey hit the MCU when Captain America: Civil War arrives in theaters next week. Here's the thing, though...
Why Does It Matter That Spider-Man Is Snarky In Captain America: Civil War?
After all, we already have the endlessly quip-tastic Tony Stark, and it's not as though Hawkeye, Ant-Man and even Cap haven't been known to drop some humor bombs within the MCU. Do we actually need Spidey to be yet another gag-centric hero?
Well, yes, and I'll give you three reasons why.
1. Everyone Loves A Cheeky Superhero
That's not to say we can't love a more serious one — Batman is a classic example, as is Marvel's Daredevil in his more recent Netflix-based incarnation — but it sure is easier to fall for a masked vigilante when they're making us laugh while they pummel bad guys into submission. In a world filled with grim realities and endless horrors both at home and abroad, it's sometimes nice to watch a hero on the big screen manage to solve seemingly insoluble problems with a smile on their dial.
Just ask Deadpool, and the trillions of dollars his movie just made at the box office.
2. Spider-Man Has Always Been Sarcastic As Hell In The Comic Books
From his earliest comic book appearances, Spider-Man — and his real-life alter ego Peter Parker — has always been more than willing to respond to adversity with an irreverent comeback or a goofy joke.
In many ways, it's what has always made Spidey who he his — and certainly helped him to stand out in a crowded marketplace of far more serious heroes back in the 1960s. A big part of why that was, though?
3. Spidey Is Supposed To Be An Idealized Version Of You And I
Peter Parker, after all, has always been beloved by fans not only because he's Spider-Man, but because he finds social situations awkward, was unpopular in high school, and was typically the butt of his friends' jokes. He's bullied, laughed at, and treated as being somehow less than for being different. For countless millions of people around the world, that's either exactly how they felt in school or exactly how they feel right now.
And yet Peter Parker fights his bullies with his words, not his fists — and as Spider-Man, he stands proud in the face of adversity — when faced with losing a parent, feeling mistreated, and being thrust into crime-fighting while still dealing with puberty. And he does this with a smile on his face and a joke on his lips. He makes mistakes and he learns from them. He can be a jerk and he can be a hero, but throughout it all he keeps on making jokes.
In other words? He deals with becoming a teenaged superhero in the exact same way the vast majority of us would want to were it to happen to us.
It Matters That Spider-Man Is Snarky In The MCU Because That's Why We Love Him As A Hero In The First Place
He's a teenage us, only as a fictional, superpowered New York teen with the ability to do whatever a spider can. He screws up, he doesn't take everything seriously and he doesn't always manage to save the day. But he never stops trying to do what's right, always looks after his family and friends and instinctively stands up to authority figures who are in the wrong. He's an idealized version of us, sure — and probably one much funnier than most of us can hope to be — but not one that's all that far removed from reality.
And I for one wouldn't have him any other way.