Here’s something we never thought we’d see: Spider-Man in the MCU. Similar to how the rights to The Hulk are wrapped up with Paramount (for our breakdown of The Hulk’s involvement in Avengers: Infinity War, click here), Spider-Man’s rights currently sit with Sony. That’s where the Sam Raimi films starring Toby Maguire come from, as well as the two Amazing Spider-Mans with Andrew Garfield. However, given that the character had already been tackled twice in the last decade and a half, there was an argument to be made to give Peter Parker a rest. Then, we saw Captain America: Civil War, and Marvel reminded us both of why they’re sitting on a giant pile of cash, and why we love this quick-mouthed webslinger: because of how well they handle these characters. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, shared by both Disney and Sony has gone on to headline his own film in Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as featuring prominently in the promotional material for Avengers: Infinity War, and we’re going to break down what you need to know before heading in, as well as where we can expect the Spider-Man franchise to head through Marvel’s phase 4.
In Civil War, Peter Parker isn’t in a whole lot of the film – but where he does show up, he absolutely steals the show. He’s great alongside Tony Stark, and Spider-Man has some of my favourite parts of that amazing airport fight sequence. Spider-Man was on Iron Man’s side when it comes to Civil War, but really, he was just happy to be included. Following this entrance into the MCU, the Sony distributed film (with Marvel and Disney taking creative point) Spider-Man: Homecoming marked the most commercially successful first character solo film (this was before Black Panther), and boasts a whopping 92% on the tomato meter. Suffice to say, audiences were perfectly happy with their new web-slinger.
Spider-Man: Homecoming did lots of things right. It didn’t give us the same origin story we’d seen twice in the last few years again. It diversified the genre, essentially being a John-Hughes-esque film wrapped in the lining of a superhero movie. Furthermore, it gave us a teenage Peter Parker that you believed was a teenage Peter Parker. Not a 30-year-old guy playing a 15-year-old. Tony Stark was a strong presence in this film, solidifying Spider-Man’s roots in the MCU, and Peter learned the lesson that any new superhero needs to learn (without forcing the audience to relive the same movie it’s already seen twice before): “with great power, comes great responsibility.” By the end of the film, when presented with an opportunity to officially join The Avengers, Peter chose to remain your “friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man” for a while longer.
This is where we left Peter, coming in Avengers: Infinity War, and it’s a great place for him to be. Both Spider-Man and Peter Parker feature heavily in all the promotional material, so there’s lots to talk about. Firstly, the new suit. For those familiar with the comics, the Iron Spider is a suit that Tony Stark helps develops. The fancy suit from Spider-Man: Homecoming would no doubt be a precursor to the Iron Spider Suit, but it appears Peter is in the Iron Spider Suit when he’s on the giant-spinning-wheel-ship in the first trailer. This trailer also highlights Parker’s spidey-sense, noticeably absent from Homecoming, and a very welcome addition to the character going forward. From piecing together all the promotional material we have so far, we can deduce that Spider-Man ends up on the doomed planet of Titan along with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, Drax and Mantis. In fact, him climbing aboard the spinning-wheel-ship in NYC might be the reason Stark ends up in space as well, given that we see Tony following that ship as it ascends in the second trailer. Perhaps Tony feels responsible for Peter, so he goes off chasing him to protect him.
As for post-Avengers 4, the follow up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, an as of yet untitled Spider-Man 2 shared Sony/Disney/Marvel production, is one of only 2 films officially announced for phase 4. It’s set to debut as the first film following the Infinity Saga films, and will be picking up right where we leave off, after Avengers 4. So Peter Parker is probably pretty safe, if you’re counting down the deaths of your favourite avengers. We’re expecting the second Spider-man film to deal directly with the consequences of the Infinity Saga, whilst also remaining another high-school story, which is fine with me. MCU front-man Kevin Feige is quoted in an interview with Collider: “[to do] a journey for Peter not dissimilar from what the students of Hogwarts would go through each of their years,” which sounds like a fantastic way to keep the Spider-Man films different to the other MCU films.
One last character I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, is Miles Morales. Referenced in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Donald Glover’s nephew, Miles was on the tops of many fan’s minds when a new Spider-Man was in the works. Whilst it may be some ways off yet for the MCU, there is an animated Sony film slated for late 2018 which has an amazing trailer. The animated Spider-Man film is in no way connected to the MCU, but if large swathes of fans respond positively to Miles Morales, then don’t be shocked if we see multiple web-slingers thwipping their way from building to building in the MCU.
Spider-Man will be swinging his way onto our screens in just a few days’ time! Avengers: Infinity War hits Australian theatres this Wednesday, you better have your tickets ready!