The news trickled out late last night, almost like something they didn’t want anyone to find out about until morning. But this is the internet, and people were going nuts over it before the bytes had gotten cold: Spider-Man was joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Something that seemed impossible six months ago, then like a missed opportunity when word of failed talks between Marvel and Sony were revealed as part of the Sony leak, was now a reality. Welcome to my parlor indeed.
Sony hasn’t totally relinquished their hold on the ol’ web slinger; they’d have to be completely suicidal to do that. But they’ve certainly loosened the grip considerably, and let Marvel get its foot in the door. Sony retains creative control, but Marvel gets to take Spidey out for a spin in its movies. Of course, I have to wonder if Sony has creative control like Richard Marquand had creative control on Return of the Jedi, with Marvel’s George Lucas peering over their shoulder letting them do whatever they want. Unless they say otherwise.
Even if Sony’s control is more concrete, this is still a big deal for Marvel. Their prodigal son is coming home, even if it’s just to visit occasionally. And it feels like a prelude to Marvel pulling a full court press and somehow getting the character back entirely. Of course, they don’t really need to. They can throw him into their own movies, and still reap the benefits of Sony’s films. It’s a win-win for them, and a huge concession by Sony.
And I bet Fox is looking very closely at this. It’s unlikely they’ll ever consider ceding the X-Men franchise, since they’ve been doing fairly well both with and by it. But the Fantastic Four? When Marvel’s already played hardball by cancelling the comic and the buzz for the upcoming reboot is cautious at best? That may be in play. The FF are a little harder to drop into another film than the solitary Spider-Man is, but hey, we didn’t expect to even be talking about Spidey at all this time last year. Nothing feels out of the question now.
I do hope the Spidey we get is the jokey, underdog Spidey I grew up with. He shouldn’t be dark and grim; he should be the wise-cracking, never-say-die counterpoint to the more serious heroes, the one who can throw a joke as easily as a punch. In a lot of ways, Spidey was always the audience surrogate, the kid at the adults’ table, and I’d love to see that at play against Thor and Iron Man and Captain America.
But above all, this all means we’re one step closer to seeing one of my favorite Marvel panels come to life:
One down, four to go…