Spider-Man sure has had a rocky relationship with Hollywood.
The famous comic book web-slinger first got his big screen debut with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002. Riding high on the success the movie spawned two sequels with Spider-Man 2 in 2004 and Spider-Man 3 following shortly after in 2007. Although the first sequel met with much critical acclaim the third entry is the creative low point of the franchise and in 2012 Sony decided to reboot the entire series with The Amazing Spider-Man. Of course with a new franchise came new sequels and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released a mere two years later. Unfortunately the new series wasn’t nearly as popular as its predecessor and didn’t meet the studios exceptions despite making over $700 million.
Now in 2016 Spider-Man is getting rebooted for the third time in 14 years with his inclusion in Marvel’s highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. Marvel’s purchase, or rental if you ask others, means we’ll be getting another standalone Spider-Man film come 2017. With a questionable track record like Spidey’s, it’s unknown if Marvel can get the character back to being the popular icon he once was.
If the new Spider-Man reboot wants to truly succeed than they need to take a little bit of what worked in the past two franchises but also add something new to the story we haven’t seen before. After all, 3 reboots in just under 15 years is a tall order and most cinema goers might be tired of seeing Spider-Man play through his usual bag of tricks.
With our most optimistic leg out of eight put forward, here are 5 Ways Marvel Can Make Spider-Man Great Again.
5. Skip the Origin Story
We all know the story of how Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained super powered abilities. We all know that Uncle Ben inevitably dies and we know that Peter has a tough time fitting in and dealing with his new persona as Spider-Man. How do we know this? Because we’ve already seen it in two different movies. If Marvel wants to start the character off on the right track, then they need to skip a story we’ve all seen done to death by this point. There are plenty of franchises that skipped the gratuitous origin story like Burton’s Batman. Burton just dropped us off in the middle of our character’s story and said, “Deal with it.” Marvel should do the same.
4. Give Us a More Adult Peter
Look, we all know that the high school years in young Peter Parker’s life are interesting ones. He’s socially awkward, he’s terrible with the ladies and he’s trying to come to grips with his superhuman abilities. Great, fine, we’ve seen that; now let’s move on. High school Peter Parker is interesting, but there’s so many different directions you can take the character. The comics featured many great storylines with a more mature Spider-Man the movies haven’t even begun to touch upon yet. An older Parker and an older Spider-Man may be just what we need to freshen things up.
Unfortunately, nothing against his acting abilities, Marvel has chosen relative newcomer Tom Holland to play the famous web-slinger. Holland is only 20 years old which unfortunately means we will probably be getting the same tired story of Spider-Man making a spectacle of himself in the high school cafeteria.
3. Hold Off on Making Him an Avenger
With every year Marvel’s cinematic Avengers grows bigger in size. It now includes the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Scarlett Witch, Hulk, Thor, the Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine, Ant-Man and too many others most can’t keep track off. The point is that the Avengers team when assembled is expansive enough. With the inclusion of Spider-Man in Civil War the movie, which was already bloated, is ready to burst at the seams with comic book heroes.
Spider-Man’s first appearance will be in an ensemble movie and that’s fine. Marvel has a game plan and they know what they are doing. If they want to distinguish his character from the rest of the pack, they’ll hold off on him becoming one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the time being. Each pivotal Avenger has had their own standalone film before joining the supergroup. Hopefully Spidey will be getting the same treatment before we throw him headfirst into this huge universe.
2. Introduce Better Villains
Someone once said that a hero is only as good as their villain, and boy does that ring true. Where would Batman be without the Joker? Who would rival Superman if not for Lex Luthor? Without Magneto, Charles Xavier would certain lead a pretty boring life. A great villain complements the actions and decisions that a hero makes, just look at The Dark Knight. The first two Spider-Man movies gave us two great villains in the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus; supervillains that were threatening and at the same time sympathetic. Everything that came after pretty much went downhill from there with a lackluster Sandman, a boring Lizard, and a completely botched Venom.
Marvel needs to give us interesting villains that are not only threatening but memorable. If this means digging up past favorites like Green Goblin then fine. If it means pulling out another villain in the comics that hasn’t gotten their big screen debut yet then that’s even better. The point being that whatever villain Marvel decides to use they should make them well fleshed out, unique and most importantly unforgettable.
1. Make it Fun
It’s hard to pinpoint where it exactly happened but comic book movies nowadays are absolutely obsessed with being “dark and edgy.” Usually these buzzwords are thrown around so much that to hype a film premiere the studio will sell it as grittier than everything that came before. Dark comic book movies like The Crow or The Dark Knight are certainly bleak but that’s because the tone suites the characters. Some superheroes just don’t work with dark undertones, and honestly Spider-Man is one of them. Batman can get away with unraveling questions about chaos and social justice. Spider-Man not so much.
One of Marvel’s biggest strengths is making an enjoyable popcorn flick. Sometimes they’ll teeter on the border between enjoyable and cookie-cutter, but at the end of the day most of the movies set in MCU are fun entertaining rides. And that’s what we want when we go to the movies; to escape from our mundane lives for a couple of hours and be entertained. Marvel should keep it light but also make the movie original to stand out from the pack.