Everybody was all excited about the deal that Sony Pictures and Disney brokered, which allowed Spider-man to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are promises for more movies with Peter, and that is nice, but not great. Here’s the reason it is not great…
Spider-man is built for TV series, not movies…
…and that debut should be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But Bedford, you cry. Why would you make Marvel’s number 1 hero for fifty years a TV superhero instead of a movie one. Simple: superhero movies focus on the hero conquering a serious threat to the city/nation/world/galaxy. Captain America’s threats are nation and world threatening. So are Iron Man’s. Thor’s and the Guardians can threaten the galaxy. Spidey’s…threaten him. Spidey’s the only one who goes out on “patrol”, looking for bad guys to stop. As a result, he finds neighborhood threats. Look at what IGN considers Spidey’s 25 top villains…who on that list is a movie quality bad guy? The only one is Juggernaut…what the fudge is Juggernaut (an X-Men villain) doing on that list? Everyone else on that list is great for TV, but for movies? Spidey would have to borrow a villain from someone and the biggest villains for Marvel are not in the MCU: Dr. Doom, Magneto, & Galactus. Spidey may have the biggest rogue’s gallery in Marvel, but that pond is shallow, if wide.
Now, if one look’s at Spidey’s villains, one could see parallels to Batman’s. So how does Batman’s work for him when most of them are not serious national/global threats? Easy…Bruce Wayne is not superhuman. It is still one man against another man and his goon squad. Spidey, considering his powers, is an underachiever. He has Class 10 strength, and super agility, reflexes, and danger precognition. Basically, he is the original Chun Li, only as a W.A.S.P. male. Spidey has defeated Firelord in battle, who is powerwise equivalent to the Silver Surfer. Spidey was totally outclassed powerwise, but with “stick & move, stick & move” offense he managed to win. Add to this Spidey’s mechanically gifted skillset, creating his webshooters and tracers that work off his spider sense, and generally speaking he should defeat all his villains every single time.
Some of the underachieverhood is the soap opera that is his life. Sheesh, with all the crap that Marvel writers have put him thru, if he was a real life guy he would be a prime candidate for a suicide watch. He has a classic survivor’s guilt over his Uncle Ben’s death, and has seen many of his friends either die or become his enemy. No wonder he is the one superhero with a daily newspaper strip…he is perfect to sit right next to Mary Worth and Rex Morgan M.D. His life is just like those strips, only with super villains.
So why debut him in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? For one thing, you can get immediate bang for your buck. It will take a year or two after the Sony/Marvel announcement for Spidey to appear in any movie, and do you really want him in a Captain America movie just showing up? On TV he could appear by next month (May). It is already established that nobody wants to see another origin movie for him…make Peter one of the background engineers that Fitz and Simmons already work with. Heck, Fitz could easily be Peter Parker if you just retconned the name (which I DO NOT suggest…I am just saying.) Maybe Peter already has his powers and is hiding them…maybe he will gain the powers because of being near SHIELD. Perhaps a spider got affected by a Diviner or something similarly attached to the Inhumans, bites Agent Parker, and WHAM…instant Spider-Man. Finally, Agents is a great show, but needs to get eyes on it for people to watch it after all the bad press critics have given it…Spidey can definitely draw those eyes.
Of course, you would want to eventually spin Spidey to his own show, Most of his villains work well as TV villains. I would save Doctor Octopus and Venom for the movies (Venom could easily derive from when the Guardians of the Galaxy inevitably visit Earth). But baddies like Kraven, Vulture, and Shocker, who’d make crappy movie villains, would work great as a bad guy of the week, and Green Goblin can easily be a series foil.
Will Spidey make it to television? Who knows. Sony desperately needs to make Spidey movies, and for that and my idea to work, you’d need to find the right actor for both small and large screens, and pay him the right wage so you can get him on the cheap for TV. Still, Spidey’s natural limitations are what they are, and hopefully both Marvel and Sony will see this.
Quoth the penguin…evermore.
“Beatdown” Bedford Crenshaw
My pop culture specialties are Star Wars, Transformers, Wizards of the Coast games, and the 1980s.My scholarly specialties are history, geography, and travel.
Join me every Friday for the Pop Culture Curmudguin.
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