Happy Tax Day in the US! I figure that makes it a good day to talk about somebody with money problems, right?
Spider-Man! On one hand, it’s exciting that Marvel worked out a deal with Sony to be able to include him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, there are so many characters already in Captain America: Civil War that I don’t know that too many people’s opinions went from “not-seeing” to “seeing” this movie just because of Spider-Man…
However, in terms of the comic storyline of Civil War, having Spider-Man appear gives them a lot of storytelling ground to walk. In the comics, Spider-Man switched sides and it made some sense… will they pull off the same thing in the movie? Let’s talk that through, and then end in a prediction poll!
Spider-Man at first: Team Iron Man!
When Civil War started in the comics, Spider-Man had already been buddying up to Tony Stark recently, and it showed with his technology-enhanced suit…
Evocative! One of many times that they tried to go with an even-more-spider-looking suit for the webslinger. At least he didn’t actually grow extra arms this time…
The movie is following the basic idea of this, it seems. Spider-Man is starting out on Team Iron Man, and seems to have a suit developed with the help of Tony Stark.
In the comics, being Team Iron Man meant supporting superhero registration. So the relinquishing of their identity and powers to the government, via SHIELD.
And it’s certainly something that Peter Parker wants: to be publicly, openly Spider-Man. To answer the question of whether he’s hero or menace, as constantly posed by J. Jonah Jameson…
We see that it’s something that Peter wants in the House of M storyline. In that comic, Scarlet Witch basically changes reality so that everyone is okay with mutants, and to pull this off so that no one notices the change, she tries to create ideal situations for the various heroes so that they’re content. So what does Peter get? He’s public hero #1, everyone loves him. He has a family – with Gwen Stacy. Everything went well for him, and he’s happy.
And then they tell him it’s all fake.
And he remembers why this wouldn’t work, wouldn’t happen. Because when his identity is out, his enemies use his personal life against him…
Peter Parker: Secret Spider-Man
It’s true of a lot of superhero storytelling. It certainly seems to be a major, agonizing plot-line in most superhero television. The hero learns they have to protect their identity, or their enemies will use their personal lives – the people they love – against them.
But when I think of this trope, I think first-and-foremost of Spider-Man. Maybe it’s because of the Sam Raimi movies, or growing up with the animated show… but even more I think it’s because of the death of Gwen Stacy. And maybe of Uncle Ben as well. Spider-Man has experienced the death of people he loves. And not like when he was a child, like Batman, but when he was grown and had superpowers. Where he has far more than survivor’s guilt: he has failed-hero guilt.
And it is in returning to this train-of-thought that Spider-Man changes teams in the Civil War comics, from pro-registration Team Iron Man, to anti-registration Team Captain America.
But here’s the thing: they’re doing a young Spider-Man who hasn’t had a stand-alone movie yet. One who would take a lot of time to build up that level of loss, of empathy from the audience. Meaning that for him to change sides in the movie, there’s going to need to be a compelling reason. Yet it seems like the reason to force him in as the last addition is to be able to do just that: to show someone who is the tipping point, the decision between the two sides.
What do you think?
Will Spider-Man stay on Team Iron Man, as we’ve seen in the trailer? Will he switch sides? Vote in the poll for your thoughts! And feel free to discuss below in the comments!
Great analysis. I hope they can do justice to the comic story line in this movie, especially Spider-Man’s change of heart so to speak. Can’t wait to see the film!
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I think we’ve been feeling a build-up towards a registration mentality watching Agents of SHIELD. I think that Age of Ultron also sets it up pretty well, as well as Tony Stark’s guilt at creating Ultron. They have the potential to do at least a miniature version of the comic story, for sure! Which still leaves the question: how do you use this third movie version of Spider-Man…
I’m only a casual Marvel fan; haven’t seen all the X-Men movies (Spiderman or Hulk), don’t watch Agents of Shield, and haven’t really gotten into comics. But I’ve enjoyed the Avengers movies and I love the crossover stuff. Along with everyone else I’ve been looking forward to Civil War for a while, and this is an interesting look at Spiderman’s role. I wasn’t a fan of rebooting him as a teen (which is why the latest movie didn’t interest me), so I’m curious as to how they’ll address his allegiance, as you posed.
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