I remember fondly back a few years when it was first announced that Spider-Man would get rebooted and released a mere 5 years after the much beloved Sam Rami directed trilogy got derailed. I, like so many other fans wondered, if it was too soon to be rebooted. Only 5 years after the “Spider-Man 3” disappointment, Sony was changing everything up. It took 8 years for Batman to reboot, and 19 years for Superman (and then another 7 for them to retool the character once again). Suddenly everyone turned against Sony. Claiming they were only concerned with making money and said they should give up the rights back to Marvel. Many forgot that Sony did produce two excellent Spider-Man movies in the past and Marvel Studios also did a reboot of the Incredible Hulk with only a 5 year difference between their version and Ang Lee’s “Hulk” (which for a few years, many were confused if it was a sequel or a reboot).
“The Amazing Spider-Man” came with generally positive reviews and audience response but still there was a loud and vocal crowd that were anti-Sony. I really enjoyed the first “Amazing Spider-Man” and even the follow up (which was generally a mixed response). For whatever reason though Sony panicked with their “Spider-Man” brand and went to Marvel to make a deal with them to allow for the character to appear them in their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus once again Spider-Man was to be rebooted, but was there loud cries saying that it’s too soon to reboot? No the narrative was much different.
This time there cheers of joy! Everyone was cheering, they will be rebooting Spider-Man in the MCU! Which I can certainly understand where some of the fans were coming from. There is a nice appeal to having Spider-Man in the “The Avengers” world; being able to interact with the other superheroes like Hulk and Iron Man. After “Amazing Spider-Man” I made my peace with quick reboots of characters, and seeing different versions (the comic books do this all the time anyways). Still though, the reports going around is the new rebooted Spider-Man will first appear in Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016, only a mere two years after “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. The first stand alone movie comes the next year in 2017 (only three years after “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”). So where are the cries of the reboot coming too soon?
They aren’t anywhere because the narrative has shifted to all being right with the world. So, really people didn’t have a problem with a reboot, they had a problem with Sony rebooting the character. Which is odd because not all of Marvel’s films have been amazing (I’m looking at you “Iron Man 2”). Plus, where are the people saying no one but Toby Maguire can play Spider-Man now?
I have two fears with this reboot. One, is audiences will be confused by yet another reboot only two years after the last Spider-Man movie (to be fair audiences are more intelligent than we sometimes give them credit for), and three “Captain America: Civil War” will lack an emotional punch.
If you don’t know what happens in the “Civil War” comic book storyline then I would avoid this next paragraph because it is full of spoilers to the potential movie. In the storyline one of the biggest (and maybe) most iconic moment in the entire story is where Spider-Man is convinced by Tony Stark to side with him for the superhero registration act and reveal his secret identity in front of the entire world in a big press conference. With almost 50 years of reading the character, and Peter Parker struggling to keep his secret identity this moment came as a huge shock to readers and gave them an emotional jolt. I fear this movie won’t have that.
We will be introduced to a new Spider-Man (before his own standalone) in the world of the MCU, no back story or build up. You could argue that we already know who Spider-Man is so that all you need, but I disagree. Each new series has their own rendition of the character, distinct from the other. Andrew Garfield’s emotional resonance (while at times similar) is still different than the Toby Maguire version of Spider-Man( and whomever this new guy will be). Will we have enough time for this big moment to make any impact the way it would if say Andrew Garfield revealed his identity to the whole world. Yet it appears Marvel is taking a different route with the storyline (not doing the secret identities angle) so is Spider-Man really needed then?
Personally I am excited to see new possibilities for the character. I do have my concerns (and I wanted to wait for the dust to settle before I chimed in on this big event). Still though I believe Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man could have been easily retconned into the MCU (remember at one point the Stark tower was to make an appearance in the original “Amazing Spider-Man’?). Still though where are the people crying out about it’s too soon to reboot? People that know me, know I’ve been praising Marvel like crazy recently and love the brand (I drink out of an Avengers mug most of the time). But, I don’t think they are above mistakes either. Is there a double standard? Maybe, but it’s not worth fighting for Garfield’s series anymore (as much as I wanted to see a conclusion) I will root hard for Marvel to succeed even with these reservations.