So we finally have our newest Spiderman in the form of Tom Holland. I don’t know much about the actor really and am reserving judgement on his casting, mainly because Marvel do such a great job usually. I won’t have to wait long either as it is expected that Spidey will appear in the next Captain America movie: Civil War (or Avengers 3). It feels like it won’t be much more than a cameo before he gets his own big screen run-out in a film that promises that it won’t be an origin story.
This is a mistake. Not the origin story element, that is unnecessary, but bringing Spiderman in to a huge ensemble movie like Civil War without any prior introduction into that universe – especially because there are at least two other avenues that would serve the teenage crime fighter much better and do the introduction of the character justice… and it isn’t in the movies.
Marvel are beginning to match their TV output with their movies. Agents of Shield has become a decent companion piece to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe and is becoming a much more daring show than just the “villain of the week” procedural it started off as.
Add to this the newest addition to the Marvel TV family – Netflix TV show Daredevil. This was the perfect way to introduce the gritty, more adult character. Netflix is a network with little restrictions and because of this Daredevil was more mature, realistic and offered a superhero that could be beaten-up with real consequences or villains like Kingpin who actually killed people in fully, bloody violent ways. It was refreshing and unique and showed that TV could be as successful a companion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the films had been.
Which brings us to the first way in which Spiderman could be introduced to the Marvel Universe without diluting his impact – a cameo on an established show. When Spiderman makes his inevitable cameo in Civil War then it will be a blink and you miss it or ten to twenty minutes of screen time that gives us a watered down, Spiderman-lite version of the character.
If you introduce Spiderman as a cameo in a TV show, this problem is solved. Rather than try to fit the introduction of the character in amongst a larger story, Spiderman could be that episode’s story. In Agents of Shield it works because the team are actively searching for super-powered people. It means we could get a Spiderman focused story, establishing his origin and story in forty minutes without wasting people’s time by taking up half of his first Marvel studio’s movie.
If the room isn’t there for Shield, then maybe Daredevil. Daredevil has the benefit of being set in New York. This means that the chances of the serious, established and aggressive Daredevil coming up against the young, cocky and immature Spiderman is higher than meeting Shield. It would also give us a better story and more interesting dynamic. Add to this the fact that Kingpin is an established villain in both superheroes rogue galleries.
I would take this one step further though. I wouldn’t use Spiderman as just a cameo and then give him a film. I would introduce and develop the superhero even further in his own television show. If anyone could carry his own series, it’s the teenage web-slinger and considering that Spiderman isn’t on the world-saving scale of The Avengers team – this makes more sense. Each episode could follow the teenager balancing fighting crime and evil while also being in school. It’s a story more suited to TV than it is film.
It also means we bypass the same complaint that will be levelled at the upcoming Spiderman movie, regardless of creative differences. This won’t be the same origin story told again. It can’t be compared so closely to the previous movies because the approach will be completely different, even if they trace similar steps.
Overall, I think Spiderman should be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe through TV rather than movies. It means we get a proper introduction to the newest version of the character without having to retrace the same steps we have seen so recently before. I also think that Spiderman is much bettered suited to the small screen – being more like Daredevil than he is Iron Man.