I was just working on a list of classic kids books that should be made into movies when breaking news (among Hollywood and the geek community) hit Twitter. The deal that has reportedly been in the works for six months is coming to fruition. Spider-Man is joining the Marvel cinematic universe. Not fully, of course. Sony is still holding onto their cash cow. Yet, as of now, he will be appearing in an upcoming Marvel movie and will be getting a new movie produced by Marvel and Sony due for release in July 2017.
Marvel has long wanted a new actor for the webslinger. It was one of the caveats for the deal. The previous Sony chief, Amy Pascal, wanted to keep Andrew Garfield in the role. However, she is no longer the head of Sony entertainment. Money talks and Marvel has a lot of money. Getting their way with Spider-man was only a matter of time.
I’m not happy about this development. Yes, I think the alliance with Marvel will bring the excitement back to a franchise that so many people have lost faith in. Somehow, bad direction and a crappy villain (Electro) managed to turn critics and fans away from the series. Personally, I thought it was flawed, but it had far more emotion than any Marvel movie I’ve seen. It took risks with characters that Marvel wouldn’t dream of. Also, the chemistry of Garfield and Emma Stone made the movies what they were. It could be argued that Peter Parker was never meant to be a skateboarding hipster, but The Amazing Spider-Man provided a new take on his character in an already familiar origin story.
Based on the details provided in the deal, I have particular favorites and choices that seem like safe bets that Marvel/Sony will consider.
5 – Donald Glover
It’s strange that Donald Glover, best known as Childish Gambino or Troy from Community, is the front-runner to put on the mask. Glover has been petitioning for this role for years. In fact, it was his public requests to play the part in 2011, that inspired Brian Michael Bendis to create the latest Ultimate version of Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Miles, the first black Latino Spider-Man, takes over when Peter Parker dies in the comics.
current former Peter Parker, Garfield, requested that he could pass on the torch to Morales’ character in The Amazing Spider-Man 4. Looks like it may be happening, just one movie sooner than expected. Morales’ storyline won’t be familiar to movie fans and that is a big risk, especially when so much is now banking on his appearances. Also, Glover is anything but a movie star. In fact, he’s kind of spoiled and a flight risk for a series that needs to span several movies. However, this may be the “new change” that Marvel honcho, Kevin Feige wanted.
4 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Before I go on to describe why Marvel would want JGL, let me first go through my thought process on who will be considered before they are ultimately rejected. Josh Hutcherson (who lost the role to Garfield a few years back) has star power, but hasn’t led a successful movie on his own. Logan Lerman (Fury, Perks of Being a Wallflower) is a great actor, but doesn’t fit the part. Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, Oculus) has the frame of Spider-Man, but is too forgettable. My pick would be a British actor named Robert Sheehan (Misfits). He is incredibly talented and full of charisma. Since the Garfield choice didn’t pan out, I can’t see Marvel taking a risk with another British unknown.
This brings us to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Love him or hate him, he’s a hot commodity in young Hollywood. Though he played John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises, he does not fit in the new DC movie continuity. Marvel should be trying everything they can to take him from any future AAA DC title. He is in pre-production of Sandman, based on the graphic novel now owned by DC. Yet with the right contract, Marvel might be able to get him attached to Captain America 3. Working alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo might be motivation enough for him to take the role.
3 – Anton Yelchin
All my dismay at the recasting of Peter Parker would be done away with at the announcement of Anton Yelchin. Of everyone who might be considered for the part, Yelchin has the highest record of quality in his filmography. While not everyone in the Marvel cinematic universe is considered a great actor (see also: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Dave Bautista), it would be smart to cast Yelchin as a disillusioned hero that is tired of hiding his identity. Few other actors would be able to walk into a movie with no setup and make an audience care about his character turn. Yelchin has the attitude that would work perfectly with the wise-cracking hero. Also, he puts on a face of tragedy when necessary. Anton Yelchin would be my clear number one if it weren’t for the following two choices.
2 – Andrew Garfield
Here’s an idea Marvel, why try to reinvent the wheel when you have a perfectly suitable and established Peter Parker? I’m guessing here, but I can’t imagine the script for Civil War to be anywhere near finished. Yes, Marvel has been hoping to snag the rights to the character for a long time, but they also wrote in Black Panther to take Spider-Man’s role in Civil War. To be honest, it doesn’t matter how the script is, fans will still eat it up because it’s Captain America vs Iron Man. Adding arguably the most well-known Marvel character will only bring more audiences in.
While the public perception is that ASM2 failed, it really didn’t. It made $708 million in its global take. Yet, Sony has ceded to a strange demand based on the false failure of the franchise. Garfield is a big part of that success. He is clearly the best well-rounded actor to have played both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
Also, Marvel doesn’t plan to revisit Spider-Man’s origin again. Thank goodness! They also don’t want to make romance a central angle in his story. Based on the story so far, if they still used Garfield, we wouldn’t have to see his origin, nor would romance be the central plot (especially with what he’s gone through).
The real point here is that Spider-Man has been mishandled by Sony’s decision makers. Raimi’s proposed Spider-Man 4 had the chance to right the wrong that was Spider-Man 3. However, Sony got scared of giving Raimi too much control of the character. The recent reboot and the upcoming reboot makes the character a joke and makes the franchise feel cursed. Come on Marvel, have a heart. Garfield has loved the character since he was young. At least give him a chance to complete his story.
1 – Tobey Maguire
Quit laughing and think about this for one second. This is actually a very good idea. Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were some of the best and most successful comic book movies of all time. They (along with X-Men) set the standard for this generation or superhero flicks. Revisiting those very successful movies would be a good move for Marvel.
Forget your hatred of emo Spider-man for a minute and think of how much fun the series used to be and can be again. Maguire may be an older choice than Marvel may specifically have in mind, but an older Spider-Man makes sense. It will actually be a nice change of pace. If he’s married, than he may even want to quit saving the day, thus leading him to show the world who he really is. Also, there have been plans to bring J.K. Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson. If they’re bringing him back, they might as well bring back the Spider-Man he viciously hated.
Marvel, if you’re reading this, just imagine the fanfare when you announce a return to form. It would be as if Michael Keaton had returned to Batman after Kilmer and Clooney tried the role on for size.
I do have one hope. I’m worried that Marvel will go for a semi-marketable young star. I just have one request. Please don’t hire Ansel Egort.