Friday, March 06, 2015

Chain of Thoughts: February's 'Spider-Man' Happenings

Last February was a big Spider-Man month.  First, the epic “Spider-Verse” concluded. Second – and most importantly – Marvel and Sony reached a deal to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe!   Here are my musings…

Part 1: Spider-Verse

→ “Spider-Verse” wasn’t perfect.  But it had a lot of good things going for it.  I greatly enjoyed the premise and the story, and I’m mostly satisfied with how everything unfolded.  Seeing all of those Spider-Men (and –Women) banding together was awesome.   However, I don’t believe that it made true to its promise to feature “every Spider-Man” ever.  But I have to give props to Dan Slott and his people, for it was obvious that they truly tried.  There were plenty of delightful surprise participants. 
Example: Supaidāman and Leopardon!
→ I also appreciated a lot the inclusion of the cartoon-y, lighter versions of Spider-Man – like Spider-Ham, the Spider-Man from the Hostess snack ads back in the 70’s and 80’s, the Spider-Man from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (there were many deaths among the ranks of alternate Spider-Men but this one was what disturbed me most), the Spider-Man from the campy 60’s animated series version, the lil' Spider-Man from Bullpen Bits/Mini Marvel (just a cameo though), the Spider-Man from the popular Capcom crossover arcade games, the newspaper strip Spider-Man, and the Spider-Man from the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series.
→ Too bad that Marvel’s Sony deal couldn’t have happened earlier (or the Spider-Verse story couldn’t have happened later) for it prevented the use of the Spider-Man from the awesome Spectacular Spider-Man TV series (which, if I understand it right, is co-owned by Sony).  The writers, however, used a clever approach in referencing the cinematic versions of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
Along with a mention of the Spider-Man: Turn of the Dark version
→ It seemed that the Spider-Man from the awesome 90’s animated series was not included (if he was, I haven’t caught sight of him).  Even if I’ve always had the skepticism in me of the truthfulness of the claim that all Spider-Men will make an appearance, I was still surprised that that version was not given a part in the story.       
→ I acknowledge that the featured “Spider” characters have been extensive already.  But I was really expecting a Spider-Army of Captain Britain Corps proportions, especially in the climactic battle.  But the mass of the Spider-Army – which I presume were the recruits of Miles Morales’ team (his was the only logical contingent that could have brought all those Spidey cameos in the final battle) – were mere “glimpses” during the chaos.  The ambiguity of the attendance and quantity of the different Spider-Men in the final battle was likely to be Slott’s way of implying that “every Spider-Men ever” were participating in the climactic battle.  It’s kind of disappointing, really.
The best look of the assembled Spider-Army during the final battle was from Spider-Verse #2.       
→ My biggest nitpick with “Spider-Verse”, however, is that my most favorite alternate version of Spider-Man – Spider-Man Noir – was sidelined early in the game.  Bummer. 
→ At the end of “Spider-Verse”, what does Otto’s instruction to his Anna Marie AI mean?  Did Otto Octavius prepare a contingency plan to reclaim Peter Parker’s body?  Will it activate after a hundred days?  Is SpOck or Dr. Octopus set to return?  Will I be compelled to write a series of love-hate blog posts once again?  
→ I was hoping that something awesomely creative was intended for Silk.  But being “The Bride” is not enough at all.  I still have the same issues on her as before.  If she would have been a Spider-Woman replacement for Jessica Drew, then that would have been a lot, lot better for the character.  At this point, for me, she just seems to be a gratuitous additional Spider character that made the crowd of present Spider-characters feel more crowded and contributes in the diminishment of the uniqueness of Spider-Man.  Silk, however, is popular enough to receive her own ongoing series.  Hopefully, my opinion for the character might improve during this series’ development.
It was really funny that these two still commit PDI even in the midst of their Spider brethren.
→ The Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy introduced in “Spider-Verse” was also popular enough to receive her own series.  She’s indeed an intriguing character that deserves more exposure so that her character and universe can develop further.   The only bad thing about it?  Spider-Gwen is a stupid, unimaginative title for the series.
→ Spider-Woman rocked in “Spider-Verse”, and she has her costume updated afterwards.  I’m kind of split regarding the change.  I already got used to the original look, but she definitely was in need of a costume upgrade.  Best thing about it was the banter between her and Carol Danvers as they make fun of each other’s past costume choices.
→ In the aftermath of “Spider-Verse”, some of the Spider-Men, led by Spider-UK, decided to continue teaming up, and their adventures are going to be the basis of the Secret Wars’ spin-off series, Spider-Verse, coming later this year.  That’s cool.  I definitely want more team-ups of different Spider-Men from different universes.

Part 2: Spider-Man Joins the MCU
→ I got wind of the announcement that Marvel and Sony has agreed to let Spider-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe while browsing my Facebook newsfeed on an afternoon, after a tiring work-day.  After reading the headline, I went…

It was a surreal moment for me.  I’ve always wanted for Spidey to be in an Avengers film.  (But, to be honest, I will give this up in a heartbeat for a Spider-Verse movie instead.)
This scene is from the Avengers 2 trailer, and someone edited Spider-Man in.  Cool.
→ I’m very excited for some news on how Spider-Man will be introduced to the MCU.  But I hope that Spidey’s inclusion to Marvel’s Phase 3 plans won’t sacrifice the development schedule and quality of the originally planned Marvel movies
→ When announcement that it’s almost definite that the next film version of Spider-Man won’t be white, my elation transformed to horrified distress.  And it’s not a racist thing.  It’s simply an ignorant, bigoted thing for someone to accuse another of racism simply because he prefers Spider-Man to be white.  (Heck, I myself am not even white.)  It’s just that Spider-Man is my most favorite character that has originated from comics, and I just want Spider-Man to be as accurate and genuine as possible when translated into the big screen.  It is imperative that that Spider-Man should be Peter Parker because the qualities that made me love the character is essentially founded in him.   
→ The counter-argument is to point out that Peter Parker already had two different cinematic depictions before.  Well, that may be true.  But this is a different thing.  This is the first time Spider-Man will be teaming up with other Marvel heroes in the big screen, and I badly want it to be Peter Parker having this cinematic honor.  Miles Morales has to wait.
→ Of course, none of those qualities that made Peter Parker integral as Spider-Man is because he is white.  So am I good then with a non-white Peter Parker?  Still, a no.   Peter Parker/Spider-Man is such an important, iconic character that accuracy on the race is still a significant part of his individuality as much as what his sex is.  Making Peter Parker black or Hispanic makes me as uncomfortable and upset as making him a girl instead (like “Petra Parker.” Ugh).  In the same way, I will be extremely upset if Sherlock Holmes is depicted as an American woman instead of a British male (heck, I hate “Joan Watson” of Elementary, even though I find the show entertaining).  Sex and race might not be the most important substances of what makes a character special, but they are still a big part of how the character is consciously defined.  Changing the race or sex when depicting a character – especially if it’s an iconic one like Spider-Man – in another medium could take a lot out of the character.
→ So, please, please, Marvel.  Let Peter Parker be the Spider-Man of the MCU.  And white.         

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