By Shawn Perry
As everyone who reads this site knows, Bleeding Cool does not contribute to the unsubstantiated rumor mill that perpetuates on other sites like some amorphous blob or gas of know-nothing-know-it-all bologna. Nope, no, no-no…we bleeders spend our hard-earned SEO on this site because the staff here does such a good job reporting on rumors with good research, editorial skepticism and overall an impressive track record of being right about things, even things they wished they were not right about like Edgar Wright dropping out of Ant-Man or the insertion of an alien origin into last summers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Taking it a step further I would even go so far as to say that their reporting on their rumored original alien origin helped stir the collective nerd rage that stopped that from happening but hey this piece is about Spider-Man not the Ninja Turtles. Or is it?
No really, it's about Spider-Man, specifically; why Tobey Maguire should return as the one true Spider-Man. As you probably know, Bleeding Cool was one of the sites first to break the story that everyone's favorite wall-crawler would soon be taking his rightful place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far the rumor mill has churned out a few relative unknowns, most-notably Logan Lerman, (Perks of Being a Wallflower and other teenybopper fare that I have not seen) for this year's edition of whom will don the mask in a reboot that will likely bring the character back to square one and keep him in High School.
As a big fan of Brian Michael Bendis' modern masterpiece Ultimate Spider-Man I had high hopes when it was first announced that a younger and hopefully-wittier Spider-Man was going to replace Maguire after the debacle that was Spider-Man 3 threw a wrench in what was, at the time, my favorite superhero film series. When I go back to the time just before I saw Spider-Man 3 I remember there being such excitement for that film. Spider-Man 2 was and remains one of the greatest films in the genre and director Sam Raimi had built an incredibly rich world to build upon that I felt this was going to be the film that brought the superhero genre to another level. That film turned out to be Iron Man whereas audiences who saw Spider-Man 3 who were really ready to explore the rich history of Spider-Man got…well…
Let's not even go there because, honestly, I cannot remember the details of this film that well and I don't want to go back to it. It wasn't the worst film ever made or anything but I just remember having this inescapable feeling that the a grand future for the world that Raimi had been ripped apart at the seams for what was clearly a production-by-committee cash grab. That said, I have no right to criticize anyone who produced a film that grossed over a $100 million dollars — especially when Raimi himself has already gone and apologized for it — and I am also fairly certain that if he had been able to make the film he wanted to make in the first place it would have been awesome so let's just move on.
Maguire's Spider-Man was not broken when Spider-Man 3 sucked the web-fluid out of the franchise…it just needed replenishing. In my opinion, Sony was impatient and through the baby out with the bathwater when they should have learned the lesson that making Spider-Man movies that ignore his rich history and/or has nothing to do with Spider-Man kicking rogues ass as an every-man superhero with a love life filled with beautiful and interesting women rather than disapproving ghosts and bizarre emo dance-offs. With that said it goes without saying that Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was bar-none the best part about the past two films and I still say that a little originality with her storyline on the part of Marc Webb could have saved the series but I digress…
First of all; for the purposes of the Civil War storyline having a Spider-Man that moviegoers are familiar with makes sense. No matter how good the new Spider-Man is audiences are going to find it hard to become dramatically invested in his unmasking when the actor playing him is a total unknown to them. Granted, if done correctly having an unknown play him could be used to mirror the perspective of the MCU but that's not my thesis because Maguire's portrayal of the character would bring the sort of 'every man' diversity to the MCU that is very much in the spirit of the character. Just the thought of him swinging into Starks Tower in an after-credits scene for Avengers Age of Ultron gives me chills that I haven't had for the cinematic version of the character in a long, long time.
Another reason I will mention is that having a Spider-Man who is older means that audiences will not have to watch the same story all over again. Nobody wants to see Uncle Ben get shot again and if you start him young that means another origin story which was already done about as well as anyone could ask for in the original trilogy. I don't know about you but my favorite thing about Spider-Man isn't just when he is first learning the webs but after he has been around for a while and is experienced enough to swing the swing and talk a little trash before taking off the kids gloves. I mean, lets be real, anyone who has read the classic Lee/Kirby stories knows that one of Spider-Man's greatest traits is his unbridled willingness to play the hand he has been dealt with everything he's got no matter what and, in the end, win the day even if his personal life takes a couple hits in the process. That's just what a Spider-Man does and though I do not feel that way about the Webb and Andrew Garfield films I do feel that way about the Raimi/Maguire Spider-Man and I want him back.
Just like Bryan Singer's Days Of Our Future Past brought the X-Men franchise back to its former glory by retconing it's missteps this move could breathe new life into the once proud and strong franchise by reminding people why they fell in love with the character in the first place by bringing back the original hero for his triumphant debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Say what you will but as a long-time fan I think it's very much in the spirit of the comic book genre to go back if something does not work. That's why we're not all still stuck reading about Ben Reilly.
In closing, whatever happens I just want to say that I am very happy Spider-Man is finally going to take his rightful place in the MCU. The Marvel Studios team has done such a wonderful job over the years bringing so many great characters to life that it's about time that they are allowed to take everyone's favorite web-slinger for a spin. Whoever winds up behind the mask, I am sure they will deliver a brilliant return to form for the hero that made my generation believe a man could fly…with non-organic web-shooters.
Peace Out Bleeders!
Shawn Perry is a proud geek striving to be here now. He currently resides in East Hartford, Connecticut. Tweet him @thesperry and email him at Shawn.Perry88@gmail.com.