In a landmark deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, Spider-Man will be available for future Marvel films. Marvel may use Spider-Man in their films, while Sony continues to retain the rights to the franchise. With another reboot imminent, now is the perfect time to update Spider-Man for the big screen.
There have been a total of five Spider-Man movies since 2002, starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Garfield took on the role of your friendly neighborhood superhero back in 2012 with the reboot film The Amazing Spider-Man. The film treaded familiar ground, once again portraying the origin story of how Peter Parker became New York City’s famous web slinger.
For those unfamiliar with the current run of Spider-Man comics in print, Peter Parker died in 2011. He has since come back to life because if there’s one rule in comic books, it’s that no one ever stays dead. Before that return in 2014, another web slinger patrolled the streets of New York for three years.
Miles Morales gained his powers in an accident during Norman Osborn’s experiment to recreate Spider-Man’s superpowers. A black and Hispanic teenager, Morales represents a huge portion of New York City’s population.
Many have criticized the new Spidey, complaining that it panders to certain audiences—the same way many fans have recently criticized the new female Thor. As with any major change, there will be detractor, but these updates are needed to make comic books as a whole more inclusive as they struggle to find new readers.
To restrict the role of Spider-Man to a white actor reinforces the idea to children that only white superheroes can make it to the big screen. Audiences have already jumped, however, at the idea of Sam Wilson—The Falcon—replacing Steve Rogers as the next Captain America. To many people, New York City is the capital of the world and Spider-Man is a universally-beloved hero. If the most American hero can be black, then why can’t the most global hero?
Looking forward to upcoming Marvel films, the next Captain America movie is titled Captain America: Civil War. An early-2000 crossover storyline of the same name involved most of the Marvel Universe and had Spider-Man at its center.
In these comics, Spider-Man finds himself between two opposing forces with both sides attempting to manipulate the young superhero. Morales would be perfect in this role, as he is still young and learning the ropes.
There are few comic book characters as famous or as recognizable as Spider-Man. If Marvel Comics can update the source material, then they should have the wherewithal to do so on screen, too.
No matter what Marvel and Sony decide to do, the masses will turn up to check out the next Spider-Man movie. Knowing that, I suggest they remember: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” It is important to take advantage of the opportunity to show millions of young children that no matter their race, they can be all be heroes.