Steve Greydanus noodles the DC/Marvel movie universes

Steve Greydanus noodles the DC/Marvel movie universes February 28, 2015

He writes:

So Warner/DC is planning to introduce a veteran, established Batman in the DC cinematic universe established in MAN OF STEEL.

Meanwhile, Disney/Marvel, which just closed a deal with Sony to allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (though Sony will still retain film rights to Spider-Man), is planning on introducing the MCU version of Spider-Man as a teenager in high school.

This strikes me as a mistake on both counts. The two studios have their wires crossed. The new Batman should be a novice, the new Spider-Man a veteran, not vice versa.

Veteran Batman makes no sense in the world of MAN OF STEEL. Watching that film, it’s obvious they intended Superman to be the first superhero, and the inspiration for the others. There’s just no Batman in that world.

I mean, if Clark Kent has grown up in a world with costumed crazies periodically threatening to turn major urban centers into graveyards and so forth, and other guys in costumes — without even any superpowers — putting it all on the line to fight the bad guys and defend society, it’s hard to understand why he’s spent all this time wandering about doing odd jobs and happening to save a few random people here and there anonymously when opportunities presented themselves.

In short, I have a hard time rethinking the first 90 minutes of MAN OF STEEL and imagining to myself, “And meanwhile, while Clark was working in a truck-stop diner, Batman was trying to stop KGBeast from detonating a nuclear bomb the size and shape of a baseball in downtown Gotham.” (Or whatever.)

OTOH, Young Spider-Man has been done to death over the last dozen years. People are sick of it. We’ve had his origin story twice, his first encounters with the Green Goblin twice, his high-school graduation twice. Giving us a veteran Spider-Man would be a nice change of pace, and would gloss nicely over skipping the origin story.

Of course you’d have to retcon his absence during major MCU events like THE AVENGERS…and gesture toward a past career we haven’t seen, but which might be not unlike the movies to date.

But this would be comparatively easy to do. ‘

You could even do it with humor.

Here’s how it might go down:

Iron Man: “So, wallflower. Where were you that time the Chitauri were attacking earth and the feds nearly dropped a nuke on Manhattan?”

Spidey (defensively): “I was out of town that day! Hey, where were YOU when Doc Ock nearly blew up New York?”

Iron Man: “China. I get around. Good job protecting New York when the Hulk and his evil twin were leveling Harlem, by the way.”

Spidey: “You know, some of us take the subway when we aren’t suited up! We don’t all have limos and helicopters and…things.”

Iron Man: “Speaking of all my things — I do have to thank you for exposing the CEO of Oscorp as a psychotic flying troll. My stock went up nine percent that day.”

Etc. WDYT?

I agree. And I love your scene! Here’s some more dialogue:

Spidey: Stock. I’ve heard of that. Course, I was raised in Queens and my Uncle Ben didn’t have time to play the market cuz he was too busy working and raising me.

IM: Oh goody. Working class hero.

Spidey: Working class *super*hero to you, bub. The only thing super about you is your superego. Freud would have a field day with that overgrown codpiece of a suit you built.

IM: Learned a lot in community college, I see.

We should collaborate on something sometime! Could be fun!

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  • capaxdei

    “Working class *super* hero to you, bub.”

    [Cut to Hugh Jackman sitting in a bar, suddenly straightening up and frowning.]

    • orual’s kindred

      He squints his eyes and mutters, “Is he even Canadian?”

  • HornOrSilk
    • orual’s kindred

      Michael Bay directing a Superman film? *shudders*

      A Superman film with robots? Hmmmm!

  • MClark

    With Spiderman, it could be a case of both-and instead of either-or. Captain America 3 is still a year away, so they could tease Spiderman any time until then. Maybe have Mack showing Coulson an article from the Daily globe saying “We going after this guy?” and Coulson could say, “No, we have enough on our plate. Not going to spend time on a teenager beating up muggers.” “How do you know he’s a teenager?” and Coulson could just look at him. Or an end credits scene from Avengers 2 or Ant-man with spidey in it. Then the spiderman movie could start a year later, him already a veteran, but still only 17 or 18.

    • orual’s kindred

      I think Marvel is trying to distance this Spider-Man from the previous Sony films. I think it’s understandable, and I don’t mind. And given that Marvel’s said that they’re not going to do origin stories any time soon, and that the Spider-Man standalone film is slated for 2017, I think there’s plenty time to actually feature him in non-origin-story ways before then.

  • orual’s kindred

    Speaking of community college, it might be kind of awesome if Com Tech #1 in The Winter Soldier actually was Abed 😀

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Mr. Greydanus is right about Batman, but 100% wrong about Spidey. Spider-Man is a teenage super hero. That is Spidey at his best. College-aged Spidey was fun at times. Adult Spidey not so much. Spider-Man is a teenager.
    You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger, and you don’t make Spider-Man an adult. ‘Nuff said.

  • Linebyline

    As much as I like the dialogue here, I don’t care for the idea of Spidey in the MCU. If anything, he should be crossing over with the X-Men. In both cases you have super-powered beings who work to protect the same people who hate and fear them. (To some extent, at least. Spidey seems to have more popular support than the X-Men. Still has to hide from the cops though.)

    Meanwhile, the average citizen of the MCU has no problem with Iron Man’s extremely dangerous technology or Captain America’s super-powers, and even the Hulk got a “Heroes of New York” action figure.

    Anyway, if Spidey has to be in the MCU, I like the idea of him still being young. I know we usually see Spider-Man as a teenager, and I can understand being tired of that, but on the other hand every single MCU hero has been an adult so far. Stark’s middle-aged, Rogers was probably early to mid-twenties in the first movie, and Thor is older than most major world religions. I’m not sure about Banner, Romanoff, or Barton. Rhodes is about Stark’s age, and Falcon (sorry, drawing a blank on his real name) is old enough to have been in the military for a while and then out of it for a while. Probably the youngest is Skye, and even she’s over 18. Besides, she hasn’t been in any movies. (Yet?) So a teenage superhero would be a nice change of pace for the MCU.

    On the other hand, I’m definitely with SDG on the idea of Spider-Man being a veteran. We’ve seen Peter Parker learn how to be Spider-Man. Now let’s see him after he’s gotten good at it.

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      Marvel heroes have what I call “tiers of influence.”
      The Avengers and the Fantastic Four are out to save the world.
      The X-Men are out to save society.
      Spider-Man is out to save the city (and pay his rent, get a date, and find time for Aunt May).
      Daredevil is out to save the neighborhood.
      Mixing those tiers of influence isn’t a good idea. It can be fun for an occasional crossover. But making Spidey a permanent member of the Avengers? No. It misses the point of the character. I love chocolate syrup. I love burritos. But don’t you dare put chocolate syrup on my burrito. That warrants clobberin’ time.

      • The Avengers and F4 are frequently out to save the universe, or at least, the galaxy. They are (a few lower-level Avengers excepted) cosmic-level heroes. X-Men are definitely international, so yes, they’re out to save society (“social justice warriors”?) but it’s a global society they’re out to save. I’d call that “saving the world.”

        There really haven’t been “nation-level” heroes (pace Captain America) since the ’70s, maybe earlier, when nationalism went out of style.

        Spot on about Spidey (saving the world takes a travel budget!) and Daredevil.