Spider Vs. Spider

Both Sony and Marvel have produced interesting, unique cinematic adaptations of the classic superhero Spider-Man. With the recent Sony-Disney split, and success of Sony’s “Into The Spiderverse” andMarvel’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home, critics have debated both framchises’ interpretations of the iconic character. Here are the two sides of the Sony-MCU argument.

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Spider Vs. Spider

Lani Wongkar and Miguel Cubero

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Sony

by Miguel Cubero

In 1985, Marvel was filing for bankruptcy and it encountered a hard dilemma: they had to sell the copyright and publishing rights for certain characters. Some of those characters included the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, the Celestials, the Sinister Six, and, of course, Spider-Man. The rights for Spider-Man were sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment on a deal for Sony to produce their own movies for the web-slinger. In 2002, Sony released the first Spider-Man movie that was widely received as the first successful comic-book movie both in box office revenue and in the eyes of actual film critics. This movie sparked a whole trilogy that recieved mixed reviews by both comic-book fans and film critics alike. Whether or not the trilogy was enjoyed by many people, it influenced pop culture and the way that people look at comic-book movies. Nowadays, the Sony trilogy — most of the time called the Tobey Maguire-Trilogy, — is widely respected and praised as the catalyst that would start a movement for all comic-book movies in Hollywood and the film industry as a whole. After the success of the first three Maguire films, Sony decided to start the production for a fourth film to respond to the bad criticism of the third film. Ultimately, the film’s production was cancelled once the director, Sam Raimi, and Sony had different ideas as to where the film’s story and theme should’ve gone. Five years after the release of the Maguire trilogy, the Andrew Garfield trilogy released its first film. This movie was highly criticized for  not staying true to the character’s source material and just plain in general with its presentation. The second movie wasn’t very successful either as it drew even further away from the already established character and made some poor story decisions that affected how the characters’ values and established merits were viewed by the public.  This was regarded as a dark time within the Spider-Man fan base and soon enough people began to lose hope once Sony announced that there wasn’t going to be a third movie as previously planned. What fans didn’t realize was that Disney began to make a secret deal with Sony to put Spider-Man within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Four years after the second Andrew Garfield movie, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” was released. This film has been regarded as maybe the best Sony Spider-Man film to come out yet as it not only stays true to the original Peter Parker (Spider-Man) character, but it also introduces some other great characters from the comics such as Miles Morales (Ultimate Spider-Man), and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen). “Spidey’s” Sony movies although pretty much hit or miss, established the foundation for what is the comic-book movie industry today and without our beloved wall-crawler then movies such as the Avengers may have never even existed.

Marvel

by Lani Wongkar

For the past decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced compelling, likeable adaptations of comic book heroes, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is no exception. Holland faced enormous pressure to introduce a fresh portrayal of the superhero: Spider-Man was a fan-favorite character and staple personality of the Marvel comics, and already existed under Sony’s “Spider-Man” and “Amazing Spider-Man” franchises. Despite such high expectations, however, the MCU’s Spider-Man introduced a new layer of depth to the role and remained true to the original character, while still spinning a novel storyline for one of the Avengers’ most iconic heroes.

Spider-Man’s induction into the MCU felt slightly rushed due to Marvel’s haste to carry forward their existing Avengers storyline; nevertheless, later films both displayed Tom Holland’s excellent acting skills and fully established the character. 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” introduced the web-slinger in its trailer to generate anticipation for the movie, and threw the character into the mix of warring heroes with little introduction. However, through Spider-Man’s awkward exchanges with adult heroes and the other Avengers’ complaints that he was too young to participate in the conflict, this movie established Spider-Man as Iron Man’s eager yet inexperienced protegé, a theme developed well in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” “Homecoming,” which explored Spider-Man’s origin and life as a budding superhero, perfectly displayed the struggle of growing up: Parker’s awkward transition into a masked hero coupled with his awkward transition into adulthood successfully promoted a sense of relatability and sympathy in audience members. Tom Holland, the youngest actor to portray a live-action Spider-Man, executed his performance with heart and dedication, successfully cementing his adaptation into the MCU. An emotional scene in “Homecoming,” where Parker crawled out of rubble after a defeat, crying and in pain, both demonstrated the extent of Holland’s acting capabilities and highlighted Peter Parker’s core burden: that he is simply a teenager suddenly thrust into a world of responsibility, superheroes, and crisis.

2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” followed excellent portrayals of Spider-Man in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” “Endgame’s conclusion with the death of Iron Man continued Spider-Man’s adage, “with great power comes great responsibility,” as Parker struggled to fill the role of the leader and face of the Avengers. “Far From Home” successfully developed this conflict by using Tony Stark as an Uncle Ben figure for Peter. In the comics and in most of Sony’s cinematic adaptations, Peter Parker ignores a petty thief as he starts out as a hero, but that same thief kills his uncle, scarring Spider-Man and leaving him with guilt and an overpowering sense of duty that drives his character. A complaint with the MCU’s version was that Uncle Ben was not introduced as a key part of Peter Parker’s story; however, Tony Stark’s sacrifice and Peter’s inability to prevent it perfectly adapted the source of Peter Parker’s mindset in a way that made sense within the franchise, created sympathy for the character, and successfully set him up to be the new face of the Avengers.

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