Apr 8, 2016

[Guest Post] Ultimate Spider-Man To Influence New Film Series?

Ever since Marvel's new Spider-Man made his thrilling debut in the latest trailer for Captain America: Civil War, speculation about what the new Spider-Man film franchise will look like has heated up. For those who might not be aware, a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios has resulted in Marvel gaining the film rights to the character for the first time, and in turn has allowed them to fulfill their long-standing goal of mixing him into the "Cinematic Universe" in which the Avengers and Co. operate. Promising young actor Tom Holland will be the latest Peter Parker/Spider-Man when Civil War premieres in May.

Most fans can't wait to see Spider-Man back in action, but we should also expect Civil War to offer little more than a tease. The real question is what kind of movie Marvel will bring us when the untitled Spidey standalone film debuts in 2017. The only real indications from Marvel have been about the idea of keeping Peter Parker young. Whereas previous film series quickly pushed Parker into the real world following high school graduation, the focus for Marvel will evidently be on Parker's high school experience. Beyond that, we don't really know any details. But a recent article by Den Of Geek put forth some pretty interesting theories that may give us a better idea of what to expect.

The core of the article was the assertion that Marvel has in the past done a pretty good job of setting up new films with comic storylines. It's not always the case, but often as Marvel prepares to launch a new project, the comics will move in a direction that provides a convenient foundation for the film to come. And if we accept that as typical operating procedure for Marvel, then the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series that began in 2000 and ran for over a decade might be our best bet for specific source material.

The clearest connection, other than this simply being one of the more recent Spider-Man comics, is that Ultimate Spider-Man focuses largely on a boy Peter Parker, as opposed to a young man. As was noted by Den Of Geek, we even see a younger and more active Aunt May in the comics, which solves some of the issues that were pointed out by fans as soon as Marisa Tomei was cast in the role. The Guardian collected some of the backlash, which was essentially focused on the fact that Tomei was considered to be too attractive to play the ordinarily elderly and frail Aunt May. It's a fair point to say this is definitely a different direction for Aunt May, but Tomei is pretty age-appropriate for the Ultimate Spider-Man stories. It's also fitting that someone with her pedigree and acting chops can take on an Aunt May that does more than sit around the house spewing an occasional word of wisdom.

The other clear connection that we can already confirm is that in both Ultimate Spider-Man and Civil War, Spider-Man is very much on the radar. He's not hiding out in New York showing himself only during emergencies, but rather has become known to the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. In the comics, S.H.I.E.L.D. actually takes a pretty controlling stance toward him, which may fit in pretty naturally with the Civil War plot. We know that some superheroes, led by Captain America, will oppose government regulation of their activity, so it makes sense that a government organization would want to make absolutely sure to secure the services of a new hero like Spider-Man. And given that we know Spider-Man will be on Iron Man's pro-regulation team, it all fits together pretty nicely.

Where things get interesting is with the villain. Right now we have no idea who the villain will be in the next Spider-Man film, though Marvel has hinted that we'll see something we haven't seen before. If Ultimate Spider-Man truly is the inspiration for the film, though, that might be misleading—the Green Goblin is the primary villain in those comics.

This ought to sound familiar. The Goblin was the wall-crawler's main adversary in both Spider-Man franchises we've already seen, and as a result he has become by far the most deeply ingrained of any Spider-Man villains in pop culture. Recently, reports surfaced that the Goblin was going to be brought back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 before the movie was scrapped. And at Gala Bingo's casino pages, the Goblin is the subject of his own slot machine game alongside Spider-Man. That may not sound particularly noteworthy, but licensed Marvel slot games usually tend to involve only heroes (not villains), as well as only projects that are currently related to the big screen. So, a Spider-Man game called "Attack of the Green Goblin" should raise some eyebrows.

The compromise may just be that the Green Goblin of the Ultimate Spider-Man series is unlike the one we're accustomed to. Spider-Man may be unrivaled among comic superheroes when it comes to the array of villains he's gone up against, so we could see any of countless villains that haven't been on screen yet, from Mysterio to the Vulture. Or we could see the more mutant, Hulk-like version of the Goblin that rises to power in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Really, we still don't know many details. However, the idea that Ultimate Spider-Man could be providing the source material gives avid comic fans a place to look while anticipating the new film. If you really want an idea of what Marvel might have up its sleeve, start reading!

James Larsen is a pop-culture fanatic and freelance blogger based out of San Francisco. He's trying his best not to overhype himself for Captain America: Civil War, but let's be real: who isn't excited for this movie?

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