It’s like something from a fan’s fever dream, but the rumors are finally reality — Sony has cut a deal with Marvel to bring Spider-Man into the massively successful cinematic universe of The Avengers. But does it have to be Peter Parker behind the mask?
Fans have been enjoying the adventures and trials of teen-turned-superhero Peter Parker since the 1960s, and he’s anchored five blockbuster films and myriad animated series along the way (not to mention a veritable ton of comic books). Admittedly, the past few films haven’t been of the greatest quality, but there’s no arguing that we’ve gotten a whole lot of Peter Parker the past decade or so. Sony has already all but said they’re sticking with Peter Parker for the Marvel deal, but let us play devil’s advocate for a moment.
Why not let Peter Parker take a break and pass the mantle over to the other Spider-Man who has been slinging around and saving Marvel’s fictional version of New York City the past five years in the Ultimate universe? Say hello to Miles Morales.
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, the character of Miles Morales was introduced with quite a bit of fanfare back in 2011 when they killed off the Ultimate version of Peter Parker and had young Miles take up the mantle of Spider-Man. Miles has a similar origin story, having been bitten by an experimental spider, though everything from his backstory to power set (Venom blast!) are different from Peter Parker's. Honestly, his run in the Ultimate universe has been a breath of fresh air for Spidey fans.
You can only tell so many stories with the same character until you run into fatigue, and after 50 years of Peter Parker donning the web-shooters, we deserve something new. Yes, we’d love to see what Marvel could creatively do with Peter Parker — but the studio has excelled at taking risks and trying to tell the best stories possible. In this case, I’d argue that subverting expectations and giving viewers a Spider-Man story like they’ve never seen before would be the perfect way to do that.
Look, I love Peter Parker as much as the next guy, but it’s been exciting to see someone new figure out how to be Spider-Man and balance all of that craziness with just trying to be a regular kid. Plus, c’mon, Miles' costume is just awesome. The past few years have produced some fantastic character moments for Miles, and some great stories that would absolutely translate well onto the big screen. What might’ve started out as a semi-publicity stunt grew into one heck of a well-rounded character.
Miles has had to duke it out with many of the classic Spider-Man baddies, with the help of his best friend Ganke. He also has more than enough family drama to fill out a good series of films, with his dad having been a secret undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in his youth who now deeply resents superheroes. There are also some great storylines surrounding his mother that we won’t go into deeply enough to spoil. But yeah, some high drama and even higher stakes.
Oh, and did we mention Miles is also the son of an African-American father and a Latina mother? Hey, the guy is the hometown hero of one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world — it only makes sense to shake things up. When the character was first launched, Marvel’s editor in chief, Axel Alonso, said they made a conscious decision with Miles in an effort to reflect “the real world in all its diversity.” Looking back over the past few years of stories, we’d argue they succeeded.
A lot of hemming and hawing has been made about diversity in comic book movies, with much of it centered on stories like the casting of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four (which I still think will turn out to be a good move). Comic book movies need more diversity — it opens up new talent and new ways to tell stories — and in this case it's not even about “recasting” a character. Miles Morales is already a living, breathing hero in the Marvel Comics universe. All I'm saying is give him a shot on the big screen.
Look: The Spider-Man franchise has become a mess in recent years at Sony. Though Marvel certainly has the skills to turn it around, what the franchise really needs is a creative bolt of lightning. Miles Morales could be just the catalyst. It would be a bold move, certainly, but Marvel’s has taken bigger risks than this over the years (see: a movie starring a talking raccoon and Vin Diesel as a tree). At the heart of it all, the only thing fans really want at this point is a good Spider-Man story — and Miles could give them the new creative lens through which to tell the tale.
If we’re going to have the third actor in less than a decade take up the mantle anyway, why not try something different this time around?
What do you think? Would you be up for a Miles Morales Spider-Man movie in the MCU, or is sticking with Peter Parker the way to go?