Let's try this again.
When we originally posted this, unfortunately an anonymous commenter came on and made a personal attack on another commenter, and things quickly escalated before Doug or I could intervene. We've always said that our vision for this blog is one of a friendly place to hang out (unlike so much of the internet), and we've been lucky to see that come true. What happened with this post was a rare exception, thankfully. We pulled down the post to let things cool down a bit, and have deleted the attack post and the argument that came after. If anyone has questions about the sort of conduct we expect here at BAB, it's posted on the sidebar under "Drama-Free Zone" (that should be a clue). Basically: play nice. We encourage discussion and debate, but we won't tolerate personal attacks or hostility towards others.
We hope by re-opening the post it will allow anyone who might have been discouraged from commenting to join in and move the conversation forward.
Karen: I want to talk about something that's been popping up on the interwebs lately -the idea that when Spidey appears in the genuine Marvel cinematic universe, he might not be Peter Parker at all, but Miles Morales. Or at least, he might not be white.
OK, now that the collective gasp and initial outrage has passed, let's rationally look at this idea, shall we? I'll admit, my first reaction to the idea of a non-Peter Parker Spider-Man on the big screen was one of dismay. Peter is MY Spider-Man. That's who I grew up with. The kid with a million problems and a huge sense of responsibility, who comes alive when he puts on that red and blue suit. It's hard to think of seeing anyone else up there. But these feelings were mired in sentimentality. I tried to steer clear of that, and consider the idea with an open mind.What, I asked myself, seemed essential about Spider-Man, as an idea, a concept?
There are certain things I think have to be retained to make any version of Spider-Man feasible. The "with great power comes great responsibility" theme is the backbone of the character and has to be present. The Everyman nature -the kid with a million problems -is also at the core of what makes him so appealing. And finally, the sense of fun, of youthful exuberance, of sheer rebellion, with the web-slinging and wisecracking, is the final ingredient in the mix.
He's also a lot like Peter, in that he's a science nerd. He was also pretty young when he first became Spidey -just 13, even younger than Peter. He got his powers through a spider bite too, although this spider was created by Norman Osborn. Now they'd probably have to change his origin in the movies, if there's no Peter Parker. But big deal. They could do that. He's got problems with his family -his uncle is even a super-villain. So there's plenty of angst there.
So what are the pros? Well, it would distance Marvel from the last two Spider-Man films, which were not that successful (although, unlike some folks here, I really liked Andrew Garfield as Peter/Spidey). It would also make it clear that this was an entirely different Spider-Man. It would be fresh, and exciting.
It would bring some much needed diversity to the Marvel cinematic universe, which currently has only three African American characters (Fury, Falcon, and War Machine), all in supporting roles, although Black Panther is on his way. With Miles we'd have an A list hero of color. Some might ask, 'Why does this matter?' It does matter. It's important for our heroes to reflect society as a whole and I'm betting for some kids, to see a super-hero who looks like them among a bunch of otherwise white heroes, is a very big deal. Of course, Spidey has always been one of the few heroes who was covered head to toe, and could "be" anyone -Stan Lee makes that point in this clip at around the 1:15 mark:
Marvel's lucky -they really wouldn't have to change their toys or other products at all. Well, Miles' outfit is different but they might elect to stick with the traditional suit just for marketing purposes.
What are the cons? Dumping Peter Parker does risk fan backlash. And let's admit it, there are still a lot of just plain prejudiced people out there. There's also the marketing issues, but again -Spider-Man looks like Spider-Man, regardless of who's in the costume (well, unless it's the Blob).
I have to admit, I wish I knew more about Miles. My number one complaint about the Raimi Spider-Man films was that I never felt they captured the glib, smart-aleck nature of the character. The two recent, reboot films seemed to get that right, although that was about all they got right. I don't know if Miles has a similar personality. I'd miss that if he was a more serious guy.
But honestly, I feel like I am ready to give Miles a chance. I didn't think I could get to this place when I first heard the idea bandied around, but you know, I've had MY Spider-Man, maybe it is time to try a new one. When the new Star Trek films came out, with new actors playing Kirk and Spock and the rest, it wasn't MY Trek, but you know, I enjoyed them for what they were, and I always have my DVDs of the original series and movies to look at if I need that fix. I think we have to seriously consider the idea of Miles Morales as Spider-Man in the film universe, and not dismiss it so easily.