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Spider-Man has officially entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his world is already about to get even bigger. Sony's long-gestating Venom movie will finally materialize next year (with Tom Hardy playing the titular role, no less), and that will open the door for an entire wave of Spider-Man characters to become central figures in the MCU. Or, at least, loosely connected to the MCU. It's an exciting prospect, but it also raises concerns that we cannot ignore.
Chief among these issues is the possibility of what could happen to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Sony attains more creative control in this realm. On that note, and with Sony's take on Venom about to enter the proper Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a few key ideas and concepts that must be acknowledged to maintain the integrity of the MCU. We have a few major points to get to, but let's get started with the fact that checking and double checking key story points in the MCU has officially become more important than ever.
Double Check Every Single Detail
Kevin Feige became an instant meme recently when he sat alongside Amy Pascal as she confirmed that Venom would be part of the MCU. She said they'd be "adjuncts," and might happen in different locations, but will be part of the same world. Although logic would dictate that they must have discussed this possibility at some point, the underlying joke is that Sony's new partnership with Marvel Studios could lead to inconsistency. If Venom (and other Spider-Man properties) are about the join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then the creative forces behind this development need to make sure that every concept, idea, and established story makes sense and jives with the overarching vision for the future. Marvel has developed a stellar reputation for thinking 10 steps ahead, but a partnership with another studio inherently creates a more decentralized environment where inconsistencies can arise. Quality control is key to everyone's success.
Make Tom Holland The Connective Thread Between Properties
Spider-Man has some of the best villains in all of Marvel Comics. In fact, there's even an easy argument to be made that he has the best rogues gallery this side of Batman. Having said that, Spider-Man's villains are a reflection of the teenage hero, which means these stories still require the presence of Tom Holland's Peter Parker in order to create a clear sense of continuity. We have no problem with Venom taking a lead role in his own solo movie, but a Venom story without even the slightest hint at his more heroic counterpart will be a hard sell for even the most die-hard Marvel enthusiast. These movies take place in Spider-Man's world; they are going to need him to participate, in the long run.
Figure Out Which Genres Work For Which Characters
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's best films all seem to have one major thing in common: they play with genre conventions and incorporate a wide variety of styles into their narratives. From Captain America: The Winter Soldier's take on the political thriller formula to Iron Man 3's buddy cop dynamic, Marvel movies work best when they understand their particular genre trappings. Venom should be no different in that regard. Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock can't (and shouldn't) get a traditional hero's journey story arc when his film debuts, and the Venom movie should lean into genre conventions that suit the character. Think about it. A Venom movie with an intense horror film aesthetic? Shut up and take my money right now!
Don't Overload The MCU With Spider-Man Projects
On the DC side of the superhero aisle, we have seen what happens when a cinematic universe tries to add too many characters and concepts too quickly. Spider-Man's corner of the MCU is now becoming its own unique cinematic world and the powers that be need to take it slow when it comes to developing the personalities and ideas that define it. Don't get me wrong, we love the idea of more Spider-Man concepts entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the next few years, but we also don't want to see every minor Spidey character get a solo movie. Start with the Venom and Black Cat/Silver Sable projects, and then gradually branch out from those films with new stories that logically build off of what they establish.
Keep Other MCU Heroes Out Of These Movies
We all know that Robert Downey Jr. will appear as Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming later this summer, and while that's an incredibly enticing idea, it also shouldn't become a permanent trend in this portion of the MCU. Spidey's corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to become exponentially more complicated as Sony fleshes out ideas like Eddie Brock and the Symbiote, and these concepts need to remain insulated until Sony has proven that it knows how to handle this burgeoning mythology. In a move reminiscent of the Phase 1 Marvel films, Sony's SpiderVerse will simply work better if a sound basis of characters and ideas comes together, and THEN other Marvel properties are eventually allowed to cross over and intermingle.
Are you excited about the upcoming Venom movie?