“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling”
This quote from Inception is what should drive every inch of mainstream moviemaking. Since comic book movies are currently the staple blockbuster genre, with their vast untapped source material of fantastic mind-bending stories and rich emotional characters, movie studios should be looking to explore every aspect of it possible. Also, now that almost every kind of story from a villain solo to R-rated comedy to gigantic cross-over event to socio-political epic has been explored, the CBM genre is ready to go into unexplored territory.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse with its striking visuals was not only the most imaginative animated movie made in recent times, but it also took the CBM genre to a new level. It introduced the concept of the multiverse and multiple iterations of the same character from different universes coming together. Usually being DC’s forte in comics, Sony-Marvel was the first to introduce this concept to a larger audience. Warner Media/DC finally got their act together and did what they should have done years ago. Ezra Miller’s Flash showing up alongside CW’s Grant Gustin’s Flash in the Crisis on Infinite Earths TV crossover was them testing the waters for their multiverse. With Jim Lee being the chief architect of DC’s new “everything is canon because it’s all a multiverse” line of thinking, it’s not at all surprising that the upcoming Flash solo movie is going to star Micheal Keaton as one interpretation of Batman and perhaps several other cameos as an integral part of its multiple timeline-based stories.
Therefore it’s not at all surprising that rumors of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man and perhaps Tobey Maguire too showing up in Tom Holland’s 3rd solo Spider-Man movie have started to float. While the hardcore fans will be quick to point out that Dr. Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness was announced before the Flash update or that Multiverse was suggested in the first Dr. Strange movie as well as in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Hardcore fans will remember that the Flash had been announced in 2014 and it was always common knowledge that the movie would incorporate multiple timelines and therefore a multi-verse of some kind….Because it’s integral to the character.
Now movie studios aping each other is a trend as old as movies themselves, with entire genres like the western or the zombie movies being born out of this tussle. Recent examples include Deep Impact and Armageddon, Olympus has Fallen and White House Down, Bird Box and A Quiet Place etc.
But seriously when has any casual fan who hasn’t read entire comic book runs from 1974 to 2019 looked at Spider-Man and thought “you know what? I think I need to see Spider-man in a time travel story”. Just because fans don’t demand it, should it not be done you ask? Well no, creators shouldn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger. But they already dreamt bigger and made Into The Spider-Verse.
So what? Disney is really expanding their imagination by making it into live-action. But there’s so much more they could do! Yes, while the multi-verse might seem like this fantastic grand idea, the MCU could dream much bigger than a multiverse.
THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Here’s an idea, revisit the Fantastic Four movies of the 2000s and tell me they aren’t the template for the MCU. VFX ridden action punctured with childish humor and suggestions of genuine depth. They were in a sense far ahead of their time. In an era when gritty reboots were the thing, the Fantastic Four movies managed to have their own identity. The failed Josh Trank Fant4stic is proof that gritty takes are not suitable for all comic book characters. The Fantastic Four are perfect family-friendly characters that are tailor-made for the MCU. If they can make an unknown team up like Guardians of the Galaxy work, then Fantastic Four is their jam. The Incredibles has proved that a super-powered family is a universally appealing concept.
While it has been rumored that the Fantastic Four movie under Peyton Reed is in the works, the IP needs someone with a bit more style – James Gunn would make the best Fantastic Four movie in my eyes. It can also open up possibilities for someone like Silver Surfer and of course Galactus as the next big cosmic-level Marvel baddie to eventually show up.
THE X FACTOR
With the acquisition of Fox, the one Marvel mega IP which Disney should be thinking about but is sleeping on currently is the X-Men. It single-handedly kept Marvel Comics afloat with its sales and also introduced the modern CBM genre. X-Men has always been Marvel’s star team up before Avengers was made more popular by the MCU movies. X-Men have both small emotional stories as well as catastrophic world-ending events. They have emotionally relatable multi-racial characters built into the concept itself. According to Feige, Marvel currently has no plans to introduce mutants. However, in an era where identity, isolation, discrimination is part of the social conversation, there is no better time to re-introduce the X-Men.
With the future of theatres still in doldrums, Disney+ could look into doing an X-Men series. It wouldn’t require a big VFX budget initially and has enough story material to go for multiple seasons. Disney has to do more than Falcon and The Winter Solider to counter HBO Max’s streaming mega-event – Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
INTO THE NEW YORK-VERSE
It is no secret that the MCU goes by popular demand and is generally least risk-taking than their rivals at DC. No wonder their content has more of a mass appeal. Well then instead of taking a risk like a half-hearted multi-verse, (because let’s face it, the MCU is NOT going for some crisis on infinite earth level event in the future) why don’t they go for things being already demanded by the people. Disney bringing back Charlie Cox’s Daredevil from the cancelled Netflix series would be a step in the right direction for the MCU. Daredevil is a fan favorite character; there has always been a demand to see more of Charlie Cox as the man without fear.
New York is a very happening place in Marvel comics with lots of heroes having their origins or being set here. You could easily have Spider-Man bump into Daredevil during a nightly stakeout or have Peter Parker hire Matt Murdock as a lawyer after Jonah Jameson gave away his secret identity on live TV at the end of Far from Home. Also, if Sony wanted they could easily add Venom to the mix. Since Marvel is already planning on introducing Blade, why not add Morbius and have Blade show up. Hell, add Punisher and Luke Cage in, if you want. Imagine a new New York –verse populated by these heroes and villains like Kingpin and Kraven getting together. Besides they can tone down the violence, make it PG 13 and still make it work. There’s easily 6-7 movies worth of material out there with great cross-over potential.
The one complaint most people have about MCU Spider-Man movies is that he’s not getting to shine on his own. He either depends on Tony Stark or his tech and supposedly on Dr. Strange in the upcoming 3rd one. Spider-Man has always been the face of Marvel and deserves better. Instead of this potential multiverse madness, Marvel could explore more of their existing universe with Spidey.
WHO NEEDS THE MULTIVERSE WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THIS?!
Featured image created by shironeko_24
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