Before the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, there was a lot of concern among Marvel fans about whether or not Spider-Man would be allowed to join the MCU. Sony, which has held Marvel’s Spider-Man film rights since 1998 (a $7 million deal, one of the most lucrative licensing deals ever), didn’t always intend to merge its Tom Holland trilogy with the MCU canon, and the very idea that Spider-Man wouldn’t reconciled with Tony Stark, angered fans. As we all know, Disney and Sony were able to reach a deal to include Spider-Man in the MCU while keeping all the Spider spin-offs like Venom and Morbius, a move that is still controversial in some fan circles. .
Sony has had mixed success with its Spider spin-offs, and in all likelihood future installments like Kraven, El Muerto, Silk, and the ten other live-action projects currently in development will all be varying degrees of terrible. It’s easy to see why people would prefer Disney to handle all superhero movies, given its history of blockbuster movies in the MCU. While it may seem like the Marvel Universe is better off in Disney’s hands, the overwhelming success of Across the Spider-Verse proves otherwise. The creativity and artistry that makes the Spider-Verse movies so special tells you everything you need to know about why media consolidation is bad news for everyone.
Disney would never make a movie like Across the Spider-Verse. None of this makes Spider-Verse a good fit for the Disney brand. Experimental style, humor, political commentary and complex themes would be condensed into a lowest common denominator, easily digestible and family-friendly package. I love a lot of Disney animated movies, including some modern ones, but Disney movies are Disney movies, and Spider-Verse is something else entirely.
The expansive canon of the MCU has been so much fun to watch as it unfolds because nothing like it has ever been done before, but that doesn’t mean it has to gobble up all the characters it can. People celebrated the takeover of 20th Century Fox because it meant the X-Men and Fantastic Four were coming, but that’s a double-edged sword. We’ll get MCU-quality movies (a label that loses value every year) with X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, but that’s everything we will get from them. Now that these characters are trapped in the Mouse House, there is no Spider-Verse equivalent for the X-Men.
This obviously also applies to gambling. Those who support Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard argue for a future where all games are made by the same two or three big companies. Not only does this leave developers with less choice of where to work and less bargaining power to advocate for fair wages, but it limits the creative potential of games by putting all the decision-making power in just a few hands. If we care about diversity, originality and creativity, we should want as many people and companies making art as possible. Sometimes you’ll get Morbius and sometimes you’ll get Spider-Verse.
Next: Spider-Verse’s Gwen Stacy may not be trans, but her story sure is