Monday, June 22, 2015

Leaked Sony Emails About Spider-Man Misinterpreted

In an endless cycle, Sony has once again fallen victim to 'leaked' emails. This time to Marvel in regards to the handling of 'their' property, Spider-Man. Aside from learning that the deal was struck as far back as 2011--why the long silence, Marvel?--there were a lot of clauses as to how Marvel could portray a live-action Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Listed in article a.:

a. Mandatory Spider-Man Character Traits. Spider-Man (whether Peter Parker or an alternative Spider-Man character) must always strictly conform to the following "Mandatory Character Traits":

  • Male
  • Does not torture*
  • Does not kill unless in defense of self or others*
  • Does not use foul language beyond PG-13
  • Does not smoke tobacco*
  • Does not sell/distribute illegal drugs*
  • Does not abuse alcohol
  • Does not have sex before the age of 16, does not have sex with anyone below the age of 16
  • Not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual)

In article b.:

b. Peter Parker Character Traits. Depiction of Peter Parker or his Spider-Man alter ego must conform to the following character traits:

  • His full name is Peter Benjamin Parker.
  • He is Caucasian and heterosexual.
  • His parents become absent from his life during his childhood.
  • From the time his parents become absent he is raised by Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City
  • He gains his powers while attending either middle school or college.
  • He gains his powers from being bitten by a spider
  • He designs his first red and blue costume.
  • The black costume is a symbiote and is not designed by him
  • He is raised in a middle class household in Queens, New York
  • He attends or attended high school in Queens, New York, and he attends or attended college in New York City, New York.
The entire world seems utterly focused on two key details - that neither is permitted to be homosexual--aside from the addendum to article a. that Marvel portrays the alter-ego as a homosexual--or that Peter Parker is not allowed to be any other race than Caucasian. In fact, many people are ignoring that Spider-Man IS allowed to be another race, and can even be homosexual.

Peter Parker is Spider-Man. But so is Miles Morales. Any search on Google of "Spiderman" "Spider-Man" "Spider Man" will bring up results of Miles Morales on the first page hits. In fact, among the very first hits is news via The Guardian of Marvel moving forward with Miles Morales as Spiderman in comics and cartoons. Although there is a level of certainty that the Cinematic Universe will stick with the original web-slinger Peter Parker, Marvel Studios has not denied the possibility of using Morales in the Cinematic Universe in the near future.

The key to what I am saying is that people are freaking out for no reason. Among the complaints is that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are too clean-cut. I mean, how dare Marvel use a straight-edge, poster-boy role model to be an icon on the silver screen for children to look up to!? But the complaints edge towards the race/sexuality points. If Marvel wants to use another alter-ego for Spider-Man than Peter Parker, he can be Japanese and Gay. He can be Miles Morales.

Was it necessary to bullet-point that Peter Parker/Spider-Man can not be homosexual? No. It was not. I do not agree with Sony/Marvel needing to hash that point out. It goes without saying based on his love interests, who should be represented within the MCU as women based on the current storm of fans disappointed in the handling of women, that Parker/Spider-Man are not gay. Having said that, I do not find anything negative about not wanting a homosexual Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Just because the discussion in popular culture recently is about giving gay fair representation does not mean the world needs to strongly consider or actually make the push to represent gay people in every possible medium.

The bullet that Peter Parker be Caucasian does upset me a little bit. We have seen Marvel recently go the direction of a black Captain America. Nick Fury was made black. In Thor comics and Norse mythology, Heimdall[r] is portrayed with white skin, but the MCU Thor movies granted the role to Idris Elba. We got Miles Morales. Even in a piece of crap film a few years back with Fox's end of Marvel - Daredevil featured a black Kingpin (R.I.P. Michael Clarke Duncan). The problem is that we can count these examples on our fingers. While Marvel has certainly been open to the idea of making historically white characters black, they could always do more.

While I understand being outraged at either of the conditions for the character(s), please keep in mind that comprehension is key. Nowhere does it say that Spider-Man 100% has to be heterosexual, or that Spider-Man HAS to be Peter Parker. And considering that Marvel Studios struck the deal with Sony in 2011 right around when Miles Morales was launched/created, it's safe to assume Marvel was creating an alter ego for Spider-Man that they could use and not breach the bullet points with Sony.

Either way, the deal was struck and we should be thankful.