Captain America: Civil War is the newest upcoming addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, coming in May, and the internet is abuzz with theories and speculation (damn, now I wish they were including the Wasp in that movie, if for no other reason than that “buzz” line would be a terrible, terrible pun). So I thought I’d throw my Hat in the game. And, like my last theory about a Marvel film, it’s about Spider-man.
Adding Spider-man to this film was a big deal pretty late in the game for it, and Marvel’s been pretty cagey over just what’s going to happen with him. From what I understand (I’ve said before, don’t read as many comics as I should for how nerdy I act) he played a pretty big role in the Civil War arc, being the notorious neutral party, before revealing his secret identity to the public (which was apparently stupid. And also undone from existence through demonic time fuckery. Which was also, apparently, stupid), and it looks like he’s not going to be quite such a big deal in the film, though they’ve said he’ll have at least one fight scene, which kind of makes sense given the kind of large-scale heroes the film deals with and Spidey being mainly a street-level guy. But some aspects of the comics will undoubtedly make it into the film.
I read in passing that the New Spidey suit will involve some degree of CGI. I’ve also read that in the 2002 Spider-Man film there were some plans to have the white lenses of the eyes on his mask move to show him emote, like they sometimes do in the comics,
but it was eventually decided against this because Hollywood is against whimsy. I’ve also read that part of Spider-Man’s involvement in the comic Civil War storyline involved Iron Man trying to bribe him over to his side by giving him an “Iron Spider” suit involving some mentally controlled robotic bug-leg-tentacle-things,
which honestly strikes me as weirdly similar to the apparatus used by one of his arch-enemies (you know, the guy from the sort of only actually good Spider-Man movie to date).
But something’s always bugged me about Spidey’s suits, at least as they’re depicted in the movies. They are goddamn artfully crafted. They got the whole webbing pattern thing that’s all textured and raised without hindering motion or flexibility at all, they fit him perfectly, they’re extremely form-fitting but breathable and easy to get on and off. That’s not some Morph suit you can buy at Party City for thirty bucks, that is a tailored, specifically modified, professional acrobat-quality suit. And he somehow buys (and inevitably rebuys over and over again because he uses it exclusively for punching people with extra limbs) it with the money he gets as a goddamn freelance photographer. Like, Superman being “on a reporter’s salary” is a joke that comes up sometimes but parker doesn’t even have that. He’s on a fraction-of-a-reporter’s lack of a salary. Is Peter Parker some kind of thrift-shop trolling cosplay-prodigy? Or does he keep stealing the supplies? Is that why J. J. Jameson thinks he’s a menace? Does he have a lot of stock in a jumpsuit distributor?
So here’s my theory. Spider-Man starts out in Civil War with a crappy, homemade suit with static eyes and a distinct lack of pointlessly tactile web patterns. Then he becomes the icon for street-level heroes in the Civil War conflict. So in trying to bribe him onto his side, Iron Man (the guy who is literally all about the suits) gives him, instead of (or maybe in addition to, but I’d prefer instead of) the bug-leg suit above, a new super-cool spider suit like the ones in the other movies, complete with web lines and digital eye-movement tracking lenses (probably because Iron Man has been trying to figure out a way to make his suit show his snarky facial expressions while remaining thematic for years and wants to live vicariously through the equally snarky Spidey) that show every time he blinks, squints, and otherwise wiggles his eyebrows, along with some superior web shooters or something.
So that’s my theory. I want to say that “Iron Man is Spider-Man’s Edna Mode” has to be the most banal theory about Civil War out there, but I know for a fact that isn’t goddamn true.
For more about overly expressive masks in the superhero genre, read this webcomic I wrote.