Once again, I haven’t actually watched the movie. But I am an asshole on the internet with a baseless opinion born of my prejudices and preconceptions, which is practically the same thing.
By now, the “Marvel Movie Formula” has become a well-trod path indeed. One might even go so far as to call it a rut. Each movie seems to share the same aspects, with only the names and faces swapped around like someone ran a find and replace on the script. The same Mcguffin-driven plot structure, the same story beats, the same style of humor, the same trail of metaplot breadcrumbs after the credits, etc. It’s trite. It’s routine. It’s–holy shit, is that fucking Spider-Man?
Oh my goooooooooooooooooooooooooood! It is! It’s Spider-Man! It’s fucking Spider-Man! This movie has Spider-Man in it! Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit! I don’t know how they clawed him back from Sony Pictures, but they did! Spidey! Spidey’s back!
This changes everything. This changes fucking everything.
Some might point out that Spider-Man’s cinematic history isn’t exactly stellar, and that the past three movies have been large enough stinkers that this Avengers roster refresh constitutes his second reboot in the space of four years. These are just the people who just need to try real hard to forget that everything that happened after Spider-Man 2 ever happened. Perhaps they can be convinced that Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man movies were all some sort of feverish nightmare. Spider-Man 2 was the shit, there’s no way they could have fucked the franchise that badly, right? You must have imagined it.
Spider-Man’s inclusion in Avengers 2.5 represents a dramatic change in the Marvel movie formula. Yes, it is still full of soulless CGI-bombast and has a hollowed out void of nothingness where we would expect to find some sort of emotional resonance.
But now it has Spider-Man.
There will still be the “strong female” character archetypes who will end up still needing to be rescued from peril by men and be replaced by other characters in the Lego sets depicting their iconic scenes.
But one of those men is Spider-Man, so it’s not sexist or reinforcing codified gender roles to children.
Captain America still won’t understand today’s society, Iron Man will still be Batman without the whole being orphaned thing, Black Widow will still inexplicably be pining for Hulk, War Machine is probably this movie’s death fake-out, and Ant-Man will be rendered superfluous as the team’s wise-cracking arthropod-themed member. All that is the same, but now it has Spider-Man, so it is in fact completely different and new.
Black Widow will also never get her own solo movie because Marvel “doesn’t need” two hero movie franchises evocative of spiders in their stable. But let’s face it, she was never going to get her own movie regardless.
In short, Spider-Man turns the whole formula on its ear and makes it something new and never-before-seen by the transitive power of Spider-Man. He probably doesn’t even show up in his classic look until the climax, but that’s okay. Two hours and fifteen minutes is still way shorter than the thirteen episodes it took Daredevil to put on his god-damned costume, and even then they didn’t get the mask right until a few episodes into the second season.
Oh yeah, Black Panther’s in this one too. He’s okay, I guess.
Verdict: I’ve always really liked the Marvel movies anyway.