During the mid-eighties, when superhero movies weren’t the money making juggernauts they have been in recent years, it didn’t seem likely that there would be a Spider-Man movie made. Marvel had put the movie rights for the character up for sale and most studios passed on the opportunity. A small studio, Cannon Films, purchased the rights to the character, but before they could do anything with Spidey, the company went bankrupt and finally closed down in 1994.
After swinging from company to company and after much litigation, the rights to Spider-Man finally reverted to Marvel, who promptly sold them again, this time to Sony Pictures. Sony made five separate movies about the character: the Sam Raimi trilogy featuring Toby McGuire as the beloved wall-crawler followed by the Marc Webb directed reboot with Andrew Garfield and the “failed” sequel. I say “failed” because it’s hard for me to believe that a movie that has eventually made over $700 million dollars is considered to be a failure.
That turned out not to be good enough for Sony and that fact turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened for the character. On February 9th, 2015 the clouds parted and the Holy Hosts of Heaven announced in chorus that Sony and Marvel had come to an agreement that would allow for Spider-Man to appear in movies that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s the same universe where Captain America, Iron Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy reside. After eight years of the existence of the MCU, we are finally going to get to see the most popular Marvel Comics character (arguably the most popular comic book character there is) up on the big screen along side his fellow Avengers.*
Now that Spider-Man is officially in MCU canon, we know that he was at least alive during the events on the Loki-headed Chitauri assault on New York City. We also know now that according John Watts (the director of the upcoming, and as of yet unnamed, solo Spider-Man movie), Spider-Man is “…just 15 now.” Whether he is referring to his age in Captain America: Civil War”or in the 2017 solo movie is up in the air. Rumor has it that by the time we meet Spidey in “Civil War” he will have already had his powers for around a year and have been trying his hand at the hero gig as more of an urban legend than a public figure (more like Daredevil than Iron Man).
So, if we say that he is 15 years old in the upcoming Cap movie, which comes out in 2016 (and we assume that Marvel is roughly sticking with a real-time timeline), then when the events in “Avengers” were occurring in 2012 Peter Parker would’ve been a plain old, non-powered kid, most likely still in the fifth grade.
But before any of this was going to happen, before the Sony/Marvel deal, before Tom Holland was cast, did you ever wonder what some of the New York City superheroes might have been doing while Hulk was tossing Loki around like a rag-doll?
Enter Spider-Man: The Lost Avenger, a comedic fan made movie that aims to answer that question. It turns out that Spidey wasn’t shirking his heroic duties while the Avengers fought off an alien invasion. He just got sidetracked on his way downtown by a few more mundane, slightly less epic, situations including returning not one but two dogs to their owners and saving a baby whose parents are trying to figure out how to use an ATM before finally chasing down a purse snatcher who reminded me of a low-rent Prowler/The Looter. Check it out:
This movie has some genuinely funny lines and the people involved seemed to have a good time making it. Some of my favorite lines involved rumors about Spider-Man, like the fact that he eats the criminals he catches and that he shoots webs out of his… well, you get the idea.
There aren’t much in the way of special effects except a red and blue blur swinging across the screen, but I feel that the understatedness is part of the charm. The heart and humor of Spider-Man are in full affect and I recommend that any fan of the character take the short amount of time to check it out!
*Spider-Man has been an on again, off again member of the Avengers team since Avengers Vol. 1, #316