Yes, we recently watched, and nearly fell over watching, the second official Captain America: Civil War trailer. Honestly, I watched it over 50 times, specifically the last few moments when a certain spider-themed teen relieved Captain America of his shield and confirmed his presence with a surprisingly calm, “Hey, everyone.” So, 2 things: firstly, he’s here in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this is GREAT; it’s been a long time coming and the result of 2 film studios butting legal heads over certain proprietary rights over a number of years. Secondly…he’s very obviously supporting Iron Man. Why Iron Man? Well, it just so happens I have a theory behind the Iron Man and Spider-Man alliance in Civil War. Hold the applause or rock-throwing until after I make my case, please.
So, the Russo brothers – the familial directors of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War – have already made fans aware of Spider-Man’s existence; he’s been popping up now and again for the last 2-3 years. Besides that, the last few moments of Marvel’s Ant-Man film alluded to Spider-Man’s recurring vigilantism when a reporter told Falcon (Anthony Mackie) about the surprising influx of debuting super-persons, stating, “We got guys who jump. We got guys who swing. We got guys who climb up walls.”
According to a source speaking with our friends at Geek.com, Tony Stark, always one to keep abreast of the latest superhero goings-on, further investigates the “Spider-Man” phenomenon, utilizing his access to SHIELD records in order to locate the 15- year-old, scientifically inclined, enhanced human. So, taking a keen interest in the individual behind the mask, Stark seeks out Spider-Man in an effort to recruit him, offering an item of particular interest to the fledgling, barely-pubescent hero in order to sweeten the deal: an advanced Spider-suit. Super-cool, precisely engineered super-wear is an obvious upgrade from whatever dysfunctional uniform the 15-year-old slapped together after class or over countless weekends.
Now, why would Peter Parker even consider such an offer? I mean, Stark’s invitation, no matter how gregarious, comes with a tacit promise of future conflict. And not just any old conflict; I’m talking conflict with other super-humans. Sure, Spider-Man can lift a Volkswagen Beetle, but can he dodge a star-adorned, vibranium discus, survive a blow from Thor’s hammer, or successfully counter the cybernetic arm of a brainwashed, Soviet super-soldier?? Going back to Geek.com’s source, Peter accepts because his Spider-Man persona was inspired by Tony Stark; he grew up idolizing Tony, a representative – a hero – of supreme technological achievement. Here’s the timeline: Iron Man I takes place 10 years before the events of Civil War, and Peter Parker is only 15-years-old. This means Iron Man came on the scene when Peter was only five, and was definitely a media darling as Peter grew. So, when you’re a young pup already taken by the world of bleeding-edge technology, and you’ve been following the ultimate developer of said bleeding-edge tech for a large chunk of your childhood, the arrival of – and subsequent offer by – Tony Stark might be met with an ecstatic, “HELL, YES!!!”
But I’m still not convinced Tony’s offer would be enough to sway him. You see, going with Tony takes him away from Aunt May who, along with Peter, suffered a great loss: the death of Ben (Uncle Ben) Parker. Would Peter want to be away from his only surviving relative? Well, probably not, unless we change up the circumstances behind Uncle Ben’s untimely demise.
In the comics, Uncle Ben instilled in Peter the now ubiquitous philosophical tenet, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is a tenet Peter casually dismissed when he allowed a thief to pass by unmolested, the very same malcontent who would later end Ben Parker’s life. Due to his dismissal, and the occurrence after said dismissal, Spider-Man took Ben’s words to heart and vowed to use his powers responsibly and help those in need.
However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe may use Spider-Man’s currently unformed, filmic continuity to its advantage by putting a different spin on Ben’s death, strengthening Spider-Man’s historic link to the MCU and validating the convictions behind his support of Team Iron Man. So, this is what I’m thinking:
What if Ben Parker didn’t die at the hands of a casually ignored criminal, but during the “Battle of New York,” the full-scale Chitauri invasion detailed in the very first Avengers film?
That’s right; I’m theorizing that Ben Parker was killed in the crossfire between an invading alien armada and a handful of incredibly destructive super-people. If you’re looking for the perfect example of those with great power using it irresponsibly, the Battle of New York is your ‘Exhibit A.’ How many thousands of people were killed when the Hulk punched an alien vessel through a bundle of office buildings? How many hundreds were crushed when Thor drop-kicked an alien chariot into a subway tunnel?? I’m not sure what the final death toll was, but I bet its number included Ben Parker. So, due to the Battle of New York and the loss of Ben, Peter is very intimately aware of the results of super-human conflict. When Tony Stark offerred technology and camaraderie, he also offered something else: the promise of super-human regulation and accountability. No one should EVER have to go through what Peter, or his Aunt, experienced due to the negligent practices of super-humans. It’s this point – Stark’s final argument – that guarantees Peter’s support.
Is my theory way off base? Way out of line? Or, is it actually intelligently conceived and you can’t help but sing its praises? Let me know below!
After you’re finished throwing word-rocks, let me know your theory behind the Iron Man/ Spider-Man alliance!