Monday Morning Critic – The Top 10 Actors Who Should Be Next In Line To Play Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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The big news this week was that of Marvel and Sony coming together to unveil the first good news for Sony in a long time. Spider-Man, arguably one of the most important comic book characters of the past hundred years and the character that fans have wanted back to Marvel Studios since about 10 seconds after Iron Man, will be making an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character is being rebooted, Andrew Garfield is gone, the sequel plans for that universe are seemingly on ice and Sony has earned some goodwill. Marvel won’t be getting of the revenues from Sony for a Spider-Man reboot, and vice versa, either as this will be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Marvel gets to use Spider-Man for their own purposes, Sony gets a partner in helping to launch the character for their own end (again) and fans benefit from two studios with a seemingly shared vision for one character.

Spider-Man becoming a part of Marvel’s Civil War cinematic story line, of which he was a big part in the comic book version, is massive in a lot of ways. I’m fairly unimpressed, because this will have marked the third franchise in under 15 years that the web-slinger will have had. We’ll have to start marking the character in the same we do James Bond, by actor, but I will acknowledge that this is a big deal. Parker in the MCU is a fairly big deal. The third Avengers film, where Civil War comes to a head, needs Peter Parker.

Now the question begins: who should play Peter Parker this time around?

Andrew Garfield is confirmed to be gone, and one can imagine that everyone else from the franchise won’t be returning as well. This is a clean sweep of the Marc Webb era of the character, with yet another all new cast to be unveiled as Spider-Man gets a fresh coat of wax.

It’s a clean break and a fresh start, leaving us with The Amazing Spider-Man as a film that’ll feel like the bright start to an aborted franchise filled with unfulfilled potential in a decade. Hopefully the third time will be the charm, especially if they opt to go for something other than teenage Peter Parker. A big key will be WHO they cast for the part. Sony will want the same actor for the most exposure, especially with a new Spider-Man hitting theaters in the next couple years. Marvel wants someone who’ll fit in with the type of actors they cast, as well.

One imagines it’ll be a joint decision, as well. It’s hard to imagine two separate actors, united in spandex, being cast for the same part in two franchises from differing studios that are occurring concurrently.

So who should become the next web slinger? Your friendly neighborhood film columnist has come up with one of my patented, awesome and sometimes trolling take on the subject. And as always my picks won’t be the final pick, most likely. Usually for good reason. As always, some are serious and some are for comic effect. I’ll leave it to you to figure it out … or to say something stupid in the comments and argue it out among yourselves.

The Top 10 Actors Who Should Be Next In Line To Play Spider-Man in the MCU (But Won’t)

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10. Tyler Perry

The Case For: On the bonus side Marvel can save money by also casting him as Aunt May, given Perry’s penchant for cross-dressing in the Madea franchise. Plus he could write and direct, too, thus Spider-Man the crackhead needing to learn good Christian morals after beating up his own personal demons could be in play. It’d be quite the take, to say the least.

The Case Against: Yeah … if I’m making a list Tyler Perry in drag somehow has to be on it.


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9. Channing Tatum

The Case For: Tatum has basically been the Blake Lively of film for the bulk of his career: attractive and able to be in a film but not a particularly strong actor. He’s also a fairly large star, coming off Jump Street and Magic Mike becoming a franchise out of nowhere. If you’re going to cast him, and his abs, it’ll give Marvel a star on par with RDJ and Chris Evans in the franchise. The Avengers is about star power and CT brings a cache that few on this list can.

The Case Against: Remember all those jokes from the Jump Street franchise about how Tatum looked like a 40 year old man in high school & college? Yeah … those will all come back. To be fair, Robert Downey Jr. busting his balls about it would be worth the price of admission alone. Tatum is in his mid 30s, looks it and unless you’re going to cast Spider-Man older he’s not the best fit in that regard. A teenage Spider-Man mouthing off to Tony Stark feels like a Marvel thing to do, and Sony will want someone younger so they won’t be rebooting the franchise a fourth time by the time 2020 rolls around, thus this doesn’t seem like a move either would make.


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8. Idris Elba

The Case For: It’s Stringer Bell, yo! Elba is a great talent just starting to find his groove as a mainstream actor.

The Case Against: This only works if Miles Morales is being used as a true adult, as Elba is 42.


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7. Joseph Gordon-Levit

The Case For: Levitt has 90% of what you want for Spider-Man. He’s young enough looking to still play a 20 something Spider-Man, but obviously not a high school age version. He’s got enough cache as an actor … but isn’t a big enough star to demand a substantial paycheck. He looks young for his age and can grow into the part, as well. Plus he has a near ideal build, is a gifted actor and would fit right in with a cast of veteran hands. JGL and RDJ mouthing off feels like it should happen at some point in a film, right?

The Case Against: JGL doesn’t pick comic book films or roles, and hasn’t been up for many, as he doesn’t seem like an actor who wants those parts. It’s why his role as Robin in The Dark Knight Rises felt a little bit off; it felt like JGL wanted to work with Nolan again after Inception but didn’t want to be a comic book hero. I think if there’s an actor on this list much more in tune with what he wants his career to be perceived as it would be him; Levitt is a creative type and it’s a matter of the role and who he’s working with more than anything else it seems. Plus he had his opportunity to take over as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s franchise and there were no takers; Batman is now Ben Affleck. Warner Bros. had the opportunity to hand him the reigns and instead went in an entirely new direction instead. That tells you a lot.


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6. Christopher Mintz-Plasse

The Case For: Peter Parker is the ultimate geek fantasy; a kid who got bullied gets super powers and fights crime. Who better than the kid who epitomizes the cinematic geek to get the role of Marvel’s geek turned superhero? McLovin as Peter Parker makes a bunch of sense on that level; if you want to emphasize Parker as a geek, something Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield didn’t do strongly, then Mintz-Plasse makes a lot of sense in the regard.

The Case Against: Mintz-Plasse also played the Mother Fucker in both Kick Ass films, the bullied kid who broke bad instead of good. His career peak has been playing knockoffs of McLovin in other films, mainly, and once he finally ages out of those roles he’ll have a much harder time getting regular work as an actor. He’s pretty much typecast at this point as long as he still looks like a teenager. There’s going to be a point where he just can’t play the geeky kid anymore; he’d be too easy a pick based on that alone.

A lot of people are going to pass before he’ll wind up with the role. To be fair, if you cast CMP in the part the first thing people think is “Man, no one wants this role” as opposed to “McLovin is going to be Peter Parker!” That’s not a good thing.


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5. Donald Glover

The Case For: When Miles Morales became Spider-Man in the comic books, Glover would find himself becoming relevant as a potential live action Spider-Man. When Morales popped up in the cartoon, Glover wound up voicing him and there’s been a building sentiment for him as Peter Parker. It would be inspired and exactly the sort of pick that inspires confidence from both the hardcore comic book fan audience and the cinematic intelligentsia.

Glover has strong comedy skills, something that’s needed for the character, and there’s a groundswell of support for the actor. Plus … let’s face it. There isn’t a lot of ethnic diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Awful lot of honkies, just saying. Chadwick Boseman has yet to debut as Black Panther, and Anthony Mackie is the Falcon, but outside of Thor’s sidekicks the MCU is starting to resemble the Babe Ruth era of baseball. It resembles the comic book world at large, obviously, but diversity isn’t just an old wooden ship.

The Case Against: The one downside of being the trendy pick, and the “one we need” as some publications have put it, is that often they’re the one that doesn’t get the job. Glover would be a daring pick but the one thing Marvel usually doesn’t do with main characters is go with daring. That’s why I don’t have much confidence in him getting anywhere near this part. He’s got the comedy chops, isn’t identifiable as any particular character in film, but it feels like Glover will always be on the outside looking in.

If I was making the pick Glover would be my #1, of course, but we have to be realistic. Marvel follows their own drummer, not the will of the people, and thus Glover might be higher on our lists than on their short list. Thus I have a feeling he’s a dark horse right now, not a favorite.


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4. Ezra Miller

The Case For: With a great resume under his belt already, Miller shone as the school killer in We Need to Talk about Kevin and the openly homosexual Patrick in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He’s got a quirky personality and lifestyle outside of his chosen profession, as well, and would be kind of an oddball pick for the part. Miller would bring a much different type of Peter Parker out, which would be refreshing in a lot of ways.

The Case Against: He’s also set to be The Flash in the film of the same name for Warner, so one imagines that alone excludes him from consideration. Miller has a lot of talent and an oddball Peter Parker would be interesting but I don’t think Marvel is looking for Miller’s particular brand of acting and character type for their film series.


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3. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

The Case For: You need to save a franchise that costs over $100 million? Only can have one new actor in your main cast list to do it as well? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is your guy. He reinvigorated the Fast & Furious franchise, made G.I Joe suck a lot less and is the go to guy for your franchise saving needs. The Rock may have a difficult time carrying his own franchise, of course, BUT if you need someone to bring life to an established one he’s your man.

The Case Against: Outside of the fact that he’s bigger than the rest of the Avengers, Johnson is also slated for Black Adam in Shazam. Throw in a salary that’s also substantially bigger than anyone else, comic book nerds losing their minds and this becomes perhaps the worst possible decision you could make.


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2. Anton Yelchin

The Case For: The moment they announced that a new Peter Parker was going to happen this was the first name out of plenty of people’s mouths for the part. It was the same when Ms. Marvel was rumored to be coming to the MCU and Katee Sackoff was the first name out of most people’s mouths. He seems to be the guy people sort of expect to be the heavy favorite. He’s the right age (25) and a Spider-Man in his 20s mouthing off to a much older Robert Downey Junior works on a lot of levels.

The Case Against: He’s the favorite and in Hollywood a lot of front runners who get the part, or who should get the part, often times don’t wind up in the final product. Plus he’s already committed to Star Trek and a healthy slate of independent work, too. Never discount an actor wanting to focus on their craft, or to only pick a handful of particular kind of studio film, as Spider-Man is a multi-film deal with both Marvel and Sony.


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1. Josh Hutcherson

The Case For: Hutcherson had a brilliant audition video that leaked online when he didn’t get the part. It undercut Garfield a lot because Hutcherson showed that he could’ve played the part fairly effectively. He’s better as an actor since then, of course, and age wise he can play teenage Peter Parker for a while as well. He has the physicality to play the role and his acting chops rise to the occasion. I think being in that Avengers cast, with so much talent, would do wonders for him as well. Hutcherson has the big franchise experience already, thus this wouldn’t be as daunting for him as it could be for other actors as well.

The final film in The Hunger Games franchise has also wrapped, as well, thus his schedule got a lot more open for the plethora of films Marvel & Sony would want him in. Hutcherson as Peter Parker would give Marvel their own Christian Bale type who didn’t get the role his first time around but did get it as a more established actor.

The Case Against: He’s been passed over once and that could mean a lot. There was a particular reason why they passed on him the first time around and while his profile has risen since then … it hasn’t risen as high as his Hunger Games co-star. You could argue he’s gotten more visible only because of the franchise and that he’ll wind up being the Hunger Games equivalent to the guy who isn’t George Michael in Wham.

If they’re going to go with Peter Parker the teenager yet again he’s right at that age where playing 16 is possible … but he just looks a little too old to genuinely pass for that age. It wouldn’t be akin to the 40 year old from the original Beverly Hills 90210 playing a teenager type of age discrepancy, obviously, but the eye test doesn’t work 100%.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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