Spider-man has managed to open the gates for not just avid Marvel fans! Find out more about how ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ became the solution to Marvel’s phase 4 problems.
‘No Way Home’ had the second-highest domestic opening weekend in history, grossing $260 million. It became the pandemic’s most successful film in just three days, with global earnings exceeding $1 billion. It is now the most successful film in Sony’s history. Its continued success is unsurprising given that Marvel has created a film that appeals to a wide range of fans in addition to its core audience.
- Marvel phase 4 problems
- Spiderman caters to a larger audience
- ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ loved by non-Marvel fans
Marvel phase 4 problems
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is well known for producing a series of complex films that connect their plots and characters. To gauge its success, consider the conclusion of Phase 3 of the MCU, which culminated in the epic ‘Avengers: Endgame’. While this approach resulted in a sweet pay-off for die-hard Marvel fans, as Phase 3 came to a close, Marvel was quickly becoming an inaccessible cinematic universe for several casual fans.
Every film included references that only die-hard Marvel fans would recognize. Even when Disney Plus announced the release of shows such as ‘WandaVision’, ‘Loki’, ‘What If’, ‘Hawkeye’, and others, it was clear to casual viewers that there was no point in engaging in the shows or fandom unless they had hours to devote to understanding how everything connects.
One of the most acclaimed films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is ‘Avengers: Endgame’, which many consider being one of the best MCU films ever. The film is the culmination of 20 movies’ worth of story buildup over 11 years. Unlike other Marvel films such as ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, it is not intended for casual Marvel fans to watch.
Spiderman caters to a larger audience
With the inclusion of previous Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, Spiderman was a Marvel movie that most people could watch to re-engage with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And, if Marvel can maintain this level of engagement, it has the potential to introduce a whole new group of fans to the fandom.
Spider-Man has always been a sort of exception to this rule, having been the most popular Marvel hero long before the MCU was even a thought. Even for non-comic book fans, the character had five live-action movies spread across two franchises. So, by the time he made his MCU debut, he already had a major fanbase.
As a result, any Spider-Man content created by Marvel Studios has had the difficult task of serving both the character’s core fanbase and the MCU crowd. By the time Spider-Man arrived on the scene, the MCU had already established itself as a well-established franchise; because he was appearing not only in his own films but also in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and the third and fourth Avengers films, his story needed to fit with the overall arc that had already gotten established.
‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ loved by non-Marvel fans
Unlike the previous two films, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ contains far fewer Iron Man references or Avengers name-dropping, a common complaint among hardcore Spidey fans throughout his time in the MCU. Despite the presence of Doctor Strange, the story is mainly about Peter.
That is not to say there was not a focus on the larger MCU in ‘No Way Home’. It took clues to understand Tom Holland’s relationship with Benedict Cumberbatch’s character and his role in the MCU without seeing Doctor Strange or ‘The Avengers’.
Aside from that, as long as you had a basic understanding of the previous Spider-Man films, the plot was engaging and mainly easy to understand. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for non-Marvel fans to see a superhero film. Superheroes are for all audiences, but the more interconnected Marvel’s content becomes, the less accessible they become.
A new move for Phase 4 could make sense. By allowing itself to explore more full-circle and stand-alone stories, this is the ideal time to cater to a new audience, who may have returned as a result of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’.
Aside from ‘No Way Home’, one of the strongest Phase 4 efforts thus far was Shang-Chi, which, because it dealt with a new hero, had a plot that a non-MCU fan could enjoy.