Spider-Man’s Worst-Rated Movie Wasted The Coolest Superpower Origin Story

Split image of Santiago in costume in looking sad in front of an illustration of a spider in madame Web

Despite being the worst-rated Marvel movie in Sony’s franchise, Madame Web wasted the coolest origin story for Spider-Man’s superpowers. Madame Web was the ill-fated fourth installment of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, a franchise that is ostensibly supposed to explore the surrounding characters of Spider-Man lore. Nonetheless, Madame Web was the closest the franchise came to debuting Peter Parker, as a pregnant Mary Parker featured as a minor character. This leaves a big question mark hanging above which version of Spider-Man Sony’s franchise hosts.

Madame Web took place in 2003, which is over a decade before Venom and Morbius made their in-universe debuts. Given this year does not measure up with the ages of Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire’s versions of the character, the most likely scenario is that Sony’s Spider-Man Universe intends to debut an all-new version of Peter Parker. This places Sony in a prime position to shake up the typical if overdone origin story – but it fell at the first hurdle.

Madame Web’s Las Arañas Made Marvel’s Spider-Power Lore Deeper

Santiago in his Las Arañas costume in Madame Web

Madame Web debuted the clandestine group dwelling in the Peruvian Amazon called Las Arañas – which translates to “The Spiders” from Spanish to English. As their name suggests, the group is inexorably linked to the special species of spiders found deep in the Amazon (the very same that Cassie’s mother attempted to locate). With their bite, these spiders bestow the tribe with myriad spider-themed powers, including wall-crawling, agility, venom production, and other abilities exemplified by Spider-Man himself. Las Arañas seem all too eager to use these powers for good, but they are on-screen for a matter of minutes.

Las Arañas may be loosely based on the Spider Society in Marvel Comics, who are not to be confused with their namesake present within Sony’s Spider-Verse franchise.

Little is known about these super-spiders other than they seem to have emerged naturally in that particular section of the Amazon Rainforest, which flies in the face of the more traditional radioactive spider trope. The fact that they bestowed Cassie with her powers of clairvoyance, albeit indirectly, suggests that this subset of super-spiders retain decidedly more mystical attributes. Unfortunately, this intriguing subspecies wasn’t so much as given a name.

Las Arañas Were Wasted In Madame Web

An illustration of a spider in a book in Madame Web

Madame Web left many questions unanswered, with several surrounding the power-bestowing spiders of the Peruvian Amazon. The same fate befell the clandestine species that befell many other aspects of Madame Web, like Ezekiel Sims’ backstory, leaving the nature of the spiders frustratingly unexplored. Rather than take the opportunity to expand on this facet of the Spider-Man mythos that has yet to be adapted on the big screen, the spiders and their mystical origins were simply taken for granted.

Furthermore, the spiders debuted in a Sony Spider-Man movie that went unseen by so many. Rather than introduce a brand-new and exciting facet to Spider-Man’s origin story – one which may link him and Madame Web – it was a forgettable aspect of an underwhelming movie. As such, Sony will likely now pivot from the Amazonian spiders entirely, as their introduction will have made very little impact, thereby wasting the opportunity they presented.

Why Other Spider-Man Movies Should Explore Other Spider-Man Superpower Origins

Gwen Stacy with her Spider-Man team in Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse

After 8 live-action movies and 2 animated ones in the last 22 years, Spider-Man is in danger of becoming stale. This practically necessitates Sony’s deviation from the norm and a fresh spin on the character that audiences haven’t seen before. The MCU avoided the same issue by skipping over Peter Parker’s origins. Still, to debut yet another Peter Parker with an identical origin while the MCU’s is still swinging can only serve to confuse audiences, no matter how far apart the two franchises are in tone and quality.

Sony has, at least, already proved capable of shaking things up with its animated Spider-Verse franchise. Peni Parker, for instance, has a psychic link with a spider that lives inside a robot. Given Sony’s Spider-Man Universe has already been established as one branch of a multiverse, Sony had an opportunity to ensure that its version of Spider-Man flips the script instead of finding himself bitten by a radioactive spider. This may still occur down the line, but with the failing critical and box office performance of Madame Web, the possibility of seeing any version of Spider-Man in this franchise is significantly diminished.

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