Spider-Man has become a beloved character for many a movie goer and has brought a lot of success towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, the webslinger is to be ripped away from the MCU all over corporate arrangements.
If you’ve been living under a rock or have no internet access, Disney, the company that owns Marvel Entertainment, and Sony, the company that holds the film rights to the use of Spider-Man, have been duking it out over who will own the keys to the webslinging kingdom on screen. Reported by Deadline on Aug. 20, the splitting of the giants comes from a disagreement over financing the films. Disney reportedly wanted to renegotiate the terms of their loan contract to where Disney and Sony would pony up 50-percent of the funding. However, Sony refused this offer and later offered other configurations to try and work something out, but Disney refused anything other than an even 50-50 buy in. This caused a schism between the two studios and with it, the removal of Tom Holland from playing Peter Parker in any future MCU film not greenlit by Sony.
One might ask, “Why should I care if two studios fight over a comic book character?” The simple answer: the decline of art. In a late-stage capitalist society, the needs of those with money will always outweigh the needs of those without. The money becomes a driving force of human interest when it should be the other way around. Human interest needs to drive where the money goes. Gigantic corporations dealing in the sale of art, such as licensing of comic book characters in movies, will always choose the more profitable option rather than the option that presents a higher standard of artistic integrity. This has been a change over the 20th century where film evolved from what the poor went to see when they couldn’t afford the theatre or the opera to what Jane and Joe Q. Public go to see on a Friday night, every Friday night. This shift towards the conflation of the aesthetic value with the monetary value is a dangerous position for our society to be in. It basically amounts to this question: “If your art can’t make me money, why on Earth should I invest in it?”
The answer to that question is the fact that art and culture is what makes a society thrive. If the people have nothing to partake in other than the monotony of a 9-to-5, then you’re going to have a lot of angry people on your hands. We need art to bring our own minds to place where things are beautiful and abiding to our higher nature. This is why the Disney-Sony debacle, regardless of who is right and who is wrong, is such an important turning point in our time.
Our society is coming on a pressure point of late stage capitalism that will split people alive into two groups: those that have and those that have not. Regardless of what side you are on, we as a society need to be on the side that does not make a price tag our judge of a piece of art’s value. Art’s value is how it affects us and the techniques used to create that art and if Sony and Disney can’t see that, then they shouldn‘t have Spider-Man at all.