As much as we like to think about comic book movies as a serious art form that can tell emotionally powerful stories, we have to face it – Disney doesn’t see things that way.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is all about selling toys. That’s its whole purpose for existing, and is the primary reason why Disney shelled out the cash to buy Marvel in the first place.
How foolish the former Marvel shareholders were, to let merchandizing opportunities slip them by. With just a few simple tweaks, the company could have been selling three Spider-Man action figures for every movie they make!
Yes, by the way, that’s the plan—a quick costume change, the addition of a few wings, and Disney can now sell your eight year old nephew three separate Spider-Man figures when Homecoming hits theaters.
These new toys make it pretty clear how the plot of Homecoming will go, at least with regards to costume changes – Peter will have his Civil War outfit, then go retro with his homemade duds, before suiting up in a new version of his fancy Starktech suit that has little wings, which costs an additional $15.99 from most retailers.
It’s starting to feel like the business model for these toys (and, by extension, the movies they’re based on) involves copying Apple’s major strategy: bring out a slightly altered version of the product each year, with enough minor cosmetic differences to make the old one look dated.
Speaking of which, here’s the new Iron Man suit:
If your Iron Man toy isn’t made primarily of gunmetal grey, you’re over the hill, gramps!
There’s also a Vulture toy, but only one, because far fewer kids want the villain figures. To compensate, he’s been made with enormous wings that make him the most expensive toy of the bunch.
Now, it’s probably not (entirely) the case that Peter Parker’s many costume changes in Homecoming are designed entirely to sell more toys.
That said, clearly nobody who designs the Marvel Legends toy range is complaining about all the extra work, and Disney is perfectly happy to jam as much merchandize down your throat as will possibly fit.
Kids are an easy mark for this kind of thing, so obviously Disney’s going to take every opportunity available to make money from the various twists and turns in the story of its upcoming Spider-Man movie. If Spidey was a girl, they might think twice about committing to so much merchandize, as it is, they’re going to get as much money as they can out of their next two hour toy commercial.
Oh, and if you’re busy laughing at the dumb stuff kids will waste their money on, worry not – there’ll no doubt be a Funko Pop for each Spider-Man costume as well, because adults are just children with deeper pockets.