With one month to go until the release of the reboot of the reboot of one of the most popular Marvel characters of all time, hopes are high that Spider-Man Homecoming can breath life back into a franchise that some feel stalled in a major way back in 2014.
With diminished returns (comparatively), it’s no secret director Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 weren’t universally embraced. And while many had less of a problem with Andrew Garfield’s take on Peter Parker, the story was overly wrought and the villains mishandled were two of the major slights. For all the pomp and circumstance associated, it seemed to lack imagination and a true understanding of the nature of the character.
Now, with Spider-Man Homecoming and MCU’s involvement, fans feel the ship has been righted with the casting of Tom Holland as Spidey, a very successful appearance in Captain America: Civil War and the inclusion of the MCU’s favorite mentor, Tony Stark/Iron Man. These things along with very well received trailers and promos and it seems we may have a hit on our hands as early tracking has Homecoming opening to $135 million in North America alone. If you use the multiplier you’re looking at around $330 million in North America and likely $500 – $600 million international for a total worldwide gross of around $900 million plus. Not bad at all.
Indeed Tom Holland does seem to capture the youthful energy and slight naivety of Peter Parker very well and the decision to focus on a less emo, more guileless version should serve this series well. Recent rumors have them borrowing the Harry Potter formula and shaping each consecutive film over the course of one school year so here’s hoping Holland retains his youthful glow. This is where the insertion of older established names such as Downey and Evans becomes key as a strictly high-school set drama could potentially turn away older audiences.
Director Jon Watts (Cop Car, Clown) doesn’t have any real big budget experience and has cut his teeth as a writer and on TV so we really don’t know what to expect from him. Joss Whedon was primarily known for writing and TV as well and we all know how that turned out. Marvel and Sony would not hand this property over to just anybody so there’s considerable confidence that Watts can deliver the goods.
There are six writers credited to the screenplay, most of which have comedy backgrounds so that should give you an indication about the direction of the script. Watts is listed, as is his Clown/Cop Car co-writer Chris Ford, along with Jon Goldstein (Horrible Bosses), Chris McKenna (Community) and Erik Sommers (LEGO Batman). Any of the older nerds out there might recognize the name John Francis Daley on that list as well who played Sam Weir on the short lived but impactful Freaks & Geeks!
As for the story, it doesn’t appear to be a real brain twister with what seems to be a very straightforward “coming to grips with your powers” type story. The official synopsis is…
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers several months earlier, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Kevin Feige has said this film has many similarities to the 2012 animated Ultimate Spider-Man and is NOT an origin story, although I’m sure some back grounding will naturally occur through exposition. Some Spider-Man threads that run familiar will be:
- Peter is back in high school
- Peter wears the classic Spider-Man costume
- Incorporates new villains
- Peter has a non-stop wit as Spider-Man
- Peter has awkward interactions with other superheroes
- Peter is a street-level hero
It what may turn out to be the most interesting part of Homecoming, Michael Keaton has been cast to play Adrian Toomes aka Vulture. Director Jon Watts describes him as a “man with criminal tendencies who runs a salvaging company and has a suit consisting of mechanical wings forged from Chitauri technology.” Watts goes on to say, “It’s fun to think that if Spider-Man is a regular kid who becomes a superhero, there’s got to be a bunch of regular guys who become supervillains, too.”
Note: The Chitauri are a fictional race of extraterrestrial shape shifters that appear in Marvel’s alternative universe.
As for the rest of the casting we know Tony Stark/Iron Man plays the role of big brother/benefactor and as seen in the latest batch of trailers provides most of Peter’s tech including an A.I. suit and an emblem drone. Captain America himself makes an appearance as well. And as we saw her in Captain America: Civil War, Marisa Tomei returns to play Peter Parker’s Aunt May.
As for Peter’s world, his friends consist of relative newcomers Zendaya who plays Michelle and Jacob Batalon who plays Peter’s best friend and confidant Ned. It’s not totally clear if the “Michelle” character is in fact Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s long-time love interest, but she will be an intellectual equal to Peter. It’s these two relationships that will likely remain consistent to this series going forward so expect thoughtful and meaningful dialogue.
So that’s really all you need to know save the really spoilery stuff which I won’t get into here but it’s all in the trailers anyways. Rest assured the emphasis will really be on selling Tom Holland to the audience as we’re sure to see a lot more of him in future MCU and non-MCU films. It’s vitally important even if the film is below average that he scores high with crowds and all the big wigs know that.
Here’s the latest trailer…
I’ll leave you with this gem courtesy of composer Michael Giacchino…
— Michael Giacchino (@m_giacchino) May 19, 2017
As with all things MCU, look for Easter eggs, credit scenes and some Avengers: Infinity War hints and possibly some idea of what to expect next from Spider-Man himself…
Till next time…