Another day, another piece of news surrounding Spider-Man: Homecoming. As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 starts to wind down on its theatrical run, the good folks over at Marvel and Sony are starting to amp up their marketing campaign for the film as the July 7th release date draws closer. Several days ago, Tom Holland sat down with Yahoo! Movies on Facebook for a live Q&A session to talk about the upcoming film, and he made some interesting comments about the unique approach the film takes on the Spider-Man mythos. After fifteen years of seeing Spider-Man on screen, being portrayed by two different actors over five films and two separate franchises, it’s safe to say that audiences, both fans and casual moviegoers alike, want to see something different. As a case in point, let’s look back at both the Raimi trilogy, as well as Marc Webb‘s Amazing Spider-Man franchise just for kicks.
When Spider-Man hit movie screens across the country in May of 2002, it was unlike anything audiences had ever seen at the time. It handled the origin story of one of the most iconic superheroes of all time in a way that felt grounded, yet true to the heart of the original comics. Fast forward ten years later to July 2012 to the release of the Amazing Spider-Man (keep in mind, this reboot was announced less than five years after the release of Spider-Man 3, the final entry in the Raimi trilogy). Leading up to Webb’s rebooted franchise, the marketing campaign for the film promised to tell the “Untold Story” of Peter Parker, which sounded like a promising approach to this new franchise. I remember hearing the “Untold Story” tagline for the film for the first time after the film’s panel at San Diego Comic Con back in 2011, which immediately led me and many other fans to assume that the film would delve into the story of Peter Parker’s parents in a major way, which hadn’t been done at the time. It became clear that we were in for a retelling of Spider-Man’s iconic origin story, but throwing Peter’s parents into the mix promised to give us a fresh take on the story.
For those of you who may not know a whole lot about Peter’s parents, I’ll break it down for you. In the comics, Richard and Mary Parker were members of the CIA, and died in a plane crash under mysterious circumstances while on duty. After an investigation of the crash was conducted, it was concluded that the Parkers were double agents and traitors against the United States of America. After their death, their young son, Peter, went to live with his Richard’s brother, Ben Parker, and his wife May. As we all know, Peter grew up to become everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. When he came of age, Peter understandably wanted to learn more about his parents. Upon investigating on his own and ultimately talking with his Aunt May, Peter learned that his parents were traitors. This obviously shook Peter, and in disbelief, he set out to prove his parents’ innocence. Long story short, after a long investigation spanning several issues and a run in with none other than the Red Skull himself, Peter learned that his parents had actually been recruited by Nick Fury, operating undercover as double agents for S.H.I.E.L.D. Discovering this was a majorly cathartic moment for Peter, and hearing that a version of this story (Sony didn’t have the rights to Nick Fury or S.H.I.E.L.D.) could make its way on screen was an exciting prospect.
Upon the film’s release, reviews were mixed, and one issue that many people had with the Amazing Spider-Man was the rehashing of the same origin story. In fairness, Richard and Mary’s backstory was teased in the film, but on the whole, the story structure was almost beat for beat the same as Raimi’s original Spider-Man. Now, leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, many fans have been wondering exactly what will set this version of the Wall-Crawler apart from the previous two incarnations that we’ve seen on screen. Granted, having Spidey based within the MCU is definitely a step in the right direction as far as differentiating this franchise from the others, avoiding yet another retelling of the origin story. However, many fans have still asked the question: “How will this be different?” Luckily, Tom Holland harped on this in the Facebook live Q&A, and his answer was very interesting:
I think the difference now is that Peter Parker finally has an all-time goal, and his goal is to become an Avenger. Everything he does, even though he’s doing it for the right reasons, is done so that maybe one day he can become an Avenger and prove himself to Tony Stark. And I think we’ve never really seen Spider-Man with that kind of motivation before.
It’s also worth noting that this motivation has a great deal to do with the fact that we’ve never seen a version of Spider-Man that’s been this young. Having Tony Stark as a mentor to the young Web-Slinger definitely gives Peter a very present goal to strive to be like Iron Man and become an Avenger. In the past franchises, Spidey hasn’t really had a driving motivation as a hero. In the Raimi trilogy, Peter really just kept on being Spider-Man due to his sense of responsibility, but he did so begrudgingly. In the Amazing Spider-Man series, Peter’s search for Uncle Ben’s killer drove the first half of the first film, but outside of that, not much else really drove him to keep on being Spider-Man. This version promises to mend that, giving Peter a clear and present motivation to strive to be a better hero. But don’t be concerned though, it doesn’t seem like this pursuit to become an Avenger will change Peter’s character in a drastic way, he’s still a kid, according to Holland:
But it’s also nice to really see a kid with superpowers. We’ve seen the scientist, the billionaire, the god. Now it’s time to see what would happen if a kid was given those responsibilities. And it’s fun, it makes it more funny because he doesn’t really know what to do with them, how to use them, when to use them, and it’s just a very different, grounded version of what I think superhero movies are.
While the trend for super hero movies and television shows have skewed toward bringing darker, more grim versions of classic characters to life, it seems as though Homecoming will bring the character back to his lighthearted self. While it’s evident from the brief interactions he had with Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War that he still takes his responsibility seriously, that won’t stop him from having some fun along the way.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is set for release on July 7, 2017.