Comics on Film: 3 Reasons Why 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Could Become the Webhead's Best Movie

Comics on Film: 3 Reasons Why 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Could Become the Webhead's Best Movie

Dec 09, 2016

About two-and-a-half years ago, Comics on Film featured a column that was entitled, "Why It's Time for Spider-Man to Go Home to Marvel Studios." Back then, the prospect of Peter Parker joining the MCU alongside the likes of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy seemed like a pipe dream at best, since most fans and observers in the know would always come to the reasonable conclusion that Sony would want to keep the exclusive rights to Marvel's most arguably iconic character to themselves.

Almost exactly two years after that article was published, though, Spider-Man made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, coming in on the side of Iron Man and proving that he can stand both alongside and across from that universe's heaviest superheroic hitters. Yesterday, we also got our very first look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first of Peter's solo adventures within the MCU, and it was difficult not to come away with several impressions, particularly if you're a fan of the character.

So, here are three reasons why Spider-Man: Homecoming has the potential to be the best film featuring the character that we've ever seen.

3) Peter's a Kid, as He Was Originally Envisioned

No, he doesn't call himself "Spider-Boy" as Tony Stark guessed, but Peter's age of about 15 years old gives Homecoming a unique opportunity to tell a story that's very recognizable to people who have absorbed many of Spidey's early comics stories. When he was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, Peter gained his powers from the bite of a radioactive spider during a high school field trip that featured a demonstration in radiology.

When The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series was launched, Peter's age still kept him very young, and that youth gave his superheroic learning curve greater senses of immediacy, mystery, and novelty. While Peter is, of course, exceptionally bright and very powerful, his inexperience would often cause him to learn some pretty tough lessons in a very hard way (perhaps in no greater way than when he tried to save Gwen Stacy from the clutches of the Green Goblin). While more recent Spidey stories have exclusively focused on his adulthood, seeing a Spidey with the youth, inexperience, and broad sense of idealism that comes with his age will likely make for a very fresh cinematic experience for the character, since the prior films barely gave service to the idea that Spider-Man was a teenaged superhero.

Since Peter graduated from high school within the first Raimi film, for instance, and at the beginning of Marc Webb's second film, we've never seen him on film as anything younger than a junior in high school. Homecoming seems to want to change that without unnecessarily rehashing .his origin story, and that strikes this longtime fan as a very good idea

2) Homecoming May Feel Truer to the Comics by Being Part of the MCU

As anyone who reads Marvel Comics on a regular basis is likely to tell you, Spider-Man is anything but isolated in his own corner of the Marvel Comics Universe. While he's an important pillar to the entire proceeding, Spidey's place among his heroic colleagues is a rather prominent one, as he crosses paths on a relatively regular basis with members of teams like the Avengers, the Inhumans, and the X-Men. He also has an Avengers ID card, because he's been a consistent member of the team in the comics for the vast majority of the last decade.

Beyond just speaking and interacting with other characters, though, Spider-Man is often involved in universe-wide crossover events that affect the entire Marvel Universe with regularity as well. Over the past few years alone, he's been a major player in Civil War (I and II), Secret Wars, Original Sin, Infinity, Age of Ultron, Avengers vs. X-Men, Fear Itself, Siege, and Secret Invasion. His history in terms of universe-wide cross-pollination really goes back, though, to the original major crossover event in the 1980's, the original Secret Wars, so his presence in the film version of Civil War really just feels like a first step towards something larger: like Infinity War.

Spider-Man's best stories are, by and large, restricted to he and his direct supporting cast. His presence tends to elevate the other, larger events, though, and hopefully MCU Spidey will follow his comic book counterpart in being involved in the bigger event films that are likely to come in Infinity War and beyond.

1) Tom Holland

Need I say more? Holland received virtually unanimous praise across the board for his first turn as Spidey in Captain America: Civil War, and he looks to be the perfect embodiment of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker that we've yet seen. Working in a comic shop for nearly 7 years, most of the conversations I had at the counter when talking about the effectiveness of either Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield as the cinematic representations of Spidey is that they each got one aspect of the character right: Maguire is often singled out as a truthful vision of Peter Parker, while Garfield often gets pegged as a truthful Spider-Man.

Holland has the outlook and material to truthfully embody both sides of the character in a more effective way than either of his predecessors. Perhaps no greater test for Holland and his wit as Spidey was in his conversations with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark in screen tests and filmed scenes for Civil War, as Downey has clearly stated his enthusiasm for Holland as an actor who can easily stand up to the wit of Tony Stark. Besides, his one-liners in the airport fight scene in that film ("Hey buddy, I think you lost this!") was a pretty convincing exercise for Holland's potential in taking full, recognizable ownership of Spider-Man in his own film series.

Spider-Man: Homecoming releases in theaters on July 7th, 2017. For more on Marvel Studios news as it unfolds, keep an eye on Movies.com, and we'll see you for a new Comics on Film next week.


Chris Clow is a gamer, a comic book expert and former retailer, as well as a freelance contributor to The Huffington Post and Batman-On-Film.com, as well as host of the Comics on Consoles podcast. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

Categories: Comics, Features, Geek
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