ByTom Bacon, writer at
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

2017 is turning into a great year for superhero fans. So far, we've had a brutal and bloody Western in Logan, a psychedelic family drama writ cosmic in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and a record-breaking, female-led blockbuster hit in Wonder Woman. But even as the dust settles from Wonder Woman, all eyes are turning to the next contender — Tom Holland's first solo outing as the wondrous webhead, Spider-Man: Homecoming!

's clearly excited about the film, and to celebrate they've just released some outstanding concept art. Take a look!

A Uniquely Expressive Mask

How do you make a masked man show expressions? Over in the comics, artists had long taken creative license; they'd narrowed and widened those distinctive eye-slits to show surprise, delight, shock, or suspicion. Until this latest incarnation of , the films had avoided this, but, as we saw in last year's Captain America: Civil War, Marvel decided it was time that changed.

Here's the catch: it was probably a lot easier to do in Civil War. After all, the Spider-Man suit in that film was 100% CGI, whereas in Homecoming Tom Holland actually has to wear it.

Why Do We Want The Eyes To Move Like This?

Have you ever noticed how often Tony Stark takes his helmet off in the Iron Man movies? There's a reason: It allows the film-makers to give us a sense of the character's emotion, to remind us of his humanity and to help us to empathize. Even when he doesn't take his mask off, the films frequently give us a glimpse of Stark's HUD, with his face superimposed on the images. Again — this reinforces the character's humanity, and helps us to relate to the hero.

Spider-Man's eye-lenses have always served the same purpose in the comics. Given Peter Parker has (most of the time) attempted to keep his identity a secret, it's not been sensible to strip his mask off a lot. As a result, the eye-lenses have helped us understand just what Spider-Man's thinking and feeling. That effect has never been duplicated in the films before — try re-watching them while keeping an eye out for how often the mask comes off. You'll be surprised.

So this isn't simply a matter of comic book fans being delighted that the character is being accurately rendered. It's actually a really valuable detail from a film-making perspective; it should allow director Jon Watts to show Spider-Man's emotions without stripping him of his mask all the time.

An In-Universe Explanation

In a smart in-universe explanation, Marvel revealed that the eye-lenses are actually designed to help Spider-Man focus his senses. It seems that the version of Spider-Man has senses so acute that he struggles to filter what he sees, and these lenses have been designed by Tony Stark to help. Of course, in reality this is nothing more than a quick hand-wave to explain away what the filmmakers wanted to do in the first place, but it's a nice justification all the same!

So there you have it, Spider-Man fans — take a look at that gorgeous new concept art! As you can see, this is very much a comic-book-accurate portrayal of the wondrous webhead, and we're surely in for a treat.


Which of this year's upcoming superhero films are you most excited about?

(Source: The Verge; Poll Image Credit: 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures)


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