ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

As Uncle Ben once told us, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

That's something Tom Holland will have to learn when Spider-Man comes swinging into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017 (or possibly briefly in 2016). People have some serious feelings about Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Both of his representations on screen, played by Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield, have not been free from criticism, with some suggesting we've yet to have a classic Peter Parker on film.

It's unclear what Spider-Man's solo movie will entail, whether it will be an origin movie, or simply another adventure for Spidey. However, considering Holland is only 19 (and looks even younger than that), we can assume we'll see a younger Peter Parker during his high school years.

Therefore here are 4 things Marvel needs to get right about 'High School Peter.'

1 - Keep Peter Parker a Science-Whizz

Both Raimi's Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's featured references to the scientific acumen of Peter Parker, however they differed in the extent that made it central to his character.

In the Raimi films, Parker's scientific prowess was often relegated to secondary storylines (his progress at college, interactions with Doctor Octavious, etc.) and didn't really inform how he behaved or fought crime. The Amazing franchise did pay more heed to this - for one it actually featured Parker's self-invented web-slingers - and also showed Parker using his science skills to aid the actions of his heroic, more physical, alter-ego.

This is something the Marvel movies should retain, or improve upon in his solo movie. For one thing, it's also related to the second point:

2 - Spider-Man Is Cool and Peter Parker Is A Dork

Let's get one thing straight: Spider-Man is the confident, wise-cracking cool dude, and Peter Parker is a nerdy, science loving amateur photographer. The distinction and dichotomy between these two extremes is one of the essential character elements of Peter Parker.

Neither of the films really managed to catch the social awkwardness of the the original comic-book character. Sure, both play lip-service to his dorkish origins (there're a few funny scenes at the beginning of the film), but pretty soon Peter Parker himself starts becoming cool. In the Sam Raimi movies it's not long before he's catching trays and wooing ladies, while The Amazing Spider-Man franchise initially portrays him as a bit of a skater dude. For example, he's certainly awkward in the scene below, but in that kind of attractive, cool, devilish way.

It also seems both film franchises couldn't actually wait to get Parker out of that school environment - which is sad considering this is likely what endeared Spider-Man to many young comic-book fans.

In reality, Parker is a teenage kid with a vast passion for learning, and that's how he should remain - after all, it's what got him bitten in the first place. Putting on the mask provides him with the opportunity to become the cool, brash hero, but he shouldn't also abandon this central tenant of his personality.

3 - Make Flash Thompson a Real Character

The Spider-Man movies did introduce the character of high school bully Flash Thompson, but in both cases he only really acted as a kind of tutorial level 'boss' for Peter Parker - someone to whale on before making the move to actual crime.

In reality, Flash actually plays a pivotal role in Spider-Man's story. Despite, initially bullying Peter Parker, Flash eventually becomes obsessed with Spider-Man as his notoriety spreads. This irony certainly isn't lost on Peter Parker, and it could provide an interesting basis for the interaction between Flash and Peter. In one comic-book, Flash even dresses up as Spider-Man, only to be attacked by a supervillain.

Furthermore, Flash also has his own interesting superhero origin story intertwined with Peter's. Inspired by the selfless heroism of Spider-Man, Flash joins the army and heads off to war in Iraq. During a patrol, his squad is ambushed, and he is wounded in action and left disabled and distraught. However, he later becomes a prime candidate for a military experiment to bond a human with the venom symbiote. This leads to Flash becoming his own superhero, Agent Venom.

Although it is unlikely Agent Venom would get his own movie in the MCU, he would be an interesting addition to a later Spider-Man movie.

4 - Introduce All of Peter's Gang

Although Peter Parker isn't the most popular kid in school, he still has a gang of close friends which are central to his story. Much has been made of Harry Osbourne in the Spidey films, while Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey feature as love interests in the Raimi and Amazing films respectively.

Despite this, all three haven't meaningfully been in a movie together. One of the central storylines of the comic-book Spider-Man is the forming 'love-triangle' between Peter Parker, Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane. This did seem like something the Amazing franchise was willing to explore (by casting Shailene Woodley in the role), although this story element was eventually cut. With that franchise now dead, it could be something to be resurrected in this new iteration.

As well as following the source material more closely, this more complex romantic storyline would also make Marvel's Spider-Man stand out against the relatively recent Raimi and Amazing versions of the character.


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