We've not seen much, but what we have seen of Tom Holland's Spider-Man is enough to make any superhero fan prematurely shoot their web. Appearing only briefly in Captain America: Civil War, the first appearance of the webslinger in the MCU was a perfect mixture of witty high-school humor and tenacious, nervous energy from a rejuvenated and youthful Peter Parker.
Any doubts with what the MCU could achieve once in joint custody of the character — having agreed a landmark shared-rights deal with Sony — were quickly settled as Holland effortlessly collaborated with the big hitters in the shared universe, while his Aunt May bonded with Tony Stark over walnut date loaf.
Despite the hype surrounding his appearance (remember when that trailer finally gave us a glimpse of the new outfit?) this was a mere prelude, a speck of foam on the vast ocean that is Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fans who attended the San Diego Comic-Con were lucky to go a step further and skim the waves, having been treated to exclusive footage from the upcoming movie.
Bringing Spidey Back To Basics
While, unfortunately, I can't share that with you now, I can share some insight gleaned from Tom Holland as to what we can expect in Homecoming. Holland confirmed the film will explore his teenage struggles, and the conflict of a young man trying to work out what to do with his powers.
Of course, Civil War already gave us that impression, showing Parker as a normal teen who just happened to be recruited by the world-famous Tony Stark. But in addition to tackling high-school problems, Holland also explained how this Spidey is unlike any we've seen before. In an interview with Collider, he said:
“[We will] bring it down to its bare bones, and make the most realistic version of a superhero movie we can possibly make. That includes watching him fill up his web cartridges, and watching him run out of web and reload. It’s such an amazing story to explore."
Taking things back to basics is an interesting move, but one that could pay-off. While the terms "realism" and "superhero" seem to belong on opposite sides of the spectrum, there have been a number of superhero movies that deliberately strive to keep themselves in the confines of reality.
Even the platform where the new Spider-Man was launched, Civil War, was fairly realistic. Mere mortal Zemo (Daniel Bruh) used manipulation to pit the superhero fractions against each other, with the narrative generally staying away from the alien invasion levels of The Avengers (2012) or psychotic AI in Age of Ultron (2015).
Deadpool, one of this year's biggest success stories, was also a film stripped down to basics to resounding effect. Naturally, there will be elements of any superhero film that is completely unfeasible in reality (i.e. the ability to heal) but taking a grounded approach certainly has its merits.
A Spider-Man We Can Relate To
The idea of Peter Parker being portrayed in this way is intriguing. It makes him more relatable, and makes it easier for the audience to understand his decision-making process a little more. Plus, in the MCU, the character has the luxury of exploring both the mundane and the grandiose, the latter coming with future team-ups with the Avengers.
The mundane itself also provides important context for the character. He is 15 years old, after all, and from the limited insight we saw in Civil War, Holland is on top form playing up to the contrast of innocent wise cracking high-schooler and world protecting superhero — essentially, the attributes that make Spider-Man great.
While I'm not quite expecting Kick Ass (2010) levels of authenticity, this reimagining of Spider-Man could give us a fresh, unique approach on one of the comic book world's most adored characters. The main villain, Vulture (Michael Keaton) is a bad guy who is more technical, relying on equipment rather than unfathomable superpowers.
Will be see Peter Parker using his spider-senses to know which girl to ask to prom? Or using his super-agility to get his lunch money back? It's possible. But as promised by Holland himself, we'll also see him "kick ass." And striking a perfect balance between the two could make for the best Spider-Man yet.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is released on July 7, 2017.
Do you think a more realistic approach is the right way to go?