When it was announced last year that Marvel Studios and Disney had finally gotten the rights to introduce everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe there was much adulation among the fanbase, dancing in the streets and whatnot. But still we were a little skeptical. In terms of superhero fatigue, Spider-Man is perhaps the most likely character to burn out. Even though this year is his initial introduction to the MCU, we’ve had five Spider-Man solo films over the last fourteen years, each differing vastly in terms of quality, and Tom Holland will be the third actor to portray the web-slinger in a mere decade and a half.
Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and now Tom Holland
Spider-Man made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, and his solo movie — which we now know will be entitled Spider-Man: Homecoming — is set to release next summer. But still we don’t know very much about this new Spidey, and even less about Peter Parker himself. So when the solo MCU Spider-Man film was announced, a certain fear began in fanbase murmurings. Namely, Spider-Man’s origin story. Traumatic origins are a long-running staple of the superhero character, especially in the case of Peter Parker, whose actions (or rather a lack thereof) led to the death of his surrogate father, his uncle Ben Parker. Even casual Spider-Man fans are likely aware of this origin, but seeing it in the first feature length movie was always a given.
Spider-Man: Uncle Ben dies
And so we saw this origin sketched out in 2002’s Spider-Man, wherein Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker chooses not to stop a robber out of spite for the promoter who stiffed him in an earlier scene, leading to the thief shooting Ben and stealing his car. All very well and good — it’s a major part of Spider-Man’s backstory, and it’s the moment where he makes the decision to fight “for the little guy” (as Holland says in Civil War).But then we saw it again in the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man ten years later in 2012 — the same story played out again, but with a convenience store robbery instead of an underground fighting ring.
We’ve seen this picture before… The Amazing Spider-Man
Even then there were questions about whether or not it was necessary to devote a good portion of the film to Peter Parker being bitten and the death of Uncle Ben, so when Homecoming was announced there was one overlying wish emerging from the mutterings in the fanbase: Please don’t make it an origin story.And then there was the question of how exactly the filmmakers were going to have time to shoehorn Spider-Man into Civil War given everything else which was going on. But they had something on their side.
No, not a metal arm.
The particulars of Spider-Man’s character — the fact that he’s such a widely known and iconic character even outside of the comic book community — were in this case invaluable. As screenwriter Stephen McFeely told Rolling Stone:
“We had the benefit of five other movies. The assumption is that people in the audience have seen at least one of those. So we do not have to talk about a radioactive spider, we do not have remind people that with great power comes great responsibility — most folks in the theater already know this going in. It makes it that much easier to go straight to establishing the character.”
This dynamic allowed the writers to include the web-slinger without having to waste precious screen time fleshing out character development and backstory in the same way that they had to for Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
You tried Spidey, you tried.
Before we saw Spider-Man in the suit we were introduced to Peter Parker, when he returns home from school to find Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) perched nonchalantly on his couch with May Parker (Marisa Tomei). And it’s the short exchange between Peter and Tony in his room which perfectly sketches out the particulars of this new Spider-Man, and covers his origin story without having to spend 40 minutes setting it out on screen.It’s one of the best scenes in the movie; not only does Holland strongly establish Peter as a highly intelligent but socially nervous teenage boy suddenly thrown into a world he doesn’t understand, the screenwriters cover the entire origin in one, perfect line.
Spider-Man vs Falcon — Civil War
While Tony is prodding at Peter in order to get a sense of who he is and — more importantly — why he spends his evenings swinging around New York, the teenager says he just wants to look out for the little guy, he has no big interest in being a hero. And then he drops this line:
“When you have power, and the bad things happen, and you don’t do anything to stop it…then the bad things happen because of you”
There it is, that’s all we needed. A clear reference to Ben and the guilt Peter carries over the making of the choices which led to his uncle’s death.And we know now for sure that Spider-Man: Homecoming won’t be an origin story, rather it will focus on what it means to be the symbol that is Spider-Man, rather than worrying about how he got there in the first place.
Spider-Man in action — Civil War
And if all else fails, at least we’ve got that excellent banter between Tony Stark and Peter Parker to look forward to when Spider-Man: Homecoming releases on July 7, 2017.
Who’s your favorite Spider-Man? Tell us in the comments below!
Source: Rolling Stone