Spider-Man: Homecoming and the fragile emotions of a superhero
Tom Holland, the new friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, gets a teched-out suit, while figuring out who he really is.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker strives to join the Avengers as the most popular character in comic book history taking his rightful place as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel’s crown jewel, Spider-Man, made a cameo debut in Captain America: Civil War last summer; the reactions by critics and fans has whetted audience appetites as Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios team up for this new adventure.
Tom Holland, who plays the web-slinger, explains that before Peter can join his heroes, he has a host of challenges to face. “Peter goes from having the time of his life battling with the Avengers in Civil War to suddenly feeling like he’s got nothing to do,” explains Holland.
Under Stark supervision
“Tony Stark has assigned him to be the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, which means getting cats out of trees, helping old ladies cross the street and stopping petty thieves – nothing too hairy. But then Spider-Man stumbles across high-tech weapons, which leads him down a path of learning and mastering his new abilities and powers.”
And if Peter is going to prove himself worthy of being an Avenger, he will have to face a mentor like no other. “Tony Stark has taken a continued interest in Peter Parker,” says Robert Downey Jr. “He’s helping him up his game with a new suit and tech. But he’s keeping a close eye on him and making sure he’s worthy of being a recruit for the Avengers.”
For producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, bringing the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an original way was top priority. “Over the past 15 years, we have built the universe with so many characters, and now we can introduce the Spider-Man franchise into that universe for the first time,” says Feige.
“It’s exciting because that’s how he truly was in the comics, from the beginning – he wasn’t the only hero; he entered a world in which Tony Stark, Captain America and the Avengers all were there. Now, for the first time, we get that in an entire film, which makes it fresh and new.”
Learning to crawl
Peter’s arc in this film is one that fits perfectly with his age. “Peter Parker loves being Spider-Man, but he doesn’t necessarily love being Peter Parker,” says director Jon Watts. “Peter represents everything he was – an awkward, weird science nerd – but now, he has a whole new life ahead of him, being a superhero who hangs with Tony Stark and Captain America and all the Avengers. But even though he has all these new powers and connections, he hasn’t come to terms with who he is as Peter Parker. One of the journeys for him is realising that he can’t move ahead to be Spider-Man until he has really figured out who he is as Peter Parker.”
Playing Spider-Man is a dream long in the making for Holland. “Five years ago, an interviewer asked me if I could be a superhero, who would I be,” recalls the actor. “I said, ‘In ten years, I’d like to be the Spider-Man after Andrew Garfield.’ I’d never have guessed that it would have come true so quickly.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up the action directly after the epic battle scene of Captain America: Civil War, with Tony Stark returning “underoos” back home to Queens. Peter believes his “internship” with Stark is a test to becoming a full-fledged member of the Avengers – but the spider needs to learn to crawl before it can fly.
Suits him just fine
Putting on the Spider-Man suit for the first time is a life-changing moment – and it is – but Tom says that the magic feeling doesn’t go away. “Putting on the suit is one of the coolest things,” he says. “There’s always a moment when I put the suit on, especially in front of kids, and their eyes light up and it reminds you of what a privilege it is to bring that happiness to people.” To make the suit, costume designer Louise Frogley re-created the version from Captain America: Civil War. “It’s purely Spider-Man, but also has the right amount of high tech and a lot more bells and whistles,” says Feige.
For example, “The suit now has web wings under his arms, which pays homage to early comic books. In the very first Spider-Man issue, he’s got web wings,” he says. “Stark Industries has designed a version of the wings that come out when Spider-Man glides down a cityscape. They retract when he doesn’t need them. It’s something we’ve seen in the comics, but never on film.”
Another new development is in the eyes. “The new mask has an eye form that allows them to open and close and get wider, which within our story, allows Peter to express emotion while wearing the suit — as he would in the comic books. In the comics, if Peter was angry, the eyes would get a little smaller; if he was surprised, the eyes would get a little bigger. You can’t do that in a movie unless there is a reason and technological explanation for how that’s possible. We now have that.”
Spiderman: Homecoming is scheduled for release on July 7.