Out With the Old and In With the New: My Favorite Spider-Man to Date {Guest post by Madison Ward}

{This post written by Madison Ward, Superstar Intern}

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Back to movies! As I mentioned in my Wonder Woman review, I am a big Marvel nerd and it was an obvious choice for me to review Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Be aware: there are spoilers in this post!

I have a pretty rocky relationship with the Spider-Man movie franchise. Spider-Man has always been successful in its many comic books and films, but there have been so many that at some point it feels as if it is just a giant editing process, revamping and tweaking and sending out one after another, trialing until it is ‘just right’. And as much as I like Goldilocks and the three bears, I can’t keep testing out things that don’t work and I was a little hesitant to begin another experience with another Spider-Man. Of course, after Captain America: Civil War, I, like so many other viewers, fell in love with this particular Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, and was given hope that maybe, just maybe, his story would resonate with me and not rely too heavily on the Spider-Man films of the past. Thankfully, this Spider-Man stood apart from all the others and became more about the boy than about the legend.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Photo: Columbia Pictures

After watching the movie, I can tell you that I am immensely pleased with this film. Tom Holland did a fantastic job as Spider-Man and seems to have finally captured the true essence of who Peter Parker is. He may be smart and a little goofy, a bit of a loner, but he also has a quiet strength and a drive, that, with Tony Stark’s questionable mentoring, makes him not only a hero with the suit on, but something special without his suit, as well. That was one of the big themes of the movie: not being nothing without the suit, being better than Tony, taking his mentor’s advice and becoming an even better grasshopper, and recognizing that his present high school experience is just as important as his future. Peter desperately wanted to become a real Avenger, no training wheels, no monitoring, but sometimes it’s okay to be ‘the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’, to live on the ground for a little while, to go to high school, make new friends, take Spanish tests, and take things slow. I really do believe that Spider-Man should be a teenager. It suits him well, with his eager little-puppy enthusiasm and humor. The youthfulness was refreshing and unlike any other individual Marvel film.

I was extremely grateful the movie skipped over his ‘transition into superhero-hood’. Everyone knows the story of how he was bit and how his uncle died and how any love interest besides MJ is sure to die too, and it was so nice that they understood that as well, because I was for sure done with that. I don’t care about Uncle Ben and I don’t care about Gwen. Liz, his high-school love interest, was sweet, but we all knew she was temporary and they made her temporary, they didn’t ask us to invest emotionally in her and I thank the heavens for that.

 

This film was about a lower chain of the Marvel universe. Peter Parker is part of the second generation of heroes and this was also why making him and his Aunt May young a wonderful idea. Tony made a big deal about how the things Peter was handling were not on the Avengers’ radar, because they were not catastrophic enough. The funniest part of this is that even though Peter seems to be doing ‘lesser’ work, he is also literally picking up after the Avengers; not only trying to pick up, as in, learn from them, but also trying to gather up their littered alien-like powerful materials and therefore fixing their problems. This connects Peter not only to the Marvel hierarchy, but adding to the bad side, shown in Captain America: Civil War, of what a hero means, consequences and all. Spider-Man had some consequences of his own, but he was still trying to be better.

Of course, I must talk about the shocking scene of Michelle telling everyone in the end that her friends call her MJ, as in Mary Jane... as in the future Mrs. Parker. This was to be expected, especially with their non-subtle focus on her throughout the movie, but also because as I said before, Liz felt pretty temporary and a sophomore dating a senior is not the most ideal situation. I am incredibly excited to see what they will do with MJ’s story, but she was not the only side character that had more merit than they seemed. Peter’s friend Ned, was also featured in another Spider-Man story, turning into the Hobgoblin, although that is hopefully unlikely to happen again. Liz had been a love interest before, Flash has always been the bully and Betty usually turns out to work for the paper. The Vulture, the Shocker, and the Tinker all had their moments and Mac Gargon, the man the Vulture tried to make a deal with on the ship and later saw in prison, is supposed to become the Scorpion at some point. Donald Glover, the small-time criminal, the Prowler, and his nephew, the Ultimate Spider-Man, although I hope if they do that that doesn’t mean they’re going to kill Peter like the original says. Even Principal Morita! He plays his own grandson, after he played Jim Morita in Captain America: The First Avenger.

And finally: my absolute favorite character besides Peter in this film…  Karen!

I liked Karen from the moment I heard her first scene with Peter, but I didn’t realize how interesting her character was until I did a bit of minor stalkage. I first looked at who played her voice and from there it become so much cooler. Karen is played by Jennifer Connelly. Now, if anyone knows Jenny, you know that she has played in many, many movies, usually as one of the main characters, and she is beyond gorgeous. She is also married to a mister Paul Bettany, who may also be none other than Vision, J.A.R.V.I.S.’s voice come to life. Jennifer and Paul are married with three adorable kids and they both play voices in the Marvel universe. Jenny is also not new to Marvel and played the female lead in an early Hulk. This is no coincidence, people. The directors joked about playing her because she was Paul’s wife and that seems to have happened and with such a successful actress as herself, I cannot imagine her not becoming a physical being during one of these movies as well.

 

And I am so hyped for that. All of this matches up with what I said about Marvel’s side characters being a bit more influential and beneficial to Marvel entirely, contrasting to that of the current DC movies.

I am just so happy that I was born at a point where I can watch this sequence of Marvel movies unfold and enjoy the ever-flowing movement of each story, seeing all that every character has to offer, their little quips added in and carried throughout the different movie scenes, giving them cushion and comfortable transitioning. Marvel is casual, but it is also powerful and still likes to surprise us with films like this youthful one. And I am not getting tired of them in the least.