I’ve been writing about Spider-Man films for quite a while now. All comic book movies in general really, and in that time we’ve seen a number of reboots grace the cinemas, Spidey included. Of course, this marks the first time of the reboot age that I will be covering the second reboot of this popular fan favorite character.
You know the story by now, Sony Pictures won the rights to a Spider-Man adaptation after years spent in developmental hell. This produced the Sam Raimi trilogy starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, which includes arguably one of the best superhero movies ever made in Spider-Man 2. Of course, that led to the less than stellar Spider-Man 3, which ended Raimi’s time with Spidey and sent us towards the first reboot of the character.
We saw how that all turned out with the Amazing Spider-Man films, directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. While a new and youthful take on the character was refreshing, the lackluster reboot led to an even worse sequel and not only ended that reboot’s trilogy early, but shattered a number of other plans that were in motion for Sony’s Spider-Man universe.
Of course, during all of this, we saw the birth and growth of the MCU, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Gone were the days of Marvel licensing out their biggest properties to other studios, as the comic book powerhouse took matters into their own hands. Marvel Studios hit the ground running with the blockbuster Iron Man series, which led into the Avengers movies and their related characters like Captain America and Thor. Pressure from the fans for the rights to revert to Marvel following Sony’s failed attempt at a reboot began to mount, and rumors started to swirl.
Now let’s fast forward a bit. Rumors became reality, Sony and Marvel worked out a deal, and Spider-Man arrived in the MCU with a new actor in the role. Tom Holland donned the webs and premiered in Captain America: Civil War alongside a number of other MCU mainstays, most notably Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. This was to tease Spidey’s second reboot and first solo film from Marvel Studios, which is what we are going to take a look at today.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was announced shortly after the news broke that Spidey would be singing his way into the MCU. Following his introduction in Civil War, Homecoming will take us back to the high school years of Spider-Man’s life. An era most fans think of as the quintessential Spidey, an era that we’ve been wanting to see done properly on the big screen for years. The title of the film reflects this in a couple of ways, both as the high school based Homecoming dance which is rumored to be a big scene in the film, and the character’s return to the MCU and Marvel Studios.
The script for Homecoming was written by John Francis Daley and Jonathon M. Goldstein, comedy writers who are responsible for films like Horrible Bosses, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and more recently Vacation. This was great news considering funny and Spidey haven’t really gone together on the big screen all that well so far.
The film will be produced by Kevin Feige, who any fan of the MCU knows is the big boss behind Marvel Studios film division. Feige’s involvement with the film has put a lot of minds at ease, with the hope that with Marvel and Feige finally making the crucial decisions behind Spidey we’ll see a much less disappointing reboot of the character. This brings us to Jon Watts, who will be directing the MCU’s first solo outing of Spidey. Watts is a relative new-comer to the big budget film scene, having hit the scene running with the fantastic Cop Car after a turn with the horror film Clown, and a lot of time spent with the Onion News Network.
Tom Holland won the highly coveted role after an extensive search from the studio and months and months of fan casts. Of course Marvel Studios seems to once again have impressed with their casting choices, as Holland has shown a great deal of dedication to the role. Not to mention he brings some unique acrobatic skills to the role that we never really saw from Maguire or Garfield. His humor was a refreshing part of Civil War, which also introduced us to another member of the Spidey Household – Aunt May. This time around May Parker is played by Marisa Tomei, proving Aunt’s really do come in all shapes and sizes. While the chemistry between RDJ’s Tony Stark and Aunt May was palpable, the more important chemistry between Holland and Tomei has us convinced these two will work very well together.
Now let’s talk about the rest of the revealed cast of the film, more specifically Tom Holland’s supporting castmates. Announced early on in production was Disney Channel star Zendaya, who was listed in the mysterious role of Michelle. This has later been revealed as a possible cover to hide the fact that she is actually playing Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s long-time love interest and the star of the Raimi trilogy, originally portrayed by Kirsten Dunst. Obviously, the internet took some nerd rage out at the announcement that another comic book character was being racially recast, as MJ in the comics is typically a red headed white female. Since we’ve already seen that time and time again, I for one am excited to see her and Holland on screen together.
Joining the high school characters will be Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Parker’s high school bully and eventual best friend. Thompson has been played previously by Joe Manganiello and Chris Zylka, though there was little development of the character. Laura Harrier will be playing Liz Allan, another potential love interest of Pete’s who remains an important character in the Spidey mythos over the years, even marrying Peter’s college roommate Harry Osborn, doomed to become the second Green Goblin.
Rounding out the high school crew will be Jacob Batalon, who will be playing Ned Leeds. This has come as a bit of a shock, as the Ned Leeds of the comics was revealed as the first character to wear the guise of the Hobgoblin, though that was later retconned to show that Leeds was framed by the real Hobgoblin. Whether or not this means we could see Leeds set up as a potential future villain, or if his inclusion is just to bring in a familiar name remains to be seen. There were initial reports that this character was named Ganke, who is actually the best friend of Miles Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man. There was a bit of fan outcry when this was announced so whether the name change is from that or it was incorrect in the first place remains to be seen.
Now let’s get to the good stuff, meaning villains, which can make or break any potential reboot. With Spider-Man: Homecoming we are lucky enough to not have any rebooted villains, which is something even the Batman films haven’t been able to avoid so far. Homecoming looks to be reaching to the very beginning of Spider-Man’s career, with Holland set to face off against both the Vulture and the Tinkerer, at the very least.
Michael Keaton has signed on to an unconfirmed villain role, but let’s be honest. We all know it’s going to be the Vulture AKA Adrian Toomes, a villainous scientist who created his flight suit in order to steal his wealth. The villain was teased in some released concept art, though for some reason the film is keeping Keaton’s role quiet. They had no reservations letting us know that Michael Chernus will be playing The Tinkerer though. Phineas Mason is a brilliant engineer who can often be found in the Marvel Universe equipping various villains and their technological needs. He first encountered Spidey in Amazing Spider-Man #2 and was unmasked as an alien, though that was later revealed as a ruse to fool Spidey or any authorities watching. The casting of Chernus seems to apply a more youthful and humorous take on the character than comic fans are used to, but that’s right in line with the MCU.
Of course that isn’t all the villains we may see in Homecoming. With so many actors left unattached to roles it’s hard to say if they are just being kept secret for story reasons or even potential trilogy villains as well. A recent leaked cast list allegedly revealed that Bokeem Woodbine will be playing the role of Herman Schultz AKA The Shocker, with some recent set photos below revealing the Shocker. No confirmation on whether or not that is actually Woodbine under the mask though. While some might take this as too many villains considering some of the mistakes of the previous reboots, chances are both Shocker and the Tinkerer won’t act as main villains for the story.
— About Tom Holland (@abouttomholland) September 5, 2016
A better look at Shocker from Spider-Man: Homecoming. pic.twitter.com/esTTsUIXpD
— Ross Dillon! (@RossADillon) September 6, 2016
Now as to some of the unrevealed roles in the film, the biggest has to be the casting of The Martian‘s Donald Glover. Glover already has a place in the long history of the Spider-Man movies, having originally campaigned to take over the role of Peter Parker for the first Sony reboot that ended up starring Andrew Garfield. His campaign started a huge discussion about the racial flexibility of a character like Spider-Man, and even inspired writer Brian Michael Bendis to create Miles Morales, the first Black/Latino Spider-Man. Glover even voiced the character in a season of Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.
While most fans would like to see Glover take on the role of Morales, the age and story just don’t work out for Morales’ appearance quite yet. Who do I want to see Glover play in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Long-time Spidey character Hobie Brown AKA the Prowler, a one-time criminal turned ally of Spider-Man. Interesting side note, in the Ultimate universe that Miles Morales first appeared in, the Prowler was actually Aaron Davis, the uncle to Miles who is directly responsible for him getting his powers. That could be a tie-in to Glover’s history with Spider-Man that the writers of the film can’t ignore.
I think it’s important to list some of the uncredited actors here, as there are some big names that we are left wondering about. Obviously Michael Keaton remains unconfirmed as the Vulture, and he is joined by UFC fighter Tyron Woodley, who I believe could be playing a version of the wrestler Crusher Hogan. Hogan features in Spidey’s iconic origin and was turned into Bonesaw McGraw for Spider-Man, played by Macho Man Randy Savage. Of course we know Homecoming isn’t an origin story, but a flashback scene wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Other notable unrevealed cast members are Prometheus’ Logan Marshall Green, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Mando, and most recently Jona Xiao. Mando has been rumored as playing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who fans will recognize as the alter-ego of Carnage. Carnage is related to Venom by their symbiotes, so I wouldn’t expect to see Carnage quite yet if Mando is in fact playing Kasady.
Some other rumors we’ve heard recently regard the post/mid credit scene in Doctor Strange pointing towards Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Holland being reported on set months ago. More recently rumors that Robert Downey Jr. could appear in the film to help set up Homecoming and tie Doctor Strange in with the Avengers for Infinity War have popped up, though we won’t hear more about these until Doctor Strange releases on Nov. 4.
We could speculate on story points and potential MCU connections, but we won’t. This is everything we know about Spider-Man: Homecoming, and we couldn’t be more excited to see the film continue to develop and bring hopefully the best Spider-Man yet to the big screen. We’ll end with a Spidey selfie from Tom Holland, who’s excitement and dedication to the role so far has helped keep us here at Geek excited for the newest hero of the MCU.
What do you think of Spider-Man: Homecoming so far? Excited for the new cast or turned off from some of the controversial picks? Tired of yet another reboot or stoked for more? Let us know in the comments section below or join the discussion on the Geek Facebook page!
Images: Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures,
Entertainment Weekly, 20th Century Fox