Tom Holland is the latest actor to portray Peter Parker/Spider-Man, making his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War, coming this May. Comic book fans have been waiting months to see the young actor in the Spidey suit, on the Civil War set, or at least catch a glimpse of him in one of the TV spots or trailers.
Sony’s 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a divisive superhero film that received a healthy amount of criticism and mixed reviews. Not only was the screenplay, written by Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, criticized, but Jamie Foxx’s goofy villainous role wasn’t loved by everyone either. Andrew Garfield’s performance, as well as his chemistry with co-star Emma Stone, was probably one of the more well-received aspects of the film. The character of Spider-Man himself had finally become more talkative and gregarious, displaying his famous chatterbox-personality and humorous quips.
But with Sony setting up their Sinister Six film by shoving certain characters and plot elements into the script, the end result came out uneven and underwhelming for many people. Not to mention the film only brought in $202,853,933 in its domestic box office take, which is considerably low for a franchise and character like Spider-Man, also considering that it is a sequel. While it earned $506,128,390 overseas, the film failed to reach $1 billion worldwide.
It was certainly a disappointing setback for Sony. And with the Sony hack in late 2014, the studio was left with no choice but to completely take a new approach with their Spider-Man franchise. This finally allowed Marvel Studios to work with Sony, drafting a new contract that would allow the character of Spider-Man to be used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while allowing Sony to use minor characters from the MCU in the new Spider-Man reboot. Casting announcements soon followed, revealing that the studio was looking to cast an actor to portray a 15/16-year-old Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The lucky young actor was Tom Holland.
Tom Holland attended the premiere of the Ed Sheeran movie Jumpers for Goalposts, and was asked about whether or not he would be taking inspiration from the comics and/or the performances of Toby McGuire and Andrew Garfield.
“I think it’s impossible not to. Um, they were so great and such rich, real performances. There’s obviously factors that I love and I will continue to try and recreate. But I think the most important thing at the moment, is making a film which is obviously of the same character, but make a different, and new and exciting movie.”
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige teased the tone of the project as well as what kind of movie they’re aiming towards.
“It’s the soap opera in high school, and those supporting characters, that are interesting. Just as we hadn’t seen a heist movie in a long time, or a shrinking movie in a long time, we haven’t seen a John Hughes movie in a long time. Not that we can make a John Hughes movie — only John Hughes could — but we’re inspired by him, and merging that with the superhero genre in a way we haven’t done before excites us.”
Peter Parker being in high school is kind of a big deal. It’s something that has been a major part of the character throughout so many years in the comics. In Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man, Peter graduates high school halfway through the film. In Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter has already graduated, though in the first Amazing Spider-Man, we did get to see Spidey fighting the Lizard in the school, which had never been done before cinematically.
Tom Holland has a chance to really inject that awkward, teenage spirit back into Peter Parker. In so many of the comics, Peter is running out in the middle of class to go stop a villain, dealing with failing grades and the disappointment of his aunt May, as well as classic bully Flash Thompson and Peter’s social life in high school. With this element being put into the film, there are many ways this Spider-Man can stand out from the rest.
Another major aspect of the character is his humor. Sony had produced a pretty sarcastic and mouthy Spider-Man in TASM2, but Kevin Feige suggests that they can go even further and really make the character truly annoying with his motor-mouth. Feige also made it clear that they want to showcase a Spider-Man villain that audiences have yet to see on screen.
Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo said that they have taken “a very personal approach” to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. “A character growing up with his aunt in New York, a single income family… Where would they live? What would that look like? Where could they afford to live? We asked ourselves all those questions,” said Joe Russo.
The fact that he will be a high school student and a teenager will just be one aspect that differentiates him from other cinematic portrayals of the character. This young Peter will be juxtaposed with a cast full of adult superheroes, and imagining how characters will react to him is quite fascinating. The Russos have previously stated that Peter Parker was written into the script early on, before the Sony/Marvel Studios deal was even confirmed. They couldn’t help themselves and hoped that things would work in their favor, and luckily they did.
Marvel Studios and Sony’s co-production of the new Spider-Man reboot opens in theaters July 28, 2017. You can see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, opening May 6, 2016.
[Photo by Marvel Studios / Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]