Spider-Man: Homecoming Reinvents the Tired Superhero Series

By Pilar Shen-Berro

There’s nothing riskier than re-doing a movie that has already been done five other times in only fifteen years, but Marvel and Sony have surprised us all by collaborating to make another Spider-Man movie. If you haven’t seen one of the three Spider-Man series yet, I will be truly impressed. First there was Toby Maguire in 2002, then Andrew Garfield in 2012, and now Tom Holland has taken the mantle in Spider-man: Homecoming. Tom Holland has lived up to the two different interpretations of Spider-man and the high expectations of comic fans, and has created a movie that encompasses all the best qualities of Peter Parker. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming comes to theaters with the most diverse cast we’ve seen so far. With Laura Harrier as romance interest Liz Allen, Jacob Batalon as best friend Ned, Toni Revolori as high school bully Flash, and of course Zendaya from our very own Bay Area, we see a huge variety of races. Sony and Marvel made the bold decision of casting actors of color for classically white characters, like Flash Thompson and MJ. Those choices created a decent amount of backlash from fans, but in the end, the movie proved that the race of the actors didn’t alter the portrayal of the characters. 

Because of the casting of Spider-man and portrayal of high school, this movie has a youth to it that none of the other Spider-man movies possessed. Tom Holland is the youngest Spider-man, which doesn’t seem important, but it was one of the key components of what made this film different from all the ones before it. Although Peter Parker is only a high school student, Maguire was 27 when he filmed Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield was even older. One of the biggest differences between him and other superheroes is that Peter Parker is just a kid, and when Tom Holland is acting as Spider-man he plays on this characteristic, making the risk that he faces more significant. Another core part of Spider-man is the juggle between high school and being a vigilante. Spider-Man: Homecoming’s view of high school was very accurate to what it’s like in real life; the actors were all young, and the fact that he went to a school for gifted students made sense for Peter’s character. This movie really showed the stress of living a double life — he’s out helping people after school, but he still has Spanish tests. The other two versions of Spider-Man just didn’t have these factors, which are pertinent to the character and are the reason he’s such a unique hero.

While this film is arguably the best Spider-man film, it shouldn’t take three tries to get right. The amount of Spider-man movies Hollywood has produced is excessive to say the least, and, at a certain point, the story becomes worn out. At this rate everyone already knows the backstory of Spider-man. The fact that it has been reinvented so many times is telling to the way that media is struggling to come up with new and interesting material. We have been consistently seeing continuations of movies long since finished, relying on nostalgia and old fans to make money and publicity. With the new movies, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Finding Dory, and the Incredibles, it is becoming apparent that Hollywood is scrambling to come up with new plots, even the new Emoji Movie was a revamped Wreck-it-Ralph. We can also see superhero movies dominating the movie industry. Marvel is currently the powerhouse of Hollywood, producing huge box office numbers and house name heroes, and this movie further proves why. In reality, this movie doesn’t have anything new to add to Hollywood, but because it’s a superhero movie, people are willing to pay to see Spider-man for the sixth time, while disregarding how similar it is to other superhero movies.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was also a more lighthearted, comedic take on Spider-man than what has previously been shown. Getting the talkative nature and goofy characteristics that are essential to the hero have been lost in translation of comics to movies in the past. One would think that having it been done so much, the movie wouldn’t click with audiences, but I suppose a third time’s the charm for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger.