Hey, you remember yesterday’s report that Sony is officially planning to use its 2018 Venom movie as an R-rated opening to a new cinematic universe independent of the Spider-Man movies they’re making with Marvel Studios? That sounds like a pretty bad idea, right? Like, how do you seriously build a cinematic universe out of Spider-Man’s co-stars but not include Spider-Man because you loaned him out to Marvel Studios? Oh, Sony. You’re just the worst.
Well, forget all that! Because while Sony continues to flail about like a beached sea animal Marvel Studios just keeps on doing the Marvel Studios thing, making fun movies and marketing them through YouTube-breaking trailers. Thus, I present the latest Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer:
This likely feels fairly familiar to anyone who watched DisneyXD’s animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, particularly the early seasons when Spider-Man worshiped The Avengers like rock stars and desperately craved a mentor-mentee relationship with Tony Stark. However, he consistently struggled to get any of them to take him seriously or even acknowledge his existence, often resulting in a stern, “leave these things to the real heroes” speech from Nick Fury.
But it’s one thing to see that in a cartoon; it’s completely different to see it in a live action movie. In this context, it feels somehow more official, as if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that much richer to now be able to give us scenes of Peter Parker interacting with the Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man or Peter and his buddy joking in gym class while watching a Captain America fitness challenge video.
That sense of interconnectivity is clearly a significant part of Homecoming’s appeal. Heck, it is a huge reason why they cheekily called the movie Homecoming (although one assumes everything will climax at an actual Homecoming dance). What Homecoming is doing with that interconnectivity from a plot and character motivation standpoint, though,intrigues me.
As we see in this new trailer, Peter Parker’s standard tale of woe is already behind him, and instead of re-re-relearning the old lesson about great power and all that he’s a teenager pining to join the big team. It’s just that in this particular high school movie the big team is The Avengers. This seems like a significant departure from prior Spider-Man movies, where Peter’s highest aspirations were more on the level of “get Mary Jane to notice me” or “get J. Jonah Jameson to hire me” and, obviously, help people because it’s the right thing to do. Instead, here Peter is modeling his behavior off of his heroes, likely making him even more of a surrogate figure for the current teens who’ve grown up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade.
The twist we learn in the trailer is that Peter is going to fail. He is going to lose that sweet, tech-enhanced suit Tony gave him in Civil War, and have to soldier on with his own homemade suit and with no help from Iron Man. Thus, Homecoming is cleverly reversing the “create my own suit” step which is so central to many a superhero origin story, forcing Peter to earn his stripes as a hero without the suit which was simply handed to him in Civil War where the demands of the plot necessitated such a convenience.
I like it. I don’t yet fully grasp what Michael Keaton’s Vulture is up to or how exactly his villainery will be something which only Peter can stop, but from a simple storytelling standpoint breaking Peter down and forcing him to be self-sufficient before he can properly join the Avengers seems like a smart move. It’s at least smarter than creating an entire Spider-Man cinematic universe without actual Spider-Man.
Homecoming is due out July 7.