It goes beyond Tom Holland being an extreme cutie.
With four different Spider-Men- three being within the last 15 years, the one prior being in the 70s- there are bound to be favorites. Tobey McGuire had become Peter Parker in the 2002 film version and it’s following films in the trilogy. Five years after the final installment of McGuire’s Spiderman, the franchise was rebooted with pretty Andrew Garfield adopting the role only for it to be cancelled after its sequel. Two years following The Amazing Spiderman 2, Sony and Marvel teamed up to once again bring back Spiderman in another way.
At this point, the character has been reborn so many times that it seemed as though Peter Parker would never officially be grounded as an icon like Chris Evans as Captain America or Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. The face, the story, and the characters were ever-changing and it was hard to grasp who Spider-Man really was. Or, at least, that was the case until Tom Holland came on screen.
Holland’s Spider-Man is the most solid Spider-Man anyone in this generation will ever see. His introduction in Captain America: Civil War was minor, but it prepared everyone for the first standalone of what is set to be a trilogy for the web-slinging city kid. Spiderman: Homecoming crafted an amazing story-credit is due to the writers and creators of the film along with its actors- one full of heart that was able to resonate with audiences in a way the previous versions were not able to. It was a different route and here is where they differed from its predecessors.
1. Uncle Ben and Aunt May
Both the 2002 and 2012 version featured a scene in which beloved and wise Uncle Ben is shot and killed due to a choice Peter Parker makes and could have avoided. This obviously creates guilt in our hero and the desire to truly do good in society. However, Homecoming completely cuts Uncle Ben from the script and saves us from having to see the man get shot a third time. Another slight change in Peter’s family tree in Homecoming makes Aunt May pretty hot and younger than previous Aunt Mays and does not have a shortage of “wow, Peter’s aunt is really hot” jokes/comments in the film.
2. Age/Appearance Of The Actors
Hollywood in general is guilty of hiring 20-something-year-old actors who barely resemble an actual teen, to play a teen and Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield clearly fall into that category. Homecoming starred actors much closer to their characters ages and genuinely appeared to be high schoolers trying to navigate being cool, dealing with crushes, and the pressures of extra-curricular activities. Something even greater than the ages of the actors is the diversity that is included in the film. Peter’s best friend is Hawaiian, his love interest is biracial, his bully in school is Guatemalan. It’s a vision that truly aligns itself with New York City and isn’t made a big deal. The audience even gets to see and hear Holland show off a bit of his Spanish speaking skills in the film to a store owner and in class.
I won’t say much about this except there were many audible gasps throughout the entire theater. I’m still genuinely surprised.
Obviously the actor portraying Spider-Man has changed with each reboot, but so did the storyline and the characterization. McGuire was geeky and awkward, in love with photography and gained more power from the spider rather than actually developing his own web shooting cuffs. Garfield was handsome, so much in fact it was hard to actually picture him as an outcast which was a huge part of the comics’ characterization of Spiderman. But Holland managed to truly bring the comic book character to life. He’s undeniably cute, but manages to come off as a normal kid who may not have the most popularity but is certainly not getting pummeled for some lunch money or staring at a “cool kid’s” girlfriend. He’s charming, smart, and has his slightly geeky hobbies, but overall, he’s a kid who’s trying to prove himself which is something everyone can relate to. Sure, we might not all be trying to join the Avengers, but Holland’s Peter Parker covers up his Spider-Man duties as an internship with Stark, and constantly tries to impress the higher ups with all that he can do. He has faith in himself and wants to help others, even though his power is sometimes underestimated or simply just believed to not be fully trained yet. His reactions to dilemmas are completely reasonable and adorable, showing off the innocence of a character/hero who may not totally understand what to do in every situation (I don’t know whose bike this is, I’ll leave a note!)
Holland in Homecoming is truly the Spider-Man we’ve all been waiting for. Someone with heart, a boy-next-door charm, and an honest portrayal of someone who doesn’t quite fit in trying to prove himself. He managed to set off a bit of nostalgia, almost as if he has always been Spider-Man and he just disappeared for a bit. It may be the beginning of our new Spider-Man but it seems as though Holland was the hero we’ve been waiting for and truly deserved in order to bring the comic to life.