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Spider-Man finally swung home. Back in February of 2015, I wrote about why Spider-Man swinging back to Marvel Studios would be a good thing for the famed webslinger. Now, two years later, we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, the sixth Spider-Man film that actually feels like the first. The film, which stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as The Vulture, is exhilarating, extremely well-made and most excitingly of all, refreshing. It shows how you properly reboot a character like Spider-Man, cementing Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios as creative powerhouses who truly care about these characters. Let's take a look at why Homecoming was the perfect Spidey reboot - and what's in store for him after this.
When a movie has the word "amazing" in the title, it comes with certain expectations. For The Amazing Spider-Man movies, however, they often failed to live up to their title. After Sam Raimi decided not to try to leave the franchise on a high note making Spider-Man 4, Sony and Columbia fast-tracked their plans to reboot Spider-Man. The response was mixed. After all, Spider-Man 3 had just come out a couple years before. Was a reboot needed so soon? That didn't stop the studio, however. The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, would revisit the origin story over two muddled films, star Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone and would be directed by 500 Days of Summer helmer Marc Webb. In the last installment of our Spider-Man retrospective series in anticipation of Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving, let's take a look at how Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man movies were, unfortunately, less than amazing.
Created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, Spider-Man first appeared in 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15, an anthology series published by Marvel Comics. The character's origin story goes something like this: Midtown High's only professional wallflower, Peter Parker, becomes a web-slinging "wall-crawler" when he is bitten by a radioactive spider and acquires the proportionate strength and agility of an arachnid. 55 years later, Spider-Man has become one of the most popular superheroes ever, inspiring countless comics, cartoons, video games, and not one but two film franchises: Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007) and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man series (2012-2014). Those movies, produced and distributed by Sony, have their moments, but ultimately fail to deliver a definitive take on the character. Enter the appropriately titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, a new film co-produced by Marvel Studios proving third time's the charm.
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, released in May of 2007, is one weird movie. It suffers from the curse of the "threequel", a film with potential that is overwhelmingly disappointing. In my previous editorial in this ongoing Spider-Man retrospective series, I talked about how Spider-Man 2 swings among some of the best sequels in cinema history. If Spider-Man 2 is the Superman II of the Spider-Man series, then Spider-Man 3 is the Superman III of the franchise - but with considerably weirder dance sequences. In the newest edition of our "Looking Back" series, let's take a look at why Spider-Man 3 begins the series of diminishing returns for Spider-Man movies as one of the most disappointing threequels in modern superhero film history.
When it comes to sequels, there an expectation to raise the bar. If you think of some of the best sequels of all time, whether that's The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Aliens (to name a few), each film improved upon the foundation of the first in major ways. In the second part of our weekly Spider-Man retrospective series leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th this summer, we take a look at how Sam Raimi raised the bar for not only Spider-Man movies, but the entire superhero genre itself with Spider-Man 2. The superhero sequel hit theaters on June 30th, 2004 (that's 13 years ago!), just a week before 4th of July, and it once again went on to set records at the box office and beyond.
It was the summer of 2002. The superhero genre was at a much different place than it is today. This was before "shared universes" were a known phrase in anyone's vocabulary. It was before superhero movies were even a sub-genre unto themselves. A little movie ("little" even though it cost ~$130 million to make) called Spider-Man would spin its web into cinemas and explode onto the scene. It was a big hit, at the time, with the biggest opening weekend of all-time (earning $114.8 million which, back then, was a huge achievement) and it started a cultural zeitgeist that has pervaded pop culture ever since. With Sony's latest iteration of Spidey, titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, swinging into theaters starting July 7th this summer, let's take a look back at the original film that helped define what we've come to know today as the superhero movie.
"You have 576 possible webshooter combinations." Sony has released a boatload of marketing material for Spider-Man: Homecoming, with release less than a month away. The most important new promo is a 22 minute "Fan's Guide" featurette. It aired on Disney XD and is aimed at younger viewers, but still has lots of cool behind-the-scenes footage and details about the new Spidey movie. There's another featurette on the new Spidey suit (that Tony Stark helped build) and a fun TV spot, plus a few posters below. Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker, and the cast includes Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jon Favreau as Happy, Michael Keaton as Vulture, Donald Glover, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Logan Marshall-Green, Angourie Rice, Hannibal Buress, and Zendaya. I actually have high hopes for this, it looks damn good.
"What do you know about Wakanda?" Disney has premiered the first teaser trailer for Marvel's Black Panther movie, directed by the talented Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed). The story picks up with King T'Challa, once again played by Chadwick Boseman, returning back to his African nation of Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War. There he encounters new enemies that want to challenge his seat on the throne, and destroy Wakanda. The outstanding ensemble cast Coogler has assembled includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Winston Duke, and Sterling K. Brown. This is just a short teaser, but it looks fantastic so far. I'm so excited for this! Dive in.
"What are you hiding, Peter?" Sony has unleashed two more trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, hitting theaters in the middle of the summer. Tom Holland stars as (the new) Peter Parker, who was first introduced in Marvel's Captain America: Civil War. This story continues with Parker returning from the events in that movie, still trying to figure out his place as a teenager in NYC. The focus seems to be entirely on the city, and it's cool to see him caring about stolen bikes and old ladies. The full cast includes Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Michael Keaton as The Vulture, as well as Donald Glover, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Logan Marshall-Green, Angourie Rice, Hannibal Buress, and Zendaya. I like the US version of these trailers more, better footage. Looking forward to this.
In 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn introduced the world to a team of miscreants and misfits forced to come together and save the galaxy. To put it bluntly, they're a bunch of a-holes. With the sequel, titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the latest feature from Marvel Studios, the writer-director is tasked with delivering a story that not only continues the epic and irreverent adventures of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his gang of lovable weirdos, but furthers their evolution as characters as well. Set to the '70s soft rock stylings of Awesome Mix Vol. 2, the sequel picks up a few months after the first film ended.
"Now I know what you're thinking: how did this happen? Well, it's a long story…" Holy smokes this looks so awesome. Disney + Marvel have revealed the first teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, the next sequel in the Thor series. This is directed by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, who brings his own comedic edge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth is back as Thor, with a seriously kick ass cast: Cate Blanchett as Hela, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge, plus all of the others from before including Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Jaimie Alexander as Sif, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. There's a very cool sci-fi side to this that looks so cool (plus it feels like this fits right into the Guardians of the Galaxy universe) but it's all about the big battle between Thor and Hulk that we get a tiny glimpse of at the end of this trailer. Ohhh yes. Dive right in!
"If you're nothing without this suit, then you shouldn't have it." Sony has revealed the second official trailer for the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, bringing back the friendly neighborhood web-slinger for another solo adventure in New York City. Tom Holland stars as (the new) Peter Parker, who was first introduced in Marvel's Captain America: Civil War. This story continues with Parker returning from the events in that movie, still trying to figure out his place as a teenager in NYC. The full cast includes Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Michael Keaton as The Vulture, as well as Donald Glover, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Logan Marshall-Green, Angourie Rice, Hannibal Buress, and Zendaya. This actually looks great, and has plenty of Spidey action to offer. Fire it up below.