SO YOU’RE MAKING the sixth Spider-man movie in 14 years. Not only that, you’re restarting with the third actor to slip their limber limbs into the red-and-blue skintights. How do you freshen up the most cinematically familiar Marvel character and serve the audience something new? The answer, it seems, is to do a Rodney Dangerfield and… go back to school!
Though our hero again faces a scientifically enhanced threat, in the form of Michael Keaton’s winged menace The Vulture, Homecoming is as much high-school movie as superhero adventure, harking back to the earliest Spider-man comics in which Peter Parker’s school life was central to storylines with a distinct teen-soap flavour.
It’s a point of difference emphasised by the fact Spider-man is now, finally, sharing a universe with other Marvel heroes. “All the other [Spiderman] movies existed with him in this superhero vacuum,” says director Jon Watts. “So it opens up a completely new world of possibilities when you place him in a world where the Avengers exist, and where you’re able to have him be what he was originally in the comics — the kid.”
That is certainly what appealed to 20-yearold Tom Holland, the youngest actor to take on the role. “This movie is like every kid’s dream,” he beams. “To see a kid do what you would do if you were given these crazy powers...”