Friendly neighbourhood Spiderman

Well, it is happening again. For the third time in 15 years, a new Spiderman film series began over the weekend. Relatively unknown (or at least he was before Captain America: Civil War came out) UK actor Tom Holland takes over as the loveable webslinger and the reviews so far seem very kind. The consensus of rottentomates.com lists the film in the low 90s as rated by both fans and critics, which is great news for fans of the arguably the most popular character in Marvel’s stable.

With any luck, we’ll get more out of Holland than we managed to get with Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield, both in terms of quality and production.

Maguire’s first two movies were pretty good, the first one in particular. The third was a mess but that wasn’t Maguire’s fault, though his career didn’t exactly explode when the series was over. He’s only done about five films in the 10 years since his last swing around Manhattan.

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As for Garfield, those movies were just bad. He was a really good Spiderman, in terms of physicality and the guy can act but pretty much every other aspect of those two movies went wrong. The writing, plot, the villains…it was all wasted.

Now, why would they bother giving it another go? Look at The Fantastic Four. After two no-no attempts to bring an audience to the series, I’d like to think Hollywood officially gave up on Marvel’s first family of superheroing and, coincidentally, the series of comics which offered the webhead his debut.

The reason for the Spiderman re-re-boot, is, as with anything in Hollywood, about money. As I said, the character is amongst Marvel’s most popular, and definitely the favourite of kids. Whether or not that popularity will translate into a sustainable franchise obviously remains to be seen.

It does have the relationship with the other Marvel movies, a relationship the studios are obviously trying to show off with the Ironman/Tony Stark heavy trailers. They are using the recent events in the Marvel universe, like those of the Avengers and Civil War, which not only keeps the films connected but provides a blueprint for Spiderman’s world.

Spiderman: Homecoming producers also doubled down on the villain content insomuch as they picked someone with obvious acting chops and a relationship to superhero franchises in Michael Keaton. I’m not sure why they have him playing The Vulture, a character so far unseen in the Spiderman movies, which I guess is another way of distancing themselves from the previous films.

My only gripe against the movie is the title. The double entendre of homecoming (Spiderman returns home after Civil War and he is a high school student where homecoming is a thing) is just silly. They can’t use The Amazing Spiderman as that’s what they called series two, but just plain Spiderman works. Sure they used that title on the first one but it’s been 15 years. I’m sure people will know the difference. Heck, with the heavy reliance on Robert Downy Junior in all of the trailers, I am surprised they didn’t call the movie “Ironman and his bestest friend Spiderman” which, while goofy, still seems better than Spiderman: Homecoming.

In conclusion, what with all the movies I want to see/saw already, this is turning out to be an expensive summer.

I’m done now.

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Antigonish native Matt Draper has been a photographer, reporter and columnist for The Reporter since 2003.