Spider-Man: Homecoming offers a proper representation of modern teen life through its portrayal of Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) high school, according to the film’s costar Zendaya. The actress plays Michelle in the movie, one of Peter’s peers at his school – smart, a bit odd and very quippy. Beyond that, however, we don’t know much about her mysterious character, which has birthed a lot of theories online about Michelle’s own secret identity.
It is no secret that one of Marvel’s goal in Homecoming is to present a Peter Parker in his teenage years – something that has not been effectively done in his film history. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker was in high school for most of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, yet the setting was not really an integral part of the story, like it is with Homecoming. The upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film will meld Peter’s world-saving duties with that of his normal day-to-day struggle as a high schooler, taking the character back to his Marvel Comics roots. Superhero element aside, Zendaya feels that Homecoming has a feeling of realness to it, in this respect.
Sitting down with EW while doing the promotional rounds for Homecoming, Zendaya opened up about being part of the film’s diverse cast – something that is very important to her, as it mirrors what an actual high school in New York would look like. Further, Zendaya also points out another pivotal element in the film, about young kids being susceptible to messing up regardless if they have superpower abilities like Peter:
“That was one of my favorite parts about this movie is the diversity of the cast. It’s reflecting what New York looks like. It should be represented in that way, I think. I think everybody is also very distinct characters and it’s fun to see how everybody works with each other, and I love the awkwardness and the funny that comes out of those real moments in high school that we’ve all been through. The big difference with this movie is the fact that he’s 15 and you really get to see what it would be like if a 15-year-old guy had these powers. Of course, they’re not going to do everything right. They’re not going to be perfect. They’re going to mess up. They’re going to be a 15-year-old superhero. And I think they did a really great job of capturing that because that’s what makes Spider-Man so real for everybody is that he’s just a kid and just a kid from Queens.”
A significant chunk of Homecoming focuses on Peter’s efforts to settle back into his normal life – like dealing with school work (and even detention) and balancing them with his secret identity – after his life-changing experience during Captain America: Civil War. On a related note: Homecoming is also the first solo Spider-Man movie based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) serving as the web-slinging hero’s unofficial mentor. Characters such as Captain America (Chris Evans) are, in different ways, also part of Peter’s day-to-day life, further setting Homecoming‘s portrayal of high school apart from those in Spider-Man films past.
There’s a lot of budding excitement for Spider-Man: Homecoming and fittingly so, based on what has been revealed thus far. The film is currently tracking for a strong $100 million + opening weekend and early screening reactions are positive, which bode well – all the more so, considering that the film opens in theaters in but a couple of weeks, from the time of writing this.
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