After 13 years, five movies, two franchises, and a series of regrettable choices that will live on in meme infamy forever, the Spider-Man series is getting yet another reboot. Newcomer Tom Holland is set to star as the Wall-Crawler in the upcoming film, and this new version of Spider-Man has a lot going for him – including the reboot's supposed focus on a high-school aged Peter Parker, as well as Peter Parker's official introduction into the MCU via next summer’s Civil War. But while Marvel and Sony teaming up is an exciting proposition, there’s still a lot that could go wrong and end up disappointing fans between now and the reboot’s planned July 28, 2017 release date.
As this year’s Fantastic Four – or as it was apparently titled, Fant4stic (pronounced “fant-four-stic”) – has proven, even with all the right pieces in place in front of and behind the camera, things can still go disastrously wrong when it comes to big budget films. Studio meddling, last-minute script changes, and mindless action sequences catering to the overseas market are just some of the reasons blockbusters these days often seemed doomed to fail, and that’s just something we can’t bear to see happen with the Web-Head again.
So, in the interest of seeing our favorite blue and red hero restored to his Spider-Man 2 glory days, we humbly put forward our suggestions for 10 Things We Want to See in the Spider-Man Reboot.
10 A Coming of Age Story
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has gone on record saying that the reboot will feature a John Hughes-inspired story, focusing on a high-school aged Peter Parker. With the casting of the youngest Spider-Man to date in 19 year old Tom Holland, it looks like director Jon Watts and writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are going to stick to this promise.
While we’re excited to see a new dynamic enter The Avengers in the form of a teenage superhero, what we really want is for the stand-alone Spider-Man film to focus heavily on a coming of age story, differentiating it entirely from everything that’s come before it. By drawing on the comics for the pain and conflicts that come with discovering you have superpowers in a high-school setting, the film could touch on universal themes of entering adulthood while still telling a wholly original Spider-Man tale.
9 A Kick-Ass Costume
In five Spider-Man films, we’ve now seen four costumes, including the original suit from the first three movies, the black costume from Spider-Man 3, the grungy, handmade-looking costume from The Amazing Spider-Man, and the cartoonishly bright one from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. While all four costumes had their own merits and looked great on screen, to differentiate the reboot from the previous films, we would like to see a Spider-Man costume unlike any other.
With a host of costumes to choose from the comics, Spider-Man could spend all or part of the film in a costume like the Iron Spider Suit or the Spider-Man 2099 Suit. By adding new elements that could help Spider-Man enhance his abilities and make him look like a bad-ass, a new costume would also give the film a shot in the arm by showing new sides of Spider-Man’s powers that we’ve never seen. Not to mention that this time around we can actually see the genesis of the suit created by Peter Parker, rather than a fully-formed costume that magically shows up one day in the previous films.
8 A Genius Peter Parker
Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker was portrayed as a scientifically-minded student who was able to recite theory and smart-sounding words, but none of that really ended up coming in handy during a fight. On the other hand, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker was more movie smart, with most of his intelligence coming in the form of making intricate info-collages on his walls and other characters saying things along the lines of “you’re smart.”
With Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, we want to see his intelligence at the forefront, being utilized to fight his foes and get him out of problems that a hero with lesser intelligence wouldn’t be able to get out of. Peter Parker’s genius shouldn’t be a convenient side-story to help introduce a scientist-turned-villain in a tragic lab accident, but rather it should be a major part of who Peter is. If Peter Parker’s intelligence can influence every fiber of his being, then that intelligence should permeate through the film and help it rise above the formula of a conventional superhero film.
7 A Nerdy Peter Parker
In The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker was apparently a nerd, but the last time we checked, nerds don’t ride skateboards all day with their cool hipster clothes and spiky hair, dating girls who look suspiciously like Emma Stone. Although Flash Thompson was in both Spidey series to bully Peter, he was never in more than a handful of scenes, seemingly just beating up Peter because he felt like it.
In the reboot, we’d love to see Peter Parker portrayed as an actual socially awkward nerd; the kind that shuffle through the hallways of high-schools across the world hoping not to be seen. If Jon Watts isn’t afraid to show the ugly side of high-school, then we can see a Peter Parker more like Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network; a frustrated genius outcast who isn’t liked by anyone, including those he calls his friends.
If the new Peter Parker can take a tragic, bullied school-life where he’s looked at like a pariah and use that as fuel for his superhero alter ego, we could be treated to an emotionally rich story with as much catharsis and redemption as the best Spider-Man comics that have come before it.
6 A Duo of Web Shooters Done Right
Speaking of smart and nerdy Peter Parker, arguably one of the nerdiest and smartest (and coolest) things that Peter did in the comics and cartoon series' was developing his own web shooters. Although the first trilogy famously did away with mechanical web shooters in favor of organic ones, the next set of films didn’t handle it much better, apparently showing Peter stealing the design of the web shooters from an Oscorp invention.
If the reboot can show a genius Peter Parker inventing a set of genius web shooters, the film can go down the source material path by having Peter create different mixtures of web fluids in order to fight different villains and deal with different problems. While the web shooters in the comics and cartoons made generations of kids wish they could swing through the air and web up their enemies like Spider-Man, if done right, the movie could elevate the concept and bring everyone’s fantasy of being Spider-Man to a whole new level.
5 An Exhilarating, Fun Time
Although the first three Spider-Man films were fun and weird and had that Sam Raimi-swagger, Sony seemed to have realized that superheroes were big business by the time they made The Amazing Spider-Man. With money on the line and a new take that they desperately wanted to work, Sony reportedly meddled in the finished product of both movies in the series, which led to a muddling of tone and overbearing attempts at emulating other superhero films' real-world grittiness. While Marvel Studios has done well for itself by keeping in mind that they are not DC, and that they don’t need to go down the Christopher Nolan dark and gritty Batman route to make great entertainment, this is a lesson that they need desperately to impart on Sony if their partnership is to work.
The joy of Spider-Man is that he actually enjoys himself, and with every exhilarating web-slinging sequence or witty wise-cracking remark the audience should be able to enjoy themselves as well. That’s not to say that there can’t be darkness and stakes in the reboot, but spending an entire movie seeing your girlfriend’s dead father, only for said girlfriend to die soon after, isn’t really anyone’s idea of a fun time. Let’s hope Spider-Man can lighten up enough to remind us all why we loved him so much in the first place.
4 A Bunch of Exciting Secondary Characters
Mention Spider-Man to any kid and they’ll be able to name not just Peter Parker, but all the people in his life that make him more than a one-man-army. There’s Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Harry Osborn, Otto Octavious, Felicia Hardy, Robbie Robertson, and countless others. Spider-Man isn’t a lone wolf, and the new movie shouldn’t treat him like one; he has a network of friends and family that both help and hurt him, and we want to see these characters treated like real people with real story arcs.
Rather than dropping characters into the story just to serve Peter Parker and Spider-Man, characters should feel fully fleshed-out and as if they're the main character of their own story. Just like how Doc Ock got almost as much screen-time as Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2, we want to see secondary characters at the forefront of the reboot, rather than relegated to the sidelines. At this point, we’ve seen a lot Peter Parker and we know his story; it’s time to learn the stories of the other people in his life. Speaking of which…
3 An Actor Named J.K. Simmons
This point can’t be stressed enough; we need newly minted Oscar winner J.K. Simmons in this movie reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson. Perhaps the most perfectly cast human being in any role ever, Simmons was downright delightful in the first three Spidey movies – a point that Sony fully understood and, as a result, just left Jameson out of the next series of films entirely.
For the reboot, Marvel and Sony should be smart enough to not just to recast for the sake of recasting, and rather they should go down the Judi Dench route in James Bond and just keep Simmons in the role forever. Simmons has gone on record saying that he’d come back to reprise his role – something he’s already doing in the animated Ultimate Spider-Man – so Sony and Marvel should listen to Simmons and fan demands and cash in some serious good will by bringing Simmons back, slapping him behind his desk at The Daily Bugle, and having him shout “Get me pictures of Spider-Man!”
2 A Villain Named Mysterio
Will the next Spider-Man villain be Vulture, as it was meant to be in Sam Raimi’s cancelled Spider-Man 4? Will it be Venom, the symbiote who was set to headline his own spin-off before Sony joined forces with Marvel? Will it be Hydro-Man, the severely underrated villain that no one has ever talked about putting in a movie? Or will it be Mysterio, the super-cool illusionist with the fish-bowl on his head? We’re hoping it’ll be the latter.
Though there’s many worthy foes for Spider-Man to fight, Quentin Beck – AKA Mysterio – is among the coolest. The special effects master and Hollywood stuntman has always proved formidable and tough for Spider-Man to beat, often combining stunning trickery with cunning wits in his attempts to take down the Wall-Crawler. While the story potential of Spider-Man fighting a villain like Mysterio would be exciting on its own, the effects possibilities would be as exciting as anything Marvel’s done, providing audiences with a mix of practical and CGI effects to portray superpowers unlike anything that have been put on the big screen before.
1 A Story that Doesn’t End with Typical MCU Shenanigans
Please, for the love of all that is holy, let’s not let the Spider-Man Reboot succumb to the same fate as every other movie in the MCU. Say what you will about the previous five Spider-Man movies, but at least they tried to be their own thing rather than opting for the cookie-cutter Marvel braintrust formula, which, as of late, seems to be shoving a horde of dark space creatures into a town or city and having the hero(es) destroy them one by one, while at the same time trying to take down the main bad guy who is causing said aliens to appear.
After The Avengers’ Battle of New York and every other film's destruction of entire cities, The Spider-Man Reboot’s story should be small and personal, focusing on personal stakes and, as we all know, the great responsibility that comes with great power. Although Spidey’s joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and as a result doesn’t have to save the world on his own anymore – we want to see a Spider-Man that stands out from the rest of the MCU.
Call him Spectacular, call him Ultimate, call him Astonishing, call him Superior, we don’t care – as long as Marvel and Sony can make him great; and make him distinctly Spider-Man.
What do you want to see in the Spider-Man Reboot? What do you definitely not want to see? Comment below and share your Spider-Man thoughts with the world!
Captain America: Civil War arrives in theaters on May 6, 2016, followed Spider-Man on July 28, 2017.