The reviews are in for Spider-Man Homecoming (which hits theaters July 7, 2017), and so far, the word of mouth is looking very good. The film is currently sitting pretty at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a huge relief, as Spidey fans have had a bumpy ride the past few years. Between the disastrous Spider-Man 3, the ho-hum Amazing Spider-Man, and the trainwreck Amazing Spider-Man 2, things have been pretty sucky for Peter Parker for a while, and a far cry from director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.
So while we anxiously await Homecoming, we still have a few things that make us fidgety. A reboot of a classic character brings with it a host of expectations and predictions about what the new film (from director Jon Watts) starring Tom Holland will entail. And we have a whole checklist of things we wanna see happen in Homecoming--elements that casual fans and non-comic readers wouldn't notice if they were missing, but will feel like glaring omissions to Marvel Zombies. We have some expectations, and we're not shy about airing them. And we're hoping that they'll come to fruition.
With that in mind, here are 15 things we want--no, NEED to see in Spider-Man: Homecoming to have it pass the ultimate Spider-Fan seal of approval. Let's get to it.
15 Have Peter Design His Own Suit and Gear
To help expedite Spider-Man's inclusion in Captain America: Civil War, the script moved things along by having Tony Stark gift Peter Parker a Spider-Man suit, therefore creating a connection between the characters and cutting down on exposition.
While that was effective, one of Parker's greatest attributes is his studious mind--and creating his own suit and web-shooters is a key component of his mythology. And if we're going to have a Spider-Man that can exist outside the Avengers, he needs to learn to make his own stuff in Spider-Man Homecoming.
It appears this is foreshadowed in the trailer--with Stark taking away Peter's suit after the two have a disagreement, and that's just fine with us. A little assist now and then is fine, but Parker is at his best when he goes it alone.
14 Michael Keaton As The Best Marvel Villain
They say a hero is only as good as his villain--and Spider-Man has the best rogues gallery in Marvel Comics. Given that the MCU movies have been decidedly deficient in the evil adversary department (excluding Loki, or course), Homecoming is the perfect film to help balance the good and evil scales. And it all starts with Michael Keaton as The Vulture.
Keaton is certainly an inspired choice for the role: he's played a superhero as Batman, and he made a film (Birdman) that pretty much took a dump on the superhero genre, exposing its clichés and the negative effects taking on such a role might pose for someone who views themselves as a "serious actor."
In many ways, his role as The Vulture feels like a response to Birdman. Perhaps Keaton can have his cake and eat it too, reentering the comic book genre on his own terms and on the other side of the law. He has a flair for playing bad guys just as much as he does heroes, and we can't way to see him pull out all the stops as a worthy adversary to Spider-Man.
13 Marisa Tomei's Aunt May
One of the most surprising casting choices in Spider-Man: Homecoming was Marisa Tomei as Peter Parker's doting Aunt May. May has always been an elderly character in the comics--somewhat frail and silver-haired. And while her onscreen incarnations (played by Rosemary Harris in the Raimi films and Sally Fields in the Amazing series) weren't as meek, they looked the part of senior citizens.
Tomei may be 52, but she doesn't look it, and her youthful, vibrant May potentially presents a whole new scope for the character, more capable of keeping tabs on and keeping up with her nephew (and maybe even get in on the crimefighting fun) than her predecessors. We hope that she's utilized effectively, illustrating just why director Jon Watts felt she was appropriate for the role.
12 Make it Peter's Movie--Not Just A Buddy Film With Iron Man
As we mentioned above, Tony Stark was the primary catalyst for Spider-Man's inclusion in Civil War--recruiting everyone's favorite web-slinger by sweet talking him and providing a sweet suit. And we've already seen several photos and clips showing Iron Man has a sizable presence in Homecoming.
While that's all well and good--a little bit of Stark goes a long way. Downey Jr's presence in the MCU is seismic; he's the sun that all the other characters orbit. But in truth, it would have been Spider-Man inhabiting that role if Marvel Studios had the sole rights to the character at the time.
What we're trying to say is that Spider-Man is numero-uno in Marvel's roster, and he needs some autonomy here. Peter Parker needs to own his film and we hope that Iron Man is used sparingly--not overbearingly.
11 Give Us A Venom Easter Egg
Venom hasn't had the easiest transition from comics to film. He seemed like an afterthought in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, so fans aren't totally won over by the prospect of a standalone Venom movie, especially after Sony's mishandling the last Spider-franchise.
That perception has improved, however, after it was announced that Bane himself, Tom Hardy, would play the role, in a possible R-rated installment. This would make bridging the worlds of Marvel's kid-friendly aesthetic and a dark Venom film tricky--but even a brief tease that the two exist in the same universe would be a blast (Spider-Man star Tom Holland is certainly excited by this possibility, while Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been more dismissive of the two crossing paths).
So here's hoping we get some sort of Venom teaser or reference in Spider-Man: Homecoming--even if it's a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment.
10 A Stan Lee Cameo For The Ages
Spider-Man is Stan Lee's most iconic and lasting creation, and he's cameoed in every Spider-related film since Sam Raimi's 2000 classic Spider-Man. So a brief appearance in this year's Spider-Man: Homecoming is an absolute must.
The Marvel films have had to up the ante of every Lee cameo (the comic scribe has appeared in 33 Marvel related film and television projects so far), finding more hysterical and outlandish ways to squeeze him into memorable comedic sequences. So director Jon Watts has his work cut out for him in creating the next classic clip featuring everyone's favorite big kid (the stripper DJ in Deadpool may prove impossible to beat, however).
Given this is the film that will (hopefully) put Peter Parker back on track, having his "dad" there to celebrate the occasion with his greatest cinematic appearance to date would be the icing on the cake.
9 Netflix Shout-out
Ever since Daredevil debuted on Netflix back in 2015, viewers have wondered if there will ever be any cross-pollination with the MCU. And despite additional series like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, we've had no connective tissue, save for the continuing references to "the incident" (i.e. Loki and The Chitauri's NYC battle with The Avengers in The Avengers). And even that's getting fairly tedious and unsatisfying.
With the upcoming Defenders series, the timing is as good as any for a link between both universes--so why not get a shout-out from the New Yorkiest NYC hero in Marvel history? Parker is synonymous with the city and is its stalwart defender, but he could always use an assist from other costumed vigilantes out to make the Big Apple safer. With a hint from Marvel Studios Kevin Feige that these worlds will cross eventually, could Homecoming at least plant the seed?
8 Spider-Man Goes Seinfeld
Before you dismiss this as just a randomly weird suggestion, consider this: one of the most memorable storylines on Seinfeld was the two-part episode The Cadillac, where Jason Alexander's nebbish, neurotic alter-ego George Constanza pursues an affair with actress Marisa (Aunt May) Tomei. Things didn't work out (when Tomei discovers Constanza is engaged she punches him out), but it would be a fun riff on their relationship to have Alexander cameo as Parker's late Uncle Ben.
If you still think this seems completely out of left field, there's something that might change your mind. Funnily enough, the working title for Spider-Man:Homecoming was the “Summer Of George,” a reference to another Constanza-centric Seinfeld episode. We're definitely not saying an Alexander cameo is going to happen--but it would sure be "amazing" if it did.
7 The Daily Bugle
A Spider-Man movie without the Daily Bugle just feels...wrong. But it appears that the NYC paper that will one day employ Peter Parker doesn't factor into the plot, according to producer Eric Hauserman Carroll: “We toyed with it for a while, but again, we didn’t want to go down that road right away, and if we do do a Daily Bugle, we want to do it in a way that feels contemporary. Working in a newspaper while fighting crime and overachieving, it just felt like one of those things where like…maybe it’s in his future? Maybe it’s what he does in college or something like that. But for now, no.”
Feels weird doesn't it? We're hoping that this is some slight misdirection, and that at the very least we get an Easter Egg for the paper run by the cranky, Spider-Man hating J. Jonah Jameson. We'll no doubt see some Daily Bugle papers displayed around set or online, and we hope it teases Parker's future vocation.
6 The End Credits Scene To End All End Credits Scenes
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's overstuffed end credits sequences have raised the bar for the MCU's most defining cinematic footprint. Be that as it may, the first solo (Marvel Studios) Spider-Man film needs the end-all-be-all of end credit sequences.
The possibilities are endless--a foreshadowing of Avengers: Infinity War seems predestined, but we want a second or third end sequence introducing some fabled element of classic Spider-Man lore. Maybe a reference to the aforementioned Daily Bugle. Maybe the first shot of the new Mary Jane Watson (assuming she's not introduced in the main film). Perhaps a teaser for another classic Marvel villain (no Green Goblin though, please. Let's give it a few more movies before we get the third cinematic incarnation).
We don't care what it is, as long as its special and gets us pumped for future MCU Spidey adventures.
5 Balance Teen Drama and Superhero Thrills
Like The Amazing Spider-Man films, Homecoming puts Peter Parker back in his high-school years, and director Jon Watt and producer Kevin Feige have teased the film would be an homage to the classic '80s teen-centric comedies of director John Hughes.
That's a shrewd and potentially groundbreaking move for MCU films, providing a more family friendly coming of age storyline than the Kick-Ass film series or any other young superhero flick has ever offered. However, a little of this could go a long way, and the last thing we want is the YA mushy romance angle that hobbled both Amazing films.
In other words, as funny as seeing Parker navigate high school could be, people are coming to see Spider-Man, and we want to see the best incarnation yet, with badass fights, emotional heights, and Parker becoming the hero that we expect. As long as we get that in large doses, his high-school exploits will be an engaging subplot.
4 Don't Let The Villains Upstage The Hero
One of the worst traits of superhero movies is the tendency to put too many villains into a single film. We're not sure what the endgame with that approach is, but it's almost always self-defeating, and it always comes at the expense of the hero. They become a supporting player in their own franchise.
This was certainly the case in Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2, and we're a little leery upon learning that The Vulture isn't the sole bad guy in Homecoming--not by a long shot. He'll be sharing screentime with Shocker (played by both Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall Green...yeah, we're a bit confused by that too), Prowler (Donald Glover), The Scorpion (Michael Mando), and The Tinkerer (Michael Chernus). That's a lot of characters to juggle.
This could spell for a disastrous final sequence (almost always the weakest moment of every comic movie in general), overstuffed and full of more exposition and CGI cacophony than genuine suspense and drama. Hopefully, the additional baddies will be used sparingly, making it a Spider-Man/Vulture showdown in the end.
3 Redefining MCU Villainy
One possible (read: likely) reason for all the extra villains in Spider-Man: Homecoming is to foreshadow their appearances in future films, where they may hold larger roles down the road. That is certainly a smarter strategy than all of them jockeying for position in one film where they're simply no match for Michael Keaton.
There is an intriguing storyline element that has been teased for this group of criminals however: Keaton's Vulture working alongside said villains as clean-up crews following the Chitauri attack on NYC in The Avengers, and absconding with alien tech to start their own reign of terror.
That's a pretty novel twist that could have wide-ranging changes throughout the MCU (and even the Netflix series): villains getting assists from left-behind weaponry of other villains. We can't wait to see where that development leads, and what the payoffs will be.
2 Show Off Spider-Man's Comedic Wit
There is one crucial element of Spider-Man mythology that neither Raimi's films nor the Amazing series could accurately capture: Spider-Man's wiseass humor that he dishes out rapid-fire during fight scenes. Next to slinging webs and his Spidey-Sense, its his most memorable and charming quality.
Maybe it's just hard to adapt his jokey demeanor from the page to the silver screen, or maybe the earlier films had trouble mixing Parker's melancholy moments with his quick-witted quips, but it's never been used all that effectively. Until Captain America: Civil War, that is.
Unlike the humorous jabs that seemed uncomfortable and forced in the previous films, Holland's comedic delivery in Civil War was as light on its feet as his arachnid enhanced footwork, so we want to see this further explored in Homecoming, adding just the right humorous punctuation to his death-defying action sequences.
1 With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
One of the most memorable scenes from Raimi's Spider-trilogy occurred when Peter Parker (Tobey McGuire) got a lecture from his beloved Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson), who attempted to mentor his nephew to help him deal with his newfound radioactive arachnid abilities. It was a simple, yet eloquent phrase that's become iconic: "with great power comes great responsibility." It would be a phrase that Peter would take to heart, although too late for it to help him save his Uncle.
The phrase was originally used in Spider-Man's first appearance in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, with an aside saying "with great power there must also come great responsibility!" This was not actually uttered by Uncle Ben, but by the book's unseen narrator.
That moral phrase got short shrift in the recent Amazing Spider-Man films, so we'd like to see a more definitive rendition, no matter what character utters it.
So that's our checklist for things we need to see in Spider-Man: Homecoming! What other things are you hoping to see in the new film? Tell us in the comments!