After the unbridled mess of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s a delight to report that Spider-Man: Homecoming represents a major return to form for everyone’s favorite web-slinger and has laid the foundations of an exciting new foray into the Marvel universe. Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is arguably the most three-dimensional Marvel movie villain yet, while Tom Holland more than holds his own as Peter Parker.
But just because Spider-Man: Homecoming is a breath of fresh air for the franchise and Marvel as a whole doesn’t mean it’s an entirely original outing for the wall-crawler. In fact, it could be argued that Spider-Man: Homecoming owes a fair amount to Sam Raimi’s 2002 incarnation of Spidey in terms of plot, structure, and characterization.
Here are 15 Things Spider-Man: Homecoming steals from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.
15. Peter Parker
Peter Parker is a lovable nerd and decent person at heart, and any good on-screen version of the character needs to reflect that. In starting out with Parker as a shy but intelligent kid, creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko crafted the perfect contrast between the character’s heroic alter ego and his geeky self.
It’s a thread that runs throughout Tobey Maguire’s performance and, thankfully, Tom Holland’s incarnation. They are both shy, but reliable figures, fair and honest in their dealings, and far less edgy than Garfield’s stuttering version of Parker, a character seen actively confronting bullies rather than simply standing up to them.
Holland has made no secret of the fact Maguire’s more statesmanlike approach was a major influence on his approach to Peter Parker either, telling CBR, “Maguire’s Spider-Man had such a huge impact on me as a kid. He was my role model growing up. He was my favorite character. So I had to keep reminding myself that I was going to have that same impact on kids, and a generation.”
14. Peter’s Best Friend
Early on in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s revealed that Peter’s best friend is a guy by the name of Ned Leeds. Now, as anyone who has read the comics will know, the character by that name ultimately ends up becoming the Hobgoblin. In the comics, Ned works as a reporter alongside Parker at the Daily Bugle and is actually brainwashed into becoming the orange-suited villain.
But hold up a minute; they introduce a friend who fans know will end up becoming the Hobgoblin? Now, if that sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because that is exactly what they do in Spider-Man with James Franco’s Harry Osborn. Granted, it’s a neat little trick to spark online speculation over the franchise’s potential future villains and where things could go for Spidey’s co-stars, but it’s also a trick lifted from Sam Raimi’s playbook.
13. Villains’ Occupations
Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man share another rather handy similarity when it comes to the villains, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes and Willem Dafoe’s Norman Osborn, in that they both, technically speaking, design weapons for a living.
More specifically, they have both developed weapons that are highly dangerous and have been stolen. In the build-up to the release of Homecoming, Keaton spoke of how he viewed Toomes as a “Dark Tony Stark”, and it’s arguably a suitable label for both of these baddies.
Toomes creates an array of weapons with his gang using pilfered Chitauri technology, while Osborn steals a glider and armored suit from Oscorp early in the 2002 Spider-Man. This newfound technology gifts both villains with super strength and the ability to fight Spider-Man as his equal, which does sound a lot like a dark Tony Stark.
12. Money Woes
Capitalism truly is the root of all evil in Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming, with both movies following a familiar pattern when it comes to their respective villains’ origin stories. Because, when you think about it, both villains would never have been put on a path of destruction were it not for the almighty dollar.
In Spider-Man, Norman Osborn looks set to lose out on an important military weapons contract to produce Human Performance Enhancers, one that could doom his company. Enraged, he comes up with a solution: test the enhancers out on himself. It doesn’t go well, and Green Goblin is born.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes’s salvage company has been contracted to clean up the city in the wake of the Battle of New York, but it loses the contract when the Department of Damage Control wades in. Enraged, he comes up with a solution: stealing some of the discovered Chitauri technology and creating the Vulture in the process. Money truly is the root of all evil.
11. A Show Of Strength
When it comes to establishing a villain, a pretty common trick played out in countless Hollywood films over the years sees the principal bad guy offing one of his minions in a show of strength and ruthlessness that tells the audience they are someone to be feared. It’s a trick pulled off in both Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In Spider-Man, Norman Osborn marks his transformation into the Green Goblin by murdering his colleague Dr. Mendel Stromm. It’s a moment that shows Osborn has truly gone mad from the newfound power the Human Performance Enhancers have given him, and will do anything to protect it.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes opts to murder the first incarnation of Shocker, Jackson Brice, using one of the many Chitauri-powered weapons at his disposal. Brice – having put their operation in jeopardy by firing the weapons in public and attracting the attention of a certain friendly neighborhood superhero – is put down by Toomes so that the latter can protect what he’s built.
10. Flash Thompson
In both Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker’s resident high school bully Flash Thompson is present and accounted for, delivering the kind of douchebaggery fans have come to expect.
And while Joe Manganiello and Tony Revolori offer up markedly different takes on the character in their respective Spider-Man outings, let’s not pretend they aren’t both still bullies – one physical and one mental – and both follow a familiar pattern. It’s simple enough: Flash spends much of his screen time bullying Parker before suffering some form of school-based humiliation.
In Spider-Man, it comes via a failed fight that leaves Manganiello’s Flash covered in food and humiliated after trying to beat up Peter. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey accidentally trashes the car Flash is driving to his homecoming dance, leaving him embarrassed in a major social situation, as he left Peter earlier in the film. Defeating Flash is symbolic of Peter unlocking his newfound strength.
9. Upside-Down Kisses
The upside-down kiss is arguably among the most iconic moments in Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man movie, even if it is a little bit weird. It became something of a pop culture reference to the extent by which it even featured in the lamentable Scary Movie-style spoof Superhero Movie. But while Marc Webb opted not to reference the moment in The Amazing Spider-Man, Jon Watts appeared to have no qualms about doing so with Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Coming moments after Spider-Man rescues his classmates from certain death in an elevator shaft in the Washington Monument, an upside-down Parker comes within inches of sharing another upside-down kiss with fellow classmate and crush, Liz Allan. Karen, the A.I. in his Spidey suit, suggests making a move, but the elevator sends the web-slinger for a mighty fall before he can. It’s a homage of sorts, but it’s still borrowed.
8. Spider-Man Crushes
As is so often the case for Peter, in both Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming, he quickly discovers that his high school crushes have a soft spot for his superhero alter-ego, and there’s no way of telling them the truth.
In fact, both films feature a scene in which Peter’s love interests – Liz and Mary Jane – reveal their infatuation with Spider-Man. In both films, Peter then claims to be a close friend of Spidey’s and someone who could put in something of a good word for them. Now, that might all sound like a pretty standard web-slinging formula, but it’s worth remembering that The Amazing Spider-Man did things differently – Peter reveals his true identity to Gwen halfway through that movie and she never, at any point, expresses any romantic interest in Spider-man.
7. Family Ties
Much has been made of Spider-Man: Homecoming’s killer twist, namely that **SPOILER ALERT** Liz is the daughter of Adrian Toomes. But take away the smoke screens and there’s something awfully familiar about this scenario. A fellow classmate who happens to be the offspring of one of Spider-Man’s main foes? Oh yeah, that happened in Spider-Man didn’t it, with James Franco serving as Harry, son of Norman, Osborn.
In both instances, Peter is left with a major dilemma on his hands and one which ultimately leaves those he cares about – his best friend and his girlfriend – completely heartbroken by the end of the film. Though it would be easy to point out that Harry ultimately seeks revenge as a Hobgoblin-esque baddie and Liz is unlikely to do that in the next movie, it’s worth noting that the idea of Franco’s character stepping into his dad’s shoes only came to the fore in Spider-Man 2.
6. The Villain’s Realization
That killer twist in Homecoming is made all the more memorable for the scene that follows it, in which Michael Keaton’s Toomes drives Peter and Liz to their homecoming dance. It’s an increasingly tense encounter in which Toomes gradually comes to realize that the young boy in the back of his car is none other than Spider-Man.
Superbly acted and executed on all fronts, most agree it’s one of the best scenes in the movie. But hang on a second, haven’t we been here before again? In Spider-Man, Willem Dafoe’s Norman Osborn experiences a similar moment of clarity during Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt May’s house. Noticing a wound on Peter’s arm that’s similar to the one he’d just dealt Spidey, Osborn realizes that he’s sitting across the table from the man who has been hampering his plans. In both instances, these revelations come during two formative occasions in Parker’s life, disrupting any semblance of a normal life and ultimately setting in motion their respective films’ final confrontations.
5. Setting A Trap
The Vulture and Green Goblin aren’t just similar in terms of motivations and approach – they also employ similar tactics when it comes to defeating Spider-Man. Unfortunately for them, these strategies fail in their main objective in both instances, but it’s still interesting to note the similarities.
In Homecoming, for example, Toomes lures Spider-Man to his underground lair before using his Vulture suit, which is flying independently of him, to destroy the building’s support beams in an effort to trap and kill Peter. It’s a similar story in Spider-Man, where Norman Osborn reveals himself to Spider-Man and begs for forgiveness while secretly programming his glider to fly, independently of him, and impale Spider-Man, killing him. In both instances, the plans fail, but in only one instance is it fatal.
4. A Landmark Stunt
Which Spider-Man film features an action set-piece centered around a familiar landmark and involving Peter’s love interest in the role of damsel in distress? If you answered Homecoming, you would be correct. In arguably the film’s most breathless action sequence, Peter busts his way into the Washington Monument and prevents an elevator full of his classmates, including love interest Liz, from plummeting to their deaths using his Spidey powers.
However, if you answered Spider-Man, you would also be correct. Having discovered Spider-Man’s true identity, Norman Osborn kidnaps and holds Mary Jane and a Roosevelt Island Tram car full of children hostage alongside the Queensboro Bridge. Fortunately, Spidey once again saves the day, successfully saving both groups using those web-slinging skills of his.
3. Self-Destructing Villains
Spider-Man’s goody two-shoes persona creates something of a problem when it comes to his cinematic outings. After watching some two-hours or so of web-slinging action, fans want to see the villains get their comeuppance. But how does Spidey bring that about without coming off as a little OTT on the violence side of things? By having the villains essentially destroy themselves, that’s how. In both films, it’s via the same specific method too, albeit with slightly different results.
In Homecoming, the Vulture ultimately comes undone after trying to escape with some stolen cargo, only to find his unstable suit prevent his escape. So ultimately, the suit that helped him so much ends up being the main reason behind Toomes’ capture. In Spider-Man, meanwhile, the Green Goblin comes undone after programming his glider to attack Peter, only for it to fatally impale him. Once again, the villain’s technology has ultimately proven to be his undoing.
2. Peter Doesn’t Get The Girl
As with the original live-action Spider-Man, Homecoming ends with Peter Parker feeling a little alone. The capture of the Vulture has forced Liz and her mother to relocate away from New York, meaning that any hopes Peter had of winning her over are all but over. He doesn’t get the girl, yet, at the same time, that feels right.
Sam Raimi’s film ends at Norman Osborn’s funeral, where Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane professes her love for Peter, only for him to reject her, stating he must be on his own. Once again, Spider-Man doesn’t get the girl. Granted, the situations are markedly different in some respects – it’s Peter’s choice to turn down Mary Jane in Raimi’s version, of course – but the end result and the message is the same.
1. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
This is an important point, and something that really should be part and parcel of any good Spider-Man origins story, which probably explains why it’s an element so lacking from The Amazing Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility, and it shouldn’t come down to a promise made to your girlfriend’s dying father.
Peter’s rejection of Mary Jane in Raimi’s 2002 film is part of his growth and the realization that he now has a responsibility, as Spider-Man, to serve and protect the people of New York. It’s a similar story, thematically at least, for Homecoming. In this instance, Peter doesn’t reject Liz, but something a little more substantial: a place among The Avengers. Eager to do his own thing and protect the people of New York in a street-level capacity, Peter says no to joining up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, realizing that he has new powers and new responsibilities.
Do you agree with these points or have any to add? Sound off in the comments!
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