Thursday 5 May 2016

Let's talk about this new Spider-Man

(Spoilers for Captain America: Civil War, especially the bits about Spider-Man)

My thoughts on Civil War are complex and we'll get to them once they've percolated a little longer. The short, tentative, early version is that it's a good film. The good bits are amazing but the bad bits are a little too vital to the plot to entirely ignore. Overall I'd say its a better film (certainly a better Avengers film) than Age Of Ultron but not as good as Winter Soldier, there are just a few things I want to work out before I discuss the whole film at any length.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man, though? I know where I stand there. I like him, I'm looking forward to the new movie.

Okay, okay, I know the character is only in this film as an extended trailer to reassure the audience that this reboot will go better than the last one (and let's hope so, if we have to go through this again, Aunt May will end up in her teens) but that doesn't stop it from being very convincing.

So what's to like about this version? Well, for one thing I think Holland's version is the best yet at the half-sardonic, half-hysterical fight banter. For another, he has a couple of moments of utter panic in his first scene which sell how he hasn't been doing this long and doesn't have the coping mechanisms in place for when Peter and Spider-Man's worlds collide, which is a pretty big element of a lot of Spider-Man stories. Seriously, Tony Stark frantically signalling to Peter to be cool by blinking with both eyes would be the cutest thing in this film if not for the Vision trying to cook.

The costume looks better than the trailer led us to believe (and is there an element or two of Ben Reilly's suit there? Just me?) and there are plenty of cool “Spider-Man poses” to keep things visually interesting. The new ebbing also looks great, too. Most of all though, Holland splits the difference between the two previous versions. He's a believable teenager (like Garfield) and he isn't classically “Hollywood attractive” (like Maguire, sorry pardon).

Of course, holding down a couple of extended scenes and holding down an entire movie are two different things. On the evidence, Holland at least has the charisma to stand out in an ensemble piece. Rumour has it, based largely on the title Spider-Man: Homecoming, that Marvel and Sony are going for more of a Buffy-style high school dramedy, which I think Holland would be perfect for.

Time will tell, of course, and for the first time in years I find myself looking forward to a Spider-Man movie. 

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