'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Web-Slings Diversity Into the Marvel Cinematic Universe [Review]
Longtime comic nerd Miles Marshall Lewis breaks down the multicultural impact within the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new film, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Is Marvel Comics’ flagship character of all time Spider-Man or Captain America? Cap has time on his side, punching Hitler in the face in the heat of World War II when Captain America Comics #1 hit way back in 1941. But does anyone doubt that the real mascot of Marvel is Spidey? The 1960s’ “Marvel Age of Comics” sprang forth from the heads of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (and others) with all the characters that make up Marvel Studios’ multibillion-dollar cinematic universe some 50 years later. And the guy to star with Superman in Marvel’s first crossover with rival company DC Comics, the dude mucking around with Morgan Freeman on The Electric Company, the one with at least 10 cartoon incarnations, two movie reboots and a Broadway play is Spider-Man.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Hollywood’s third iteration of the character, the webslinger swings into the cinematic universe where Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Ant-Man (and, soon, Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange) interact in each other’s franchises. A quick word to the non-geeky: movie rights to Spider-Man are owned by Sony Pictures, and a new, unprecedented deal allows Marvel Studios-owned characters like The Avengers to appear alongside him for the first time. (Or technically the second, counting last year’s Captain America: Civil War.)
Another existential question: does Spider-Man work as a character if he’s not a teenager? Spider-Man: Homecoming—starring a wide-eyed, youthful Tom Holland—spotlights a more-than-likely virginal Peter Parker at 15 or thereabouts, juggling crushes, bullying and the high school academic decathlon team with his superheroics. The first Spidey trilogy (remember Tobey Maguire lo those many years ago?) ended with his graduation from Midtown High. But comic book source material has spun storylines for decades around Peter Parker post-adolescence. He attends Empire State University; he marries red-headed supermodel Mary Jane Watson; he founds his own Parker Industries like a mini Steve Jobs; he joins the Avengers; he becomes a dad.