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Why taking Spider-Man back to school will reinvent the Marvel movie


Not many superheroes have had the reboot treatment three times (although surely many more will in the future). But Spider-Man is onto his third reboot with next year's Spider-Man: Homecoming

Although many are worried that we will see the same story, same villains, same action and same inevitable deaths (hopefully the film doesn’t show us Uncle Ben dying…again!), there is a good possibility that Homecoming will be a fresh new take on the beloved Spider-Man story.

This isn't simply because we've had a very entertaining introduction to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War; this time, the Spidey cast playing the film's high school teenagers are actually teenagers!

From the limited snippets of information that have been posted on the actors' social media channels and in the news, it looks as if Homecoming will be as much of a teen movie as a superhero one. We all know how fun teen movies are, from classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club to recent teen hits like Mean Girls and Juno, so if Marvel are mixing up the superhero genre with the teen movie, then there is bound to be a lot of fun with this refreshing take on the cinematic Spidey.

So here is what we know so far and why we think Spider-man: Homecoming will be an epic blend of two awesome genres...

The cast are closer in age (and appearance) to that of their characters

Although we did love Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s portrayals of Peter Parker, we can’t help but feel that they didn’t quite pass for teenagers attending high school.

However, that’s not the case with Spider-Man: Homecoming and new face Tom Holland. After he wowed Marvel with his performances in In The Heart of the Sea and The Impossible, as well as his screen-tests, Tom won the role and became the third on-screen actor to play Peter Parker.

At 20 Holland will be the youngest incarnation of Parker yet, compared to Maguire and Garfield who were both upwards of 25 when they played the web-slinging hero. Still, this isn't unusual: Matthew Broderick was older than high school age when he played Ferris Bueller and Rachel McAdams was too old to attend high school when she was Regina George, so Hollywood movies have a tendency to cast actors who are older than their school roles.

That's why Homecoming promises to be different. Tom Holland, though slightly out of his teenage years, can arguably pass for a high school student, along with Zendaya who is playing Michelle and Laura Harrier who plays Liz Allan. As seen in Civil War, Holland’s Peter Parker holds a teen awkwardness but is secretive about his alter-ego, as well as being caring and smart. We can easily believe that this guy is still in high school.

And let's not forget that this younger Peter Parker makes us feel reallllllllly old – take this hilarious line from Civil War for example.

Director Jon Watts has said that Homecoming will be more like a high school movie than a superhero film

"It’s a straight-up high school movie," Watts tells Time. "It’s about a 15 year old kid. This is the ground level of the Marvel Universe. We know what it’s like to be a playboy billionaire… a Norse God… and now we’ll know what it’s like to have just gone through puberty."

Such honesty from the movie's director will surely make this new Spider-Man that little bit more realistic, as Peter and his friends will be facing real teenage situations such as homework, puberty and saving New York City from bad guys – all before their curfew!

Although the action is what drives the plot for superhero films, the candidness and authenticity of teen flicks is why we connect with that particular genre; we sympathise with characters such as Lloyd Dobler and Kat Stratford because, while not all of us have been superheroes, we’ve all been teenagers.

This iconic photoshoot gives us all the teen movie feels!

This squad pic is obviously in the style of the ultimate cool high school gang: The Breakfast Club. John Hughes’s classic gave us a few of the archetypal teen movie characters that we have come to recognise so easily: the jock, the princess, the nerd, the rebellious one and the weirdo. But where will Peter fit into these stereotypes? We all know Peter Parker is clever, but the teen movie is about to get another character trait: the superhero.

Even star Laura Harrier says that the cast feel like a version of The Breakfast Club. "We constantly refer to ourselves as The Breakfast Club," she tells EW.

Nostalgia, especially 80s nostalgia, is popular at the moment, and fans of movies and TV are really enjoying it. It's no surprise then that Spider-Man: Homecoming will try to capture some of this magic, and the above photoshoot picture has us already wanting more.

The actors are still fun-loving teenagers!

Tom Holland not only acts but dances too (he was Billy Elliot on stage!), while Zendaya is a dancer and singer as well as an actor. The teen movie often blends into musicals, examples being Hairspray, Pitch Perfect and of course High School Musical, so could there be a possibility that Tom and Zendaya break into song?

That seems unlikely for a superhero blockbuster, but there could always be some sort of funky rhythm to the film that makes it current, or it could have a cool soundtrack. There was a Spider-Man musical after all. While we continue to hope that Spider-Man: Homecoming has some type of musical element as well as a teen movie feel, this video of Tom Holland, Zendaya and Deja Carter (Zendaya’s choreographer and best friend) dancing together shows us that the movie's stars are still innocently having lots of fun like teenagers do.

Lastly, this set picture gives us a tease of the high-school setup

Though these pictures are not in front of the classic high-school lockers or inside an American high school classroom, we can still see the backpack worn by Peter Parker’s best friend Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon) and the textbooks Peter is carrying.

The conventions of a high-school setting – books, backpack, bleachers and prom – are major giveaways to the fact it's a teen movie, so this pretty much confirms that this latest Spider-Man reboot will focus more on the fact that Spider-Man/Peter Parker is a student.

He won’t be an established hero like Captain America or Iron Man, who get their powers and suits and suddenly are able to save the whole world. Instead, Peter is still struggling with teen problems along with dealing with his new abilities as Spider-Man. Frankly, it's something we can't wait to see.

What are your favourite teen films? And do you think that Spider-Man will be better as a teen movie and superhero movie combined? Tweet us @Cineworld. Spider-Man: Homecoming is due for release next summer!