With great power, comes great responsibility… and with every new reboot comes a new title for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Webhead swings into theaters alongside Captain America and Iron Man this summer but his standalone series will open nationwide next year. So what was the official title announced by Sony at Cinema Con? Spider-Man: Homecoming. Lo and behold, I find myself in the minority in championing this title.
As a lifelong spidey fan, and if this title implies what I think it does – Peter Parker trying to balance puberty, schoolwork, supporting Aunt May, and being Spider-Man all while trying to make it to the homecoming dance on time – this is fantastic. It’s almost an aggressively Spider-Man specific title. Iron Man: Homecoming doesn’t have the same ring to it and Hulk: Homecoming would be disastrous (if admittedly hilarious before turning sufficiently dark).
Spider-Man as a character has a baseline simplicity. Peter Parker needs money to support Aunt May. When he’s not helping his aunt, he needs to be focusing on schoolwork. When he’s not drowning in homework, he tries to balance personal relationships with friends. And most importantly, Spider-Man encompasses every path in Peter’s life.
The most interesting Spider-Man stories tie in the great Uncle Ben speech and that mantra conflicting with the surrounding world. Spider-Man movies have the benefit of not needing world-ending or game-changing stakes to fulfill a greater story requirement. The webhead and his cast of supporting characters (who are fundamental parts of his life but who are still slightly untapped potential on the big screen) get involved in stopping crime syndicates and superpowered bank robbers. The Raimi trilogy understood the character doesn’t need to stop a terrorist attack or fight a god.
The final fight in the original Spider-Man takes place in an abandoned/decomposing building and remains the most brutal sequence in the series. Spider-Man 2 – aka the best Spider-Man and the best superhero movie – taps into a doomsday device plot for the finale but it’s still used to personify themes and characters first and foremost (note: Spider-Man also stops the tritium machine from causing ANY severe destruction to the city). For all the flaws Spider-Man 3 has, the climax of the movie involves two assholes, who just really hate Spider-Man, fighting him in a constructing site and it works.
Spider-Man movies have the opportunity to also be minor event films where we check in on this character at random points in his life as a superhero. Tie this into my theory that characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men warrant television series more than big budget movies, and the title starts fitting more snuggly. It’s not as weighty as Spider-Man: REBORN or Spider-Man: The New Avenger but it doesn’t need to be. Spider-Man isn’t amazing. He’s kind of a loser who can’t do anything right, isolates his friends, and makes consistently questionable hobby decisions. He also happens to be a pretty decent guy when the occasion calls for it, i.e. Richard Linklater would be the perfect choice to direct a Spider-Man movie for his initial aimlessness and human sincerity.
If what the title suggests is a story where he has to race to the homecoming dance while villains are the B plot of the movie (please, please, please use the Sinister Six here) this might be exactly the type of Spider-Man movie we’ve been missing.
Featured Image: Sony Pictures