Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Does whatever a spider can! And apparently what that is is get rebooted every couple of years. We’ve already seen two different versions of the wallcrawler on our screens – four if you count the cheesy-bad 1977 made-for-TV movie and the bonkers Japanese Spiderman (he has a giant mech named Leopardon for no reason at all!) – but with the character finally in the hands of creator Marvel themselves thanks to a groundbreaking co-production deal with Sony, we’re about to get another.
Debuting in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, this new Spider-Man will be played by 19-year old Tom Holland, and will be a much younger, high school iteration of the character than Tobey Maguire was in the three Sam Raimi directed films or Andrew Garfield was in the two Marc Webb directed films. And Civil War co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo (who are very chatty today) certainly put a lot of thought into how to give Spider-Man their own spin. Speaking to ComicBook.com, Joe explains:
“We took a very personal approach to the character, he was my favorite character growing up, so the opportunity to bring Spider-Man to the screen is a dream come true. It’s something that I spent a lot of time thinking about as a kid. We had thought back to the things that excited us about him as a character when we were younger, and one of the most important components of that was that he’s a high schooler burdened with incredible powers and responsibility. That really differentiates him from every other character in the Marvel universe as opposed to other superheroes.
For us, it was extremely important that we cast somebody very close to the age of a high school student. The previous films had adults playing a high schooler. We wanted more of an authenticity to the casting. We were very specific about that. We wanted an energy and charisma from the character, an energy, but also an insecurity that would make him fun to watch in contrast to the confident superheroes.”
Just being younger and in high school is not the only way in which this new version will differ from his predecessors though, there’s also the socio-economic makeup of his world.
“It was also important to us that the actor that was cast feel contemporary because the other films that portrayed where he lived is more… they honored the comic books in terms of the choices. But you go look at the home that Tobey Maguire lived in in Raimi’s Spider-Man was… those were very expensive homes. We wanted to relate it to the reality…”
“The everyman appeal of the character, which is something we’ve always loved”
“A character growing up with his aunt in New York, a single income family… Where would they live? What would that look like? Where could they afford to live? We asked ourselves all those questions. We try to take a very logical and realistic and naturalistic approach to the character. Again, in combination those are all of the things that we try to do, and of course, to bring our own touches, too.”
And that realistic, logical approach is something that Russo’s put on full display in Captain America: Winter Soldier, giving us the most grounded movie in the entire MCU (well as grounded as a man leapfrog a jet while throwing a metal star-spangled frisbee can be). And as Anthony elaborated, that realism is not being thrown out the window in Civil War, despite the addition of more comic-booky characters like Spider-Man.
“I would also add, again, we’re introducing this character in a Captain America movie, if you look at what we did with Winter Soldier with the Cap character in terms of bringing him into the modern world, trying to ground the movie tonally into something that was a step toward real-world, at least to the degree you can do that in a superhero movie, that’s still the tonal universe that we’re playing in in Civil War.
We’re bringing a character…we’re bringing Spider-Man into the movie in that universe, now, in that specific tonal stylistic world. I think underscoring everything Joe was saying about your question in terms of how were we thinking about the character in relation to past interpretations of the character, part of our choices were all so colored by the specifics of the world what we were playing with in these two Captain America movies, meaning Winter Soldier and Civil War. It’s a very specific tonal world. It’s a little more grounded and a little more hard-core contemporary. That was also coloring our choices a lot about the character on Spider-Man.”
That all actually seems to line up with the rumours we heard last year of Spider-Man’s initial costume being a very realistic, very home-made, cobbled together affair that looks unlike anything we’ve seen before. An artist previously did a rendering of what he thinks this new costume could look like based on some very vague descriptions from the rumours, and it certainly is… different.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 already gave us a costume that was about as perfect a translation from comic page to screen that you could ask for, and even Sam Raimi’s initial movies also had very strong influences from the source material, so maybe stepping away from that – at least until he gets his inevitable Avengers costume that will be a lot closer to the iconic look – could be a good thing.
Not that the Russo’s don’t have a massive affinity for the source material and the previous movie versions of the character as well. Just the opposite in fact, according to Joe.
“We’re fans, also. I still go to midnight screenings of movies when they come out. I’m still first in line to buy the new issue of the book. I still have my entire collection in my closet. It takes up entirely too much space in my closet but I’ll never give it up.
These things are really important to us and because we have a history with these characters, all of them, I read almost every comic book character you could think of when I was a kid. I have at least several histories of every character. There’s a deep history that we can draw upon where we had great emotional and strong psychological connection to the characters as a child. We want to reach into that and understand what elementally motivated you to love the character. That’s what we try to bring out in the characters now. There are certain things. We talked about Cap. There are things that bothered me as a kid about him. We tried to correct those things in our interpretation of the character.
I want to be clear. We’re not trying to denigrate other interpretations of Spider-Man. Raimi’s movies are fantastic. Spider-Man one and two are amazing. Two, is one of if not my favorite comic book movie of all time. But he made a very strong choice with those movies from a color palate standpoint to a costume standpoint, execution standpoint, camerawork standpoint to honor the feeling of the comic book. We’re trying to honor the feeling of naturalism and to honor the feeling of reality. The harder we can pull these characters into reality, the better for us, especially because we’re all so connected now through social media, the Internet. We’re all so dialed in to what’s happening in current events. That it’s important for us that these characters live in the world that we live in because it makes them more real and it makes our experience of watching them more passionate and more well-rounded.”
And if it’s even a fraction as good as Winter Soldier was, then I cannot freaking wait. Captain America: Civil War is out on May 16, 2016.
Last Updated: January 12, 2016