4:24pm PT by Graeme McMillan
What 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Trailer Does Right — And Where It Goes Wrong
Photoshop abomination poster aside, promotion for this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming continues to thrill fans by underscoring the difference between the new big-screen wall-crawler and his predecessors, with just one problem: It might be selling the "friendly, neighborhood" thing a little too well.
Watching Tom Holland's excited Peter Parker juggle small-time crime and high school drama in the opening moments of the new trailer, it feels almost disappointing when Michael Keaton shows up as the villain of the piece, as the Vulture. After all, we know what superhero movies — and Spider-Man movies especially — look like when it's the underdog hero versus the Big Bad du jour. But this whole "superhero helping out regular folk, who then buy him food" thing feels fresh and new, by comparison.
Indeed, that one line — "I helped this old lady, and she bought me a churro, so … that was nice" — not only makes this version of Spider-Man feel like more of a "hero for the people" than any of the Netflix shows have managed in their 13-hour seasons of television, it also recalls the work of Hannah Blumenreich, whose unofficial Spider-Man comics have been widely acclaimed by critics for their focus on the man behind the mask — who gets lonely, watches Glimore Girls and just generally tries to do the right thing by everyone, without the attendant melodramatic angst of the "official" version. (Notably, Blumenreich's work was so beloved by critics, it got Marvel to bring her onboard an issue of Amazing Spider-Man earlier this year.)
The version of Peter Parker depicted in the latest Homecoming trailer feels closer to that idea of the character — one who lives up to the idea of a high school kid who feels great responsibility due to his powers yet doesn't know how to live up to them — than any a movie audience has seen before. It's a refreshing change, all the more so because movie audiences are used to heroes with the fate of the world, or at least the city, on their shoulders. The idea of watching a movie that translated the coming-of-age comedy into superhero terms (complete with Iron Man as superhero dad) makes Homecoming more attractive than watching the latest incarnation of "schlub finds the hero within when the chips are down" — which is why the scenes showing the Vulture in action feel so much less interesting than everything else around them.
It's possible that there's a swerve in terms of execution when it comes to the finished movie; certainly, the trailers have been showing more about Peter Parker's personal life rather than Spider-Man in superhero action, which might suggest more of a focus on the man behind the mask than audiences expect. If so, it's a welcome sign that there's something worth seeing in this third take on the Amazing Spider-Man — as opposed to the collection of cliches suggested by the new poster.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released July 7.