Disclaimer: This post discusses information from trailers and other promotional material for upcoming superhero films. It also engages in speculation about the events of these films. If you want to go into these movies with absolutely no prior notions, read no further.
If you like your comic book movies, it has been a gleeful twenty-four hours for you. Marvel Studios released the Doctor Strange trailer, and it was a woozy doozy. At CinemaCon (the official convention of USA’s National Association of Theater Owners) in Las Vegas, Warner Bros chairman Kevin Tsujihara finally made official the Ben Affleck solo Batman film that we have all been taking for granted anyway. But also at the same convention came my favourite bit of superhero news from the last two days: the next Spider-Man film will hit theaters on July 7, 2017, and it will be called Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman made the revelation on stage, in what he called his ‘Steve Jobs move’. The Internet is already abuzz with mostly excited chatter about the title, and I share that sentiment. So what makes this the best-titled superhero flick since Batman Begins?
Let’s begin with the obvious cheekiness. Following a complex series of trades, the movie rights to Spider-Man ended up with Sony in the 1990s. This enabled them to later produce the Sam Raimi trilogy that in fact was the genesis of the present-day boom in superhero movies. Over the last decade, Marvel Studios has become the undisputed kingpin of the genre, successfully cultivating their Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America properties among others. However, the jewel in the Marvel Comics crown, Spider-Man, remained with Sony. This finally changed last year with the revelation of a licensing agreement between the two studios that would allow Marvel to integrate Spidey into their cinematic universe, with Sony still retaining ultimate ownership and creative control. While Sony’s original Raimi trilogy starring Tobey Maguire is a wondrous classic, the subsequent Marc Webb-Andrew Garfield films were a step down. Make no mistake, with his return to Marvel Studios, Spidey is back where he belongs: home.
That’s the most romantic interpretation, anyway. The ‘homecoming’ could also reference the younger version of Spider-Man we will be seeing this time around. Since Peter Parker is still a teenager here, the title could presumably reference the alumni events that are part of American high school culture. Perhaps the rest of the Avengers symbolize the older ‘alumni’ here? (In case you didn’t know, Spider-Man will first be seen with the Avengers in next month’s Captain America: Civil War) In his speech at CinemaCon, Tom Rothman confirmed the high school angle, but also enigmatically added that “Peter Parker is trying to find his way home.” For what it’s worth, there was also an actual comic book with the same title – The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (1984) was titled ‘Homecoming’, and featured Spider-Man returning to New York City in a recently acquired ‘Venom’ costume. However, there’s no reason yet to believe the film will be a direct adaptation of that storyline.
Personally, I can’t wait for this film. Spider-Man has been one of my favourite superheroes since I was a child, and everything I’ve heard about the new reboot has been exciting – from the casting, to that goosebump-inducing moment in the Civil War trailer, to the vibrant logo that was released today. Marvel gets it, man. Adapting Spider-Man faithfully is a Great Responsibility, and I’m glad a Great Power is doing it.