It’s been a long time coming. Ever since it was announced that the initially planned threequel The Amazing Spider-Man 3 wouldn’t be going ahead, meaning the departure of the then incumbent of the Spidey suit Andrew Garfield, the speculation machine has been in full motion. Then came the news that really stoked the hype flames – Sony (owners of the rights to the Spider-Man movies) and Marvel (current kings of comic book cinema) would be joining forces to bring Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Finally we found ourselves set to see Spider-Man teaming up with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the gang, with fanboys and girls worldwide trying and failing to keep excitement levels at bay. Huzzah! But, alas, us comic book fans are a vocal bunch. We’d been given the news we all doubted possible for the foreseeable future in cinema, but as the casting process rumbled on – with Asa Butterfield (Hugo) deemed to be the chosen front runner to suit up as Spidey – we speculated over whether he was the man for the job, or whether it was time for a change in direction all together.
Ultimately though it’s The Impossible’s Tom Holland who has snagged the career changing role in a move that has come somewhat out of left field with Butterfield having looked nailed on until recently.
What this means is that for a third time in 13 years we have another white Peter Parker swinging his way onto the big screen. For myself (and many others) who had been vocal in our support of a new take on Spidey, be it Peter Parker, or Miles Morales, the news is somewhat disappointing, but certainly not surprising. Sony/ Marvel it seems were never looking to diversify to the point of hiring a black actor for the role. In fact, leaked Sony emails suggest that the agreement between the two studios states that Peter Parker had to be both white and straight. So a very open minded approach to the casting process there Sony…
Whilst we don’t get the next big step in diversity that had been called for in some quarters, what we do have is a younger version of the Peter Parker character than that we’d seen from both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, and an actor who is considerably younger (19) than any of his fellow Avengers, with the closest age-wise being another newcomer, Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), currently 26 years of age, whilst Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) comes in at the ripe old age of 50. If nothing else, at least it should bring a fresh vibe to the team of mostly middle aged men. He will be making his debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016) which is likely to see Cap and Iron Man going toe to toe, so the wait to see how he fares won’t be too long. I’m almost certain that we can look forward to lots of “old man” jibes from Holland to Downey Jr., and lots of judgey preaching from Captain America, who will no doubt disapprove of “kids fighting wars”.
Besides having the all important attribute of being able to act (see The Impossible), it appears that Holland also has the physicality for the role as well. Being the apparent keen bean that he is the actor has taken to Instagram to post videos of himself performing some genuinely impressive stunts that may or may not have helped him to win the day in the contest for the part. With Sony/Marvel going the route they’re going he’s looking like a good choice on paper, though the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes. What we do know is that we won’t have to suffer through the Spidey origin story for a third time which should allow Holland to be introduced in the role free of the well worn shackles of that particular part of the Spider-Man tale. If Marvel can introduce him as successfully as the likes of Paul Betanny’s Vision or Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, then he at least stands more of a chance of succeeding than Andrew Garfield ever did.
Regardless of which side of the fence you sat on with the casting of the new Spider-Man, it’s fair to assume that every fan is in the same boat of simply wanting the best version of the character possible. We shall wait with bated breath to find if Tom Holland is the right man to take the character forward. My Spider-Sense is telling me that he’ll do an Amazing job (pun intended) – here’s hoping he does, otherwise it could be back to the drawing board for Spider-Man all too soon again.