The highly anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming is only four days away and this week on Men vs. Movies we are going to be hyping up this movie like it is nobody’s business! Spider-man is one of the greatest superheroes of all time and this is its second reboot since the original Sam Raimi Spider-man movie came out back in 2002 (That was 15 years ago!). This time around, Spider-Man is coming home to Marvel in a collaboration film between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. This is a huge deal because it will hopefully serve as a saving grace for Sony as their Amazing Spider-Man movies did not get the best critical or fan reception, leaving quite a bad taste in people’s mouths regarding the Spider-Man franchise as a whole. The deal was kick-started in Captain America: Civil War where we got to see our first look of Tom Holland as the new Teenage Web-Slinger and it was in no way a disappointment. Although it was only a small taste of what we were to get in this new Spider-Man franchise, it was an awesome and fresh take on this beloved character.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is going to be the official start of the new Spider-Man franchise that will be created by both Marvel and Sony. Featuring a young Spider-Man coming home from the events of Civil War we will get to explore a bit of Peter Parker’s High School psyche and how he is going to begin moving forward from “small-time crime stopper” to “Supervillain combater”. Parker was recruited into Civil War by Tony Stark and upon return home will continue to be mentored by Stark, having to deal with being a kid in the Avenger’s world while also wanting to live up to his role model. You have all seen the trailers by this point and have an idea of what to expect in this web-crawlin’ adventure, but what I want to point out today is that having Robert Downey Jr. reprise his role as Tony Stark in this motion picture is an amazing idea on two accounts. First, the benefits to the story and second, as a marketing tool.
For those of you who did not know Director, Jon Watts, initially desired Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) to be the one to serve as Spider-Man’s mentor throughout the new Spider-Man movie. However, for creative differences, they wound up going with Robert Downey Jr., and I believe this was the correct creative decision. Peter and Tony created a bond in the latest Captain America film and seeing as Nick Fury has been incognito in the MCU lately it wouldn’t make very much sense for him just to show up and mentor the youngest of the Avengers crew (even though Spider-Man isn’t technically in the Avengers just yet). Yes, Nick Fury got this whole Avengers ball rolling and has even been the primary recruiter, but I think that that role is shifting toward Stark now. Iron Man has been around in the MCU longer than anyone, and he seems to still be the most broken and damaged of all the Avengers (especially after Civil War). I think this makes for an interesting dynamic for him to consider taking a hero under his wing. Stark has had one of the most complex journeys throughout his time in the MCU, and this has created interesting relationships between him and all of the other characters. Now he will be taking on a mentor/father role for Peter, which will be very interesting considering the rocky relationship Stark had with his own father.
I not only think that this creative choice was good for the character development of Tony Stark but also an excellent choice for the plot of this Spider-Man movie as well. We have seen a Spider-Man origin story twice now, and I do not think that it is necessary to see it a third time. The act of putting Tony Stark into the Spider-Man universe will allow us to see something different regarding the growth of Spider-Man into a hero, as opposed to the Uncle Ben inspiration of the previous two films. Of course, I hope Uncle Ben's presence is acknowledged (that is pretty much required in any Spider-Man iteration), but I believe that having Tony Stark be the driving force for Peter wanting to be a hero makes the most sense in this particular Universe. You take the oldest, most experienced hero and pair him up with Marvel’s youngest hero and you will have a character striving to impress his mentor, and in doing so, will figuratively have him trying to impress us with this new collaboration that Sony and Marvel are co-creating.
Finally, from a marketing standpoint, the act of having RDJ in this movie is the best possible decision these studios could have made. The reason I say this is because Homecoming is a collaborative project from Sony AND Marvel. By involving the MCU's most recognizable character and actor, you have created a bridge between the Sony and Marvel fans. This bridge will draw people in from both sides of the spectrum, MCU fans and fans that remain faithful to Sony's previous work on the Spider-Man property alike. For precisely that reason, Spider-Man Homecoming may be the highest grossing of the Marvel movies. I personally know a few people that hate the MCU but love how Sony does their Spider-Man films and vice versa. Having Tony Stark and Spider-Man in the same movie pleases both parties, and I believe that is one of the main reasons that these studios decided to put Tony Stark’s Iron Man in Spider-Man Homecoming.
Another reason for Stark's involvement could solely be to show that this is a collaborative effort between the two companies. By showing Stark throughout most of the marketing campaign it is evident that this is not just a Spider-Man world anymore, and that the Avengers are going to be a heavy influence toward the development of Spider-Man as a hero among them. This movie is a literal representation of the fact that Spider-Man has FINALLY come home to Marvel, hopefully creating an excellent merger between Spider-Man fans and fans of the MCU alike.
Overall, I think that this Spider-Man is going to be one of the best iterations of Spider-Man to date as well as an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Robert Downey Jr. may not have the largest role in this movie, but I have no doubt his presence will be known. Even if Stark is featured for all of 5 minutes, the ad campaign has showcased the Tony Stark character prominently, and the studios have done their job in creating the figurative bridge between these two universes. I cannot wait to see this movie, and I hope you all get a chance to check it out this upcoming weekend starting Thursday, July 6th. This is our next step into an even larger Universe, and as long as Marvel keeps pumping out enjoyable, fun, and exciting superhero adventures, I will keep seeing them!