There’s a nod to the upside-down kiss in the first Sam Raimi movie. There are nods to far more besides. But this MCU version takes Spiderman in a new direction relative to both Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s incarnations – different school friends, different villains, less quipping, more awkwardness, and a younger Aunt May in Marisa Tomei.
The beauty of this movie is that as a standalone, it would have suffered as the Garfield Spiderman suffered. With the added guidance of Tony Stark, Happy, and The Cap (described as a war criminal) among others, Marvel breathes new life into the Spiderman story.
Things have been spun so differently in this vision of Spiderman that a sequel could easily jettison the superheroes and villains in the Avengers – and it’s a great story on a par with Raimi’s original trilogy.
James Bond’s Moneypenny has been introduced in Daniel Craig’s movies in a similar manner to a potential love interest in this Spiderman. (However, the people behind this movie swear that the name reveal is just a bit of fun and a coincidence.)
Jon Favreau, occasional helmer for Marvel, plays Tony Stark’s driver as always, and effective (although ineffective) babysitter to 15-year-old Peter Parker. He’s avoiding the teenager’s calls. Tony tells Peter to not do anything that he would do. But Peter stumbles upon a criminal enterprise that could jeopardise Stark Industries and create global havoc.
Critics have suggested that there is too much comedy. But the humour here is light and playful, the comedy of Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, to cite two examples, far more lavish. Spiderman tries to be a wisecracker; too often his awkwardness betrays him. And it works. It sits well in the MCU, and it’s a pleasant surprise to say this is a strong addition to both the Spiderman and Marvel opus.