5 Ways to Prep - Spider-Man Homecoming
By George Rose
July 9, 2017

Just hanging out on the Washington Monument. How about you?

I’ve written several versions of this article already and have come to a now rather obvious conclusion: Spider-Man is incredibly hard to adapt and discuss. Considering that Homecoming is Sony’s third attempt at the character, this should seem obvious. Spider-Man is a legend of both comic books and cinema alike. The way Spider-Man must walk on eggshells through his life as he juggles high school drama while saving the world, this is how we must treat the character. Since the new film is ditching the origin story all together, I too will attempt to ignore a lengthy introduction and try to get right to the good stuff.

The Spider-Man cinematic journey is one that many know, in large part due to the amount of different box office records the series broke. The original trilogy took the biggest opening weekend title TWICE, while the second version of the series… umm… existed. Disney buys Marvel, Sony begs Marvel for help, Marvel rules the world, so on and so forth. It’s as classic and boring a story as telling you that Peter Parker’s parents died, then his uncle dies, growing up is hard, with great power comes blah blah blah.

Basically, Spider-Man is now part of the untouchable MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and that’s all that matters. Actually, the reviews matter. Oh, they’re currently 93% positive? I still don’t know why anyone doubts the golden touch of Marvel. Spider-Man’s cinematic history and origin story are a thing of the past with Marvel’s sights set squarely on next year’s Avengers: Infinity War. I am 100% okay with the domination Disney has on my life right now and would be honored to sing their praises. So sit back, relax and listen to me obsess over Spider-Man.

1) The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Homecoming isn’t the first time Spider-Man has been rebooted. That honor goes to The Amazing Spider-Man back in 2012. After Sam Raimi’s original trilogy ended with a whimper in 2007, Sony took a few years and a few of Hollywood’s newest superstars in the making (Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone) and updated their classic character. This time, Spidey went back to his roots and his web cartridges, something the original films ignored. Though I understand wanting Peter Parker to be able to spin his own web, like a spider would, this is not the case in the comic books and takes away from some of the tension the character experiences when battling the supervillains of NYC. If he can’t spin web then he is without most of his powers.

Since Homecoming is ignoring the origin story all together, The Amazing Spider-Man might be the closest origin you’ll get to this new Marvel version of the character. In the new film, web cartridges make their triumphant return, along with a whole new treasure chest of weapons incorporated into the suit (courtesy of Tony Stark). Though The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t as loved as the 2002 origin story, it does give Peter Parker’s parents (and their death) a bigger part in the Spider-Man mythology. It didn’t fly so well with critics or audiences, but I rather enjoyed Sony’s attempt at making Peter’s parents a couple of bad asses who, in their own way, tried to save the world just like their son. It’s an interesting version of the classic Spidey tale but also serves as a reminder of why Sony had to go web-crawling back to Marvel. It wouldn’t hurt to see a not-so-great version of the character before the new film to help reset your expectations. Let’s be honest, broken records aside, the original trilogy still claims the honor of having one of the greatest blockbuster sequels of all time. Can the new film possibly be better?

2) Spider-Man 2 (2004)

More often than not, sequels are a letdown. This was not the case with Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi’s stellar follow-up to one of the greatest superhero movies ever. The bad guy was badder (Dr. Octopus), the action was crazier (OMG that fight on the train), the drama was sadder (Mary Jane is engaged to someone else), the stakes are higher (those damn Osborns) and Peter’s stress has never been more debilitating; he literally can’t shoot his web for a good portion of the film after suffering from what I like to call Web-rectile Disfunction. Though it was an interesting plot device, it ultimately doesn’t belong in a movie that should never have had Peter’s web come directly from the little tattoo jizz stains on his forearm.

Since Homecoming is neither a sequel nor a reboot, it’s tough to compare. As a reboot, it needs to aim higher than The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2. Since Homecoming is sort of a sequel to Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man 2’s legendary sequel status might be asking too much. From what the reviews currently say, Homecoming is the second best Spider-Man movie ever after Spider-Man 2 and one of the best superhero movie in years. Being “the best” only lasts for so long, but I’ll take the early word as a positive sign we have a winner on our hands. There never should have been a doubt about that because 1) Marvel doesn’t make bad movies and 2) Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was already received well by critics and audiences just last year.

3) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

There have been almost 20 films in the MCU and it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to watch all of them. That week-long task is reserved for any time a movie starting with Avengers comes out. For now, there’s only one MCU movie you need to catch up on. Given the amount of money it made, it’s safe to assume you’ve seen Civil War. If not, here’s a quick recap: Captain America and Iron man have conflicting ideologies and, as a result, have a superhero civil war. Captain America believes heroes should have more freedom and Iron Man says they should fight within the laws the governments of the world are okay with.

Though the plot isn’t too likely to spill over into Homecoming, Civil War is where Spider-Man makes his first MCU appearance and establishes his relationship with Tony Stark, a prominent character in Homecoming. Since we’ve already seen Spider-Man do Spider-Man things in the first two versions of the franchise, it will be nice to see a Tony Stark’s steroid-injected Spidey super suit! Fans of the cartoon shows will finally get to see the higher-tech Spider-Man we all love in animated form, a version not yet seen on the big screen. I don’t want to spoil the possibilities of Spider-Man’s strongest suit yet by recommending you watch one of the cartoons, but I do recommend you prep for Peter’s relationship with Stark by catching up on Civil War.

4) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC)

No, I’m not recommending the crappy sequel to the unnecessary reboot. This isn’t even the best video game version of the character. It is, however, the one you’ll have the easiest access to playing. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is currently available on Xbox One and PS4 for ONLY $20! I just bought myself a copy in preparation for Homecoming and have been having fun ever since. It’s not a great game, but it is a Spider-Man game, and with modern systems taking full advantage of the “open world” gameplay it’s never been a better time to swing through the streets as your favorite superhero. I’m sure you’ve wasted $20 on worse and had less fun doing it. For beach bums like me, you spend more than that every time you play games on the boardwalk and rarely walk away having won a prize. In the end, $20 is a small price to pay to get to wear Spider-Man’s suit for a few hours on the next rainy summer day while getting pumped to see Homecoming.

5) Music Video: “Replay” by Zendaya (2013)

Peter Parker’s most famous comic book love is Mary Jane, featured in the original Spider-Man trilogy. His second most famous love interest is Gwen Stacy, botched in Spider-Man 3 and attempted as the main love connection in The Amazing Spider-Man movies. Since those two women have already had their time to shine and Marvel wants to focus the story on Peter Parker, neither famous crush is making their way into Homecoming. Instead, there are two new potential leading ladies that audiences are aware of that could steal Peter’s heart. Based on the commercials and trailers, we know there is Liz (the pretty and cool biracial girl) and Michelle (the frumpy and awkward Latina, I think). Based on my obsession with movies and comic books, I’m going to assume Peter has a crush on Liz because she’s popular but ends up with Michelle because she’s the friend. Maybe not in this movie, but definitely in the end.

With that being said, we should get to know Zendaya, the starlet who plays Michelle. In the trailers, she looks like a teenage drug addict with her strung out hair and makeup-less glare burning a hole of disdain into Peter’s face. It wasn’t until I Googled the actress that I learned she was once a Disney TV star who, naturally, then released a music CD in 2013. The only single to be released from that album was “Replay,” and while I may not know Zendaya I do know that song. I remember gyrating to it in the car when it was on the radio despite having no idea who sang it. After finding her music video, I came to learn a few things; the first is that Zendaya is extremely talented and the second is that she is GORGEOUS! I am officially now Team Michelle when it comes to Peter Parker and have Zendaya on my radar as a star on the rise to watch out for.

And with that, my friends, you are ready for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Check back next week to hear me obsess over the Planet of the Apes franchise. The latest film is already receiving some very positive early reviews, teaming up with Spider-Man to help prove that not all franchises/sequels/reboots suck. It’s a good time to be a fan of movies and I look forward to helping you prep for next week’s winner.