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The original Sam Raimi Spider Man series was great (at least 66% of it was). It had fun over-the-top action, charismatic villains (Doc Oc will forever be one of the greatest big screen super-villains), and Tobey Maguire, who seemed like he was born to play the web-slinging hero that we all love so much.  That’s why when the third not-so-stellar film in the trilogy and the follow-up series starring Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) were not nearly as good, fans started to lose hope in the possibility of another phenomenal Spider-Man film. However, fast forward 3 years (from the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and we’re all extremely excited to see Spidey back on the silver screen! Yet, with Spider-Man: Homecoming being the third reboot of the character in about 10 years, what makes this attempt any different from the five films before it?

It all starts with Marvel Studios and the blockbuster deal that brought Spider-Man back into their creative control (within the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Kevin Feige—the mastermind behind the shared universe, which has dominated the film world—and the entire Marvel Studios team have created a winning formula, blending humor with action, which has consistently helped produce movies that are both fun and critically/commercially successful. Marvel Studios has yet to produce a critically panned movie, other than a few hiccups in the beginning. Over the last 10ish years, Marvel has proved its abilities, so much so that a movie about 5 obscure and unknown space heroes and a film about a man who can make himself small have been huge commercial successes. Moviegoers have been waiting for a good Spider-Man film for years and with Marvel at the helm, there is reason to believe that we are finally getting what we’ve been asking for. Yet, Marvel Studios itself couldn’t have generated this much buzz and excitement without finding a replacement worthy enough of filling Tobey and Andrew’s shoes.

When Spider-Man was released in 2002, Tobey Maguire was 26 years old. Andrew Garfield was 28 when The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012. So, it was hard to believe that these men were playing a high school nerd in their respective films. What always made Spider-Man so great in the comics is that he is one of the most relatable superheroes, having to deal with typical high school drama and teen angst, while also fighting crime on the side. It’s hard to relate to a grown man acting as a 17-year-old, especially when he’s supposed to be playing a nerdy high-schooler. Marvel took a different approach to casting Spidey, opting for a much younger Spider-Man who actually feels and looks like the character everyone fell in love with in the comics. If Tobey Maguire was born to play the web-slinging hero, Tom Holland was designed in the laboratory to be the perfect Spider-Man. The second he came on screen during Captain America: Civil War, the 21 year old (as of last month) showed the same kind of humor and charisma that fans have always expected of his character. Although only on screen for about 35 minutes, Spider-Man was arguably the best part of Civil War. He was funny, his action scenes were incredible, he had amazing chemistry with Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, and most importantly, he felt like an actual high school kid who got dragged into a fight between grown men and women that he wasn’t entirely ready for. If there wasn’t already enough faith in Marvel to make a good Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland has proven just what an amazing Spider-Man he is. 

With great power comes great responsibility, and luckily, Marvel and Tom Holland haven gives us, arguably, the best Spider-Man film yet. The critics and fanboys (we’re one of them) seem to agree. 

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