You would be forgiven for thinking that the powers that be had already decided on the new Spiderman for the second reboot of the beloved web-slinger and his introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many movie news outlets were quick to anoint Asa Butterfield a couple of months ago, but all of them were quick to pepper these “stories” with nebulous phrases like, “in the works”, “in discussion” and “about to ink deal”. This is a common and frustrating eventuality in the movie news cycle: intent on breaking the story and generating as much traffic as possible to their site, many of these online outlets throw up garish headlines declaring that so-and-so is involved in such-and-such. Then, when you actually click and read the article, you realize that it is all basically hearsay. This infuriates me. I make a concerted effort not to post any news item until the ink is actually dry on the contract, so now that such a thing has happened vis-a-vis Spiderman, I must say that I am at least a little concerned.
First, I have nothing against Tom Holland at all. I will never be angry at someone who was in Locke. I think he has a great opportunity here, and could definitely knock it out of the park, as he has talent and appears to have true passion for the role. Apprehensively, the same could be said of our last Spidey: Andrew Garfield, and the kindest thing that can be said about The Amazing Spiderman films is that they were subpar. Garfield’s work in The Social Network was much more impressive to me than anything I have seen from Holland, so I don’t feel like the acting talent is going to be particularly informative with regards to the success of the new reboot.
Far more important, in my mind, is going to be the writing and the directing. The biggest reason that the Amazing reboot experiment failed was due to cramming them full of far too much banal filler. The origin story was a pure re-hash, the villains were alternatively bland and confusing, and the story was a surface-level as humanely possible. If this new reboot is to succeed, it will fall squarely on the shoulders of the writing team making us care about the Spiderman story again, and the director (Jon Watts, also part of this announcement) being able to keep a focused, funny tone.
We’ve got a long time before we see this Spidey in full (we’ll definitely get a glimpse during some post-credits tease or cameo in Captain America: Civil War at the very least), but at least now we’ve got some talent assembled. The MCU absolutely needs Spiderman to succeed for this go-around; it can’t afford another subpar reboot while other properties are beginning to show some seams. Hopefully today’s news sets this new franchise on the right track, and we can finally replace the nasty taste of the last three failed Spiderman movies.