Over the past month, we have been treated to new trailers for three of the big five comic book movies set to release this year with Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Wonder Woman and most recently Justice League.
Today we got our fourth new trailer of the group, a new official story trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming set to release on July 7 as Peter Parker's official feature length introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the longtime and devoted fan base for the wall-crawler that went nuts over the 10 to 20 minutes that he appeared in Captain America: Civil War, there's a clear sense of concern and cautious optimism for this movie since it is in fact the character's second reboot in five years with a new actor, this time with Tom Holland playing the classic superhero.
Sony has made $3.97 billion over five Spider-Man movies, three with Tobey Maguire in the role and the last two with Andrew Garfield. Not a single one of those movies, even The Amazing Spider-Man 2, grossed less than $709 million worldwide. Spider-Man has a more than viable fan base and they are clearly willing to make whatever version of the character's story that is put on screen work, even if it means dealing with Topher Grace's "That's 70's" Venom, or Jamie Foxx's "Itsy Bitsy Spider taunting" Electro. Even the worst Spider-Man movies have brought the fans out, there's no question about that.
So why does this new trailer feel like Marvel Studios is nervous as hell about Spider-Man: Homecoming? For starters, it seems to confirm even further what is my worst fear for the movie: Tony Stark is going to take over ANOTHER MCU movie. Yes, it makes perfect sense for how they used him to introduce Peter Parker in Civil War that Stark would continue to mentor him afterwards even in his solo movie, but we're well into Phase 3 of the MCU and it's starting to feel like Robert Downey Jr. is the entire franchise, or at least THE focal point of it. He was in a good chunk of the first trailer for this movie and now he's in even more of this trailer, including a shot where he is openly helping Spider-Man save a ship from sinking as Iron Man, right before scolding him for putting people in danger. Now it's possible and maybe even likely that those scenes aren't directly connected, but since they've arranged them that way in the trailer it sure seems like they are.
About the trailer structure itself......I'm surprised that very few people have complained that it gives away too much of the movie, because you get the feeling while watching it that we are seeing the entire plot of it right before our eyes. It's the journey of Peter Parker yet again which is fine, and he's clearly eager to be an Avenger especially on the heels of his adventure in Civil War, but Stark is constantly telling him he's not ready for it and that he should let those who are ready be the ones to deal with this new enemy, Vulture played by Michael Keaton. In the process, Parker doesn't totally listen and appears to put lives in danger when trying to save the day, leading Iron Man to come help him out and then ask for his suit back, proclaiming that if he's nothing without the suit then he shouldn't have it, which leads Parker on a redemptive journey to prove himself ultimately again.
That in itself is a pretty solid story to fit in with the rest of the MCU to this point. It blends in very well with what happened in Civil War, and Vulture's premise of being a disgruntled blue collar worker that is angry about what people like Stark are getting away with is not a bad idea either.....except there's Stark again becoming the center motivation of a movie that isn't his own and now he appears to be stealing one of Spider-Man's classic villains. Again, it works for what the MCU has built to this point, especially in terms of FINALLY building upon an emotional arc with Stark that continues from his "we need to be put in check" sanctimony he was all about in Civil War, but you have to wonder how much of Tom Holland's title character is going to be centralized to the story. It really feels like through two trailers now that he's splitting time with Stark the whole way through, similar to what just happened with Stark and Captain America in Civil War last year.
I don't want to that be the case at all and I'm really just hoping that this is Marvel Studios being nervous about Holland's first time out as a superhero lead and they are just putting all of the RDJ scenes in the trailers to get the fans into the theaters. The thing is, if that's the case then why do they think it's even necessary? The numbers on Spider-Man movies historically prove that his fans WILL support the movie even if it's bad, and the vaunted benefit of the doubt that we have been told the MCU has earned to this point should take care of the rest, right? Why be nervous? Why not just let Holland's performance speak for itself without putting such a heavy marketing focus on Tony Stark?
The trailer didn't "look" bad by any stretch. There are definitely some action packed moments, Keaton's Vulture looks potentially menacing for sure with that gravelly-edged voice of his that can chill you right down to your bones, the CGI looks to be on point with Spidey's suit and his character movements and Holland is certainly going to have his moments to shine without question. You just hope that we haven't seen the best parts of this movie already in the trailers and that Stark doesn't take everything over, like he has already a number of times in the MCU.
So in the end, I would call it a decent second trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it definitely appeared to give away a ton about the plot, still had way too much Iron Man and there wasn't anything essentially "new" that we hadn't seen before. The CGI looked great and some of his new toys look awesome, but there's no standout cinematography or crafty editing to see as of yet and the "assembly-line" color grading certainly continues as this is yet another ARRI Alexa recorded production. If you're looking for another movie that slides perfectly into the episodic structure of the MCU, then you have little if anything to worry about with this new trailer.
I will of course, still be front and center to see it in July regardless of how underwhelmed I might be from these trailers, but I will admit that I don't feel the same way about Spider-Man: Homecoming as I did about the previous five Sony Spider-Man movies going into them. There was a magic and a spark about all of those in terms of the promise they made to the audience that just doesn't feel the same anymore, and I'm sure some people will consider that a good thing as they want Spider-Man to become fully entrenched in the MCU, and with good reason. I just hope they realize that with admission into the MCU not only comes franchise stability, but also the weight of becoming just another cog in the now giant and ever-growing episodic MCU machine......seemingly with Robert Downey Jr. in charge of it.