This past weekend, we were invited on a trip to New York City to spend time with the cast and crew of Spider-Man: Homecoming. This was an especially big event for me as a fan of the Webslinger. As someone who has been waiting to see Spider-Man tell his own story while also sharing the spotlight with his fellow Marvel heroes, Homecoming was just one of those films I never thought I’d ever see happen.
Now every Spider-Man fan’s dream has come true. And now that he is a part of the MCU, who knows what will happen to the Webslinger or what kind of Marvel adventures he will go on. But he’ll learn that the road to becoming an Avenger is a long one and he won’t be facing any world-ending catastrophes anytime soon. Instead, he’ll be sticking to being a very Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and below are the top ten things we learned that made this all happen.
1 – Spidey Comes Home
Spider-Man is considered to be the crown jewel of Marvel Comics. While a lot more popular than his fellow Avengers, he really never got his chance to shine due to contract rights. Spidey belonging to Sony, while almost every Marvel hero and villain under the comic book sun belongs to Marvel – aside from Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four, of course.
So in order to reestablish Spider-Man’s reputation, in the cinematic world, a deal was made between Sony and Marvel to share the character. “This is one of those ‘This will never be possible, but let’s dream about it,’ moments at Marvel Studios, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said. Producer Amy Pascal still cannot believe that this is all happening considering it all started with a simple lunch with Feige.
For director Jon Watts, the film opens the doors to bold new possibilities for Spider-Man now that he is in the MCU. “I just tried to approach it as the biggest fan possible,” Watts said. “The opportunity to finally put Spider-Man where he finally belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really, if anything, opened up the doors to all new kinds of stories that we could tell. If anything I think we were being as true as possible as anyone has been ever able to be about Spider-Man and how he fits into this world.”
2 – The Role Of A Lifetime
Tom Holland, who plays the titular Spider-Man, says he could never have imagined being a part of such a huge superhero franchise. “I’ve been so lucky in my career,” Holland said. “I feel like I’ve been in the right place at the right time at every turn. I’ve been so lucky to work with who I consider to be the best of the best and learn from people and every movie has been a different experience for me. I’ve been able to play different characters without having to go too far. Now that I am finding myself, I am looking to go a little bit further.”
The actor says it hasn’t really sunk in yet, the fact that he plays such an iconic hero. And it doesn’t help that he’s reading comic books that have Spider-Man looking almost exactly like him. “It really feels like I am about to wake up and be really disappointed,” Holland said. “But I am very happy here.”
3 – The Godfather and Joining The Marvel Family
Robert Downey Jr. has been a part of the MCU since day one when Marvel Studios released Iron Man in 2008. It has been nearly a decade ever since, and the studio is still making those bold decisions to build upon its current popularity. So imagine the enormous spike in the meter when Spider-Man was finally allowed to play in the Marvel sandbox.
Fans like to think that Downey Jr. is the connective tissue that binds the MCU together. Considering that he has been a part of the franchise since 2008, they would be right, but the actor thinks of it differently. “What happens is, things are presented to me that is really well thought out by folks who have been doing this correctly for a long time,” Downey Jr. said “I go ‘check’ and attempt to take the credit at press conferences. I’m holding this whole thing together. It’s obvious.”
“Amy [Pascal] and Sony have done these iterations of Spider-Man previously,” Downey Jr. said. “They should really do those breakdown kind of boring to read somewhat really important miracles that had to happen to make us sitting here today.”
He added “It really comes down to you has to see the movie to love it. I saw it. I was in it for a little bit. And I saw it, and I honestly loved it. That’s what’s exciting because it’s still working.”
As for Keaton, he wasn’t really familiar with his character’s history, but it was how the character was written that attracted him to the role. “I thought it was inventive and really an interesting way to go,” Keaton said. “I am not really familiar with the lore, so for me, I was really trying to catch up. I thought the simplicity of making this person approachable – it’s timely. Let’s not talk about why it’s timely. It’s really a unique approach and kind of obvious to make this person approachable and have an obvious gripe and argument. I thought it was really well written to simplify it. It was a fun gig.”
Jacob Batalon, who plays Ned Leeds, joked that he knew that this was going to happen. However, he says that he really enjoyed working with Holland and his fellow co-stars, which made the production so much easier. But that didn’t stop him from being the on-set clown.
“The amazing thing about Jacob [Batalon] is that when finished filming and he was done with his part in the film, and he just moved in with me,” said Holland. “I was like ‘Jacob, go home,’ and he lived with me and my best mate for like six weeks, every day, and we just hung out.” Batalon chimed in saying “It’s been great ever since don’t worry about it.”
Zendaya admits that she was a little intimidated to be a part of a film like this on this kind of scale. Though she isn’t a household name, yet, the actress said she suppressed it very well. “I think all of us still feel like it’s a bit of a dream. I don’t know when it’s going to feel real, but it doesn’t feel real now,” Zendaya said. “I don’t mind living in this dream.”
4 – Bringing Back Items From The Set
In an earlier set visit, Batalon and Holland revealed that they would take Tony’s watch and Audi, and when asked what items Downey Jr. would take, he joked “which watch? Which Audi?” But the actor got serious and said that he would take the moment that led to this, home with him. “I mean, you know why this really works? There is something about the initial breaking the story into a concept. Whatever the mood board was for this movie, with all those different tones, it was all creatively inspiring,” Downey Jr. said. “It’s really a creative reinvention of this. What I would take is that moment when the creative actually broke this story and said I think that’s it.’ That ultimately is what you want if it’s executed correctly. That’s what you see on screen and that’s why I love movies. I’m a huge fan of movies and I wonder how do they figure it out to entertain you so well.”
5 – Words of Wisdom
Though most of the film is consists of a young cast, veteran actors Michael Keaton and Robert Downey Jr. says they played on an even playing field and really didn’t have any words of wisdom to offer to their younger counterparts.
“It’s a rough call. We were just talking about this before, every day you wake up everybody is even,” Downey Jr. said. “All the status or experience, it’s all kind of a projection. To me, what makes the movie work is that scene in act three where you realize how high the stakes are with them and I think that was grounded by a master.” He added, “It’s all about having your feet on the ground and realizing you always start at zero MPH every day.”
6 – Parental Guidance
Although the civil war between Iron Man and Captain America is now over, it hasn’t stopped Stark from grooming Peter Parker into a true Avenger. But that does not come without its difficulties. “I think the relationship between the two of us is more interesting from RDJ’s point of view because you suddenly have someone else to think about than Tony Stark,” Holland said. “He really cares about Peter and one of the reasons why he doesn’t want him to become an Avenger is because he doesn’t want the responsibility of something happening to Peter on his conscience.”
So even though Parker believes he is strong enough to be an Avenger, Stark, being the father-figure that he is, believes that Spider-Man still has a long way to go before he becomes a full-fledged avenger. “It’s like a big brother – little brother, dad – son type of situation,” Holland said.
7 – Just Hanging Around (Upside Down)
Because this is Spider-Man’s first standalone film, a lot of the physic-defying moves would need to come from someone who can move like an acrobat. Holland’s background in dancing and gymnastics certainly helped him come in better prepared for the role. But there were times where his skills were overestimated “You can’t really master hanging upside down, it’s not something that I was prepared for. But yeah, my dancing and gymnastics background was so helpful to this project because we were able to do things as Peter Parker that they haven’t been able to do in the past,” Holland said. “That being said, they would over-estimate my skill set. Jon [Watts] would go, ‘can you backflip off that wall and land on that beam?’ and I’m like ‘no Jon, I can’t do that. I’m not that good dude.’
To which, Watts replied, “You forget that you aren’t actually Spider-Man. I’m like, just climb up the wall.”
8 – Are You A Hero Or Are You A Villain?
Best known for playing the DC hero Batman, twice, Keaton now finds himself playing the villain in another superhero franchise. So is there one he prefers more than the other. Not really, according to Keaton “They are both fun. I think actors tend to be drawn towards villainous characters. I mean it’s clichéd, but it kind of tends to be often true when you delve into the dark side, it gets interesting,” Keaton said. “Everyone or most of us had an experience where we’re playing one role and we look at some of those minor roles and go “oh I would love to have a bite out of that,” because it’s just so much fun. I’ve been fortunate enough. I’ve been able to play different things, big parts, little tiny parts. They’re both fun. Both different. One’s more iconic. Sure, you make a hell of a lot more dough playing the big lead guy, but they are both fun.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens on July 7, 2017.