Spider-Man: Homecoming takes the title hero back to high school, something that the previous movies tended to gloss over. Director Jon Watts has explained why this focus was important to the narrative of the movie, as well as explaining what source material he looked at to get inspiration for his movie.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Watts explained that he wanted to take advantage of Peter Parker’s younger age in the Marvel Cinematic Universe compared to other adaptations (which skipped over Peter’s life in high school in favor of getting him out on his own). Naturally, going into further detail about Peter Parker’s status as a high school student could help highlight the difference between it and his more thrilling status as a superhero:
“There was a really great setup already, just that he was going to be 15 and stay 15. All the other movies, they start with him in high school and then they quickly get past that. I always thought that was potentially one of the most fascinating parts. That time of a superhero who’s 15 years old. So, to be able to explore that and also to have the ability to place him in the Marvel universe, that completely opened up a whole new perspective.”
Peter’s age also sets him apart from the other superheroes in the setting, as most of them are in their twenties, thirties, or forties (something especially notable since in the previous movies, Spider-Man was presented as being the only superhero in the entire setting). Since the original run of The Amazing Spider-Man was pretty quick to get Peter out of high school sooner than most people remember, Watts mentioned that the original run from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had a huge influence on his movie’s narrative:
“They did it to give a young person’s, a regular guy’s perspective, essentially, on this superhero universe that they’d been building. Because of crazy rights issues, they’ve never been able to do that in the movies. Spider-Man has always been totally alone in the world of superheroes. And so, to be able to place him in the Marvel universe felt like, if anything, like the actual, true essence of Spider-Man… I got inspiration from everything, I read as much as I possibly could but I particularly enjoyed the very early run, when it was fresh. I felt like that’s what [Spider-Man: Homecoming was] returning to: Spider-Man being a regular guy’s perspective on this world of superheroes. That’s why he was introduced and that’s what made him such a hit right away. One of the first things he tries to do is go and join the Fantastic Four, in the comics, and he doesn’t do it because they don’t pay.”
While it seems unlikely that Spider-Man will get to meet the Fantastic Four in a film, one has to keep in mind that Spider-Man appearing in the MCU at all was considered equally unlikely prior to 2015. Tangent aside, it seems like we’ll get some great stories of Spider-Man as an adult way down the road, but for now, it’s best that they take things slowly.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017. The film features a cast that includes Tom Holland as Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Zendaya Coleman as Michelle, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Tony Revolori as “Flash” Thompson, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan, Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz (Shocker), and Michael Chernus as Phineas Mason (Tinkerer). A sequel is planned for release on July 5, 2019.