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The New Spider-Man is Who? Diving into Tom Holland and Jon Watts

The New Spider-Man is Who? Diving into Tom Holland and Jon Watts

Are you ready webheads? The world finally knows who their next Spider-Man is going to be and who’s going to be directing him.  Marvel announced on Tuesday that 19-year-old Tom Holland is the next young actor set to put on the red and blue tights and up-and-coming director Jon Watts is the man pegged to sit in the director’s chair. But if you feel anything like we do, then those names really don’t mean much yet.

We wanted to learn more about these two relative unknowns. What is Tom’s acting style? How will he bring Spider-Man to life? What can we expect the next Spider-Man film to look and feel like with Jon Watts at the helm? There’s not much to work with, but we went ahead and analyzed each of these new faces and their growing bodies of work to pinpoint just the type of Spider-Man we can expect, come 2017.

tom holland

Image Credit: Tom Holland/IMDB

Let’s first take a look at Tom Holland. We know he’s Peter Parker, and we know that he’ll be connecting with the Avengers at some point in the near future. Those have basically been confirmed since day one. He fits the bill, look-wise. The big key factor here: his age. He’s the youngest actor to portray the webslinger to date, and he brings a more youthful approach that we haven’t seen yet.

Because let’s face it: Tobey Maguire’s attempt at bringing Peter Parker to high school looked more like a revival of Billy Madison than a believable high school student. And even though Andrew Garfield brought the age factor down a couple of notches, he definitely didn’t look like a teenager. Holland is still in his teens, so if we’re going to get an authentic feeling Peter Parker high school story, this one actually makes perfect sense. Kevin Feige announced months ago that they were pursuing actors for a high-school story, and rumors have suggested that Peter will stay in high school throughout a number of films. Tom Holland has the youth and acting skills to boot. His relatively young acting career has already landed him praise for his role opposite Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts in 2012’s The Impossible. If you need convincing, watch this scene. On the horizon, you can catch Holland opposite Thor himself (Chris Hemsworth) in Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea. The kid’s got chops, and he’s getting attention for it.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Holland’s career is the fact that he’s a trained dancer and has already been showing off his acrobatic abilities on Instagram. Will this mean Spidey’s apt to be an acrobat? A Parkour enthusiast? Something else entirely modern? Mayhaps. But hey, we’ll settle for anything that makes this new Spidey jump off the page (both literally and figuratively).

Then there’s the question of source material. What version of Spider-Man can we expect from Holland and Watts? Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man story definitely felt influenced by the Ultimate Spider-Man storyline at least to a degree, whether by the more tech-centric stories or just the overall trendier aspects of Peter’s life. Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s version of Spidey seemed like more of a nod to the classic Spider-Man roots. It seemed to pay tribute to the original Spider-Man stories and origins, and depicted Peter as the more recognizable bumbling nerd version of Peter Parker with which most comic readers are familiar.

But then there’s the big question: how will Spider-Man’s story intertwine with the Avengers? We could theoretically see some sort of influence from the Disney XD cartoon, Ultimate Spider-Man, in which a high school age Spidey has to “audition” for his role in S.H.I.E.L.D. Regardless of the source material, in most cases Spider-Man has to evolve and mature a bit before Nick Fury and the big guys give him the thumbs up to join the team.

JON WATTS

Image Credit: Jon Watts/IMDB

As for the feel of the film, we did some digging into Jon Watts’ past and upcoming films. As we’ve seen from Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and even Iron Man, the director’s voice often has as of a much say in the success of a film as the cast. So, let’s bring up IMDB shall we? Taking a look back at Jon Watts’ history, one thing stands out to us in particular. Not the action, not the horror, but the comedy — and levity is the sugar and spice that differentiates Marvel from other superhero fare. Jon Watts has worked on several episodes of the satirical journalistic news show, The Onion. Which means Spidey has the potential to be a more snarky, hilarious, lovable hero than his past iterations. While Webb and Garfield’s take on Spidey definitely delved into the sarcastic side, the heavier moments ultimately made the films feel a bit too heavy. Hopefully Watts can find a better balance.

Then there’s the question of action. Taking a look at the trailer for Watts’ upcoming film, Cop Car, it would seem like we can rest easy there as well. Cop Car is already drawing comparisons to the films of the Coen Brothers, which is a good thing in our book, as the direction of action and violence is key in any good superhero film. His ability to handle and direct young actors is clearly evident (the cast is young), and the balance of fun and intense looks promising.

Ultimately, Watts and Holland are two big pieces of a puzzle that still has quite a lot of rounding out to do. We still don’t know who the villain will be or who will fill out the supporting cast. Rumors have pegged Matthew McConaughey as the next Norman Osborne, but that’s about all we’ve heard on that front. And then there’s that question of whether Peter might have a run in with Tony Stark or any other familiar faces in the new series. With so many questions left unanswered, the best we can do at this point is speculate. For the meantime, it would seem that the future of Spider-Man looks like it’s in safe hands. All of us Spidey fans can now take a few moments to breathe.

 

Image Credit: Cristian Bortes/Wikimedia

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