Questions about the new re-reboot of Marvel’s iconic webslinger Spider-Man, to be released on July 28, 2017, have been piling up ever since the project was confirmed in early February. Will Drew Goddard direct the picture? Will the creators continue to depict Spidey as a jive-turkey caucasian? What’s the deal with the studio’s weird insistence on send the Webhead back to his high-school years? What music will Spidey dance to when he gets possessed by an alien symbiote, resulting in extreme moodiness? Why can’t it be “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band? Fair questions, all of them.
A new interview on Collider with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has provided an answer to one of those questions. The interviewer, Adam Chitwood, failed to inquire about the status of KC and the Sunshine Band licensing agreements, but did get Feige to elaborate on the questionable choice to place Spider-Man back in his teen years. He explained it thusly:
“We want to play with Spider-Man in the high school years because frankly there’ve been five Spider-Man films and the amazing thing about it is, even though there’ve been five Spider-Man films, there are so many things from the comics that haven’t been done yet. Not just characters or villains or supporting characters, but sides to his character. The most obvious being the ‘young, doesn’t quite fit in’ kid before his powers, and then the fella that puts on a mask and swings around and fights bad guys and doesn’t shut up, which is something we want to play with and we’re excited about.”
“I think it was midway through the first film that he graduated high school. At the beginning of the second Marc Webb film, he graduated high school. And some of my favorite Spider-Man arcs and Spider-Man stories, he’s in high school for a lot of it. We want to explore that. That also makes him very, very different from any of our other characters in the MCU, which is something else we want to explore: how unique he is when now put against all these other characters.”
When Feige puts it like that, the choice almost makes sense. But that’s the thing about superhero movies: The best part of the film is usually the section after the hero gets his or her powers. Spider-Man’s plenty of fun already! He will not benefit in any significant way from extended sequences illustrating his puny human life as a gawky outcast.
If we must have yet another origin film for Spidey, the third in 15 years, then why shouldn’t the slower bits be kept to a minimum? Peter Parker’s struggle to reconcile his secret life of vigilante justice with the eminently relatable tribulations of teenagerhood made the original run of comic books into an instant hit, speaking directly to the lived experience of its readers. But an excess of footage showing where Spidey came from sounds like a bit of a drag.