The third and final trailer for the third (and hopefully final) Spider-Man reboot debuted today, and it revealed some horrifying, soul-crushing details about the nature of Spidey’s new suit.
Unlike past iterations, where Spider-Man’s suit was primarily a means to conceal Peter Parker’s true identity, the suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming is essential to Spider-Man’s efficacy as a crimefighter.
Gifted to Parker (Tom Holland) by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), the suit is a piece of space-age technology that rivals Stark’s Iron Man getup. It comes with its own A.I. personal assistant that informs Spider-Man how best to use his myriad web-slinging maneuvers, as well as additional gadgets—such as a parachute and surveillance drone—that are sure to make Batman jealous.
And this sucks.
For two reasons:
- It reduces Spider-Man to yet another technology-dependent superhero.
- It robs him of much of the self-reliance and individuality that fans like me so enjoyed.
A large part of Spider-Man’s appeal is his transformation from mega-nerd to superhero. He has a chance encounter with a radioactive spider, and suddenly, he’s blessed with superhuman strength, the ability to grasp onto and scale walls and extrasensory perception (his so-called “Spidey sense”). All of which allows him not only to stand up to schoolyard bullies, but also to protect New York City from billionaire supervillains.
Better yet, his powers are entirely his. Only Peter Parker could be Spider-Man, because only Parker underwent the drastic genetic transformation that gave him his gifts. Whereas with this iteration, he’s just the lucky recipient of Tony Stark’s largesse.
Spider-Man’s relationship with technology has long been a polarizing subject in the world of Spidey fandom. The original comic-book version of Spider-Man didn’t generate his webbing organically, for instance. Rather, Parker used his scientific prowess to construct “a pair of artificial web-shooters that attached to his wrists,” according to Marvel’s official wiki page on the character. He was part superhuman, part engineering genius.
But subsequent renditions broke from canon, probably because Marvel realized it was sad when Spider-Man had to pause mid-fight so he could change out his web cartridges. Instead, Parker shot spider-silk directly from his wrists, a physical ability he developed as part of his arachnid genetic mutation.
But even when Spider-Man had technical assistance, it came only in the form of small, web-shooting bracelets. This upcoming version makes Spider-Man no different from his mentor, Iron Man.
And this sucks, because Spider-Man was one of the last distinct superheroes. Hollywood is hell-bent on turning every comic book protagonist into an overwrought gritty antihero. But that only works for certain characters—e.g., Batman and Wolverine. Spider-Man’s charm is that he maintains his innocence, even in light of his tragic upbringing—an optimistic teenager endowed with remarkable physical skills.
But with this latest update, he’s just another guy in a suit.