They say, “The third time is the charm.”
This is the third reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. And I think that they may have found that charm.
Spider-Man is the iconic creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The comic hit newsstands in September 1962. At the time of the first appearance of Spider-Man, the hero was a kid in high school named Peter Parker.
This new reboot gives us that same setting, but it adds some important elements.
Most important, this new Spider-Man is firmly grounded in Marvel’s storyline with their other characters.
Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man long before Marvel made their own movies. This kept Spider-Man disconnected from the very popular larger Marvel movie storyline previously, but Marvel and Sony made a deal that places this Spider-Man in Marvel’s movie universe.
Another important element is that this Spider-Man appeared in a previous Marvel movie. Spider-Man shows up in “Captain America: Civil War,” and it is from there that this movie takes its start.
We see Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) doing a video blog of how he came to be involved in the action depicted in “Captain America: Civil War.” We learn how he got the suit that he wears: It came to him by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
And it is from here we begin this new story. What is great to me is that this movie leaves out the origin story.
Peter is a bright student at a science- and math-focused high school in Queens, New York. He has all the problems a high schooler has: Peter does not fit in with the other kids and he has a crush on a girl that is seemingly beyond him.
After school he dons his “Spidey” suit and does good deeds in Queens. While doing these good deeds, he discovers something very sinister.
A group of thieves is robbing an ATM location. But they have some equipment and weapons beyond anything seen before: weapons made from the material found after the battle seen in the initial “The Avengers” film.
In the first Avengers movie, the heroes fought a group of aliens with weapons with technology that is more advanced than found on earth.
Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is the person who is behind the appearance of these weapons.
At the beginning, he is just a guy running a salvage business, trying to clean up the mess after the battle.
A government agency comes round and shuts him down, but not before he makes off with some of the weaponry. He develops a suit that allows him to fly and gives him the abilities of a bird of prey.
All of this puts Spider-Man and Toomes on a collision course while in the background, Tony Stark and his aide, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), are trying to keep Spidey on a short leash.
Their limiting of him makes him doubt his ability to face a foe like Toomes, but Spider-Man is a kid whose youthfulness gives him an enthusiasm that keeps him continually moving forward.
I loved this newest version of Spider-Man. Even after three different versions of the character on the screen, there is still freshness here.
Spider-Man works as a character because he is as flawed as any other person. Superpowers do not aid him but make his problems greater.
He is a student in high school, with those issues, but also facing grown men like Toomes and his henchmen. This puts him in situations where he must leave at just the wrong moment if he wants to advance in the high school social order.
Spider-Man is a timeless tale, an archetypal hero, who brings to the screen or the page the battle of living that is the story of the “Everyman.”
I love Spider-Man and I loved this movie.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
Director: Jon Watts.
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.
Cast: Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Michael Keaton (Adrian Toomes/ Vulture), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Marisa Tomei (May Parker).
The movie’s website is here.