As mentioned in the title, SPOILERS FOR SPIDERMAN NWH WILL BE DISCUSSED throughout this article. Also, this is not a review but rather an exploration into my experience leading up to and after watching the movie.
Let me begin by stating that I forgot how much I love Spider-Man as a character. In fact, I forgot that he is my favorite superhero of all time. The Dark Knight trilogy of the last decade fooled me into believing Batman was the hero I needed. In reality, It’s been Peter Parker all along. While I do enjoy the Batman movies quite a bit, Spiderman NWH brought out a feeling in me that I haven’t felt in a long time: a childlike level of wonder and excitement.
The buildup to the release of the film had me like a kid on a playground discussing rumors and gossip about movies and video games with his friends. “Will Tobey and Andrew make an appearance? I hope it’s not a two second cameo! They have to fit the Spider-Men pointing at each other meme in there somehow, right?” All these little questions that nobody could definitively answer had me so unbelievably giddy. I’ve watched multiple superhero movies since childhood and, while I enjoyed the action, my heart wasn’t in it. I thought it was a piece of me that I left behind in childhood. Boy was I wrong. The right movie just needed to come along to rekindle my joy in this character.
Spider-Man NWH was that movie for me. I needed a grown up peter that I could relate to. I needed a guy who has experienced true heartache and loss. A guy who struggles to pay rent and feels alone. This movie finally gave us a true origin story for our current Spidey. I realize why I didn’t fully appreciate Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man. I didn’t understand his motivation for being Spider-Man. He sort of popped out of nowhere and started fighting crime. The previous installments of the franchise stuck to the source material and saw Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s characters fight through the pain of the loss of their Uncle Ben, due to their own wrongdoing. Tom Holland’s character just felt bare. It was missing heart, I thought.
The Best Story So Far?
I’ve come to the realization that this may be the deepest version of Spider-Man yet. He’s had to deal with letting other’s down constantly throughout high school. He’s had to carry the burden of hiding his true identity and dealt with the hatred after his identity was revealed. Finally, he has to deal with loss. Not Uncle Ben, but his Aunt May. The person who has been there for him through it all. He had older, experienced Spider-Men to lead him down a better path than they took. To keep him from repeating their mistakes.
The reveal of Tobey Maguire (My Spidey!) and Andrew Garfield got my cheering like crazy, but they weren’t the stars in the end. They weren’t supposed to be. This wasn’t a Spider-Man: Through the Years Reunion. While the excitement of possibly seeing Tobey don his web slinger suit after nearly 15 years brought me to the theatre on opening night, actually seeing he and Andrew is not what made me love this film. They weren’t there for fan fare alone. They were there to teach a kid to avoid their mistakes. This was not a rehashing of the prior films. It was its own story. Sure there were some not-so-subtle winks to the viewer hinting about films of the past, but it was not overwhelmingly in your face. That is why the nostalgia was done right. It brought us together to appreciate this new generation. It was a passing of the torch that felt well-deserved. He earned it. I can appreciate Tom’s Spider-Man so much more.
My experience with this movie has made me realize and accept my nerdiness. It has made me happy to be who I am. I can’t wait to explore my newfound love of superheroes again.
Don’t forget! With great power, comes great responsibility. We’ve all got something special about us. It might just take some time to find it.