This movie manages to embody the tone of the central character, AND make me believe that the central character really is the Spiderman that I know and love. It’s not grim-dark, or silly (well, I mean, it *is* silly but it’s *Spiderman* silly). I really enjoyed it, and would happily watch it again. And while nothing is perfect, I felt like this movie did a wonderful job of portraying a Spiderman with hope and integrity, and without the angst that seems like such a big component of so many other Marvel movies.
I’m not saying I don’t love the angst, but there’s something refreshing about seeing Spiderman so relatively free of it. Maybe Peter will grow into it in the future, but that can take its own time.
Also, while I still want to see a Spiderman movie about Miles Morales (which the internets tell me has been teased by an easter egg I missed), I was impressed by the fact that this movie managed to feel inclusive in a way that other Marvel movies have not. Maybe I shouldn’t be that impressed. The other Marvel movies, after all, haven’t exactly been bastions of inclusion. But I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the movie’s high schoolers. Honestly, anything else would have been jarring, so it’s good they didn’t screw it up.
There’s a big problem with all the different continuities of comic book stories; it’s a chore to keep track of which version of a given hero you’re talking about. That’s been less of a problem with the current Marvel superhero movies, because there has only been one series for each hero… but that comes with two notable exceptions. The Hulk storyline has been rebooted once and had an actor swap twice, and now Spiderman has been rebooted and given an actor swap. I enjoyed the first Spiderman movie with Tobey Maguire (it was also the only one that I saw) and so I’d ignored the new one. But with a second new Spiderman movie coming out, I thought I should take a look.
If anything, I think I liked this new Spiderman more. As my friend pointed out to me, new Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) isn’t as convincingly a picked-on nerd as old Peter Parker was. But he makes a far more convincing chatty Spiderman, something I always cherished when I first read the comics at the age of seven, and the way that he chokes out his newly picked name when asked who he is is just perfect. As an added plus, I’m glad that they went back to his original external web projectors rather than having them be a natural element of his transformation. I also think Garfield makes a much better version of Peter Parker as an outgoing and snarky-ish photographer. If that’s the direction that they want to take Parker from the very beginning of this reboot I’m willing to see where it goes, even if it means glossing over some of Parker’s original role as a nebbish geek. It’s not like we saw much of that in the first Spiderman movie anyway, is it? I’ve mostly forgotten by this point, so I’m not especially worried about it.