The Culture Movies

Trailer for 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' evidence of Hollywood's 'redo' culture, debuts

The upcoming movie stars Tom Holland as the webslinger. This is the latest attempt by studio Sony to start a 'Spider-Man' film series and, along with other projects like an upcoming 'Green Lantern' film and the Freeform TV series 'Shadowhunters,' shows how Hollywood tries again even if a property fails.

A new trailer has arrived for the upcoming movie “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which will be the latest in Hollywood’s take on the webslinger (the third attempt to start a series) and the newest evidence of Hollywood’s determination to continue to adapt a property that has been popular in some way.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man, and co-stars Marisa Tomei, Donald Glover, and Zendaya. Robert Downey Jr. of the Marvel movie universe pops up as superhero Iron Man and Michael Keaton portrays villain Vulture, who will face off with Spider-Man.

The film will be released on July 7.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” will be the third attempt by Hollywood to start a “Spider-Man” movie series in 15 years. Tobey Maguire debuted as the character in 2002’s hugely successful film “Spider-Man” and starred in three movies before he and director Sam Raimi left the series. Then came 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which stars Andrew Garfield as the title character. Mr. Garfield left the role after two movies and it was announced in 2015 that Mr. Holland was cast in the role. Holland debuted in the 2016 movie “Captain America: Civil War.”

The original 2002 movie remains the high point financially for the “Spider-Man” franchise. Grosses for Mr. Maguire’s go-round declined thereafter and both Garfield’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” grossed less than any of the Maguire-era movies.

So why is Hollywood returning to this character? Why do studios bring back characters or stories that already failed once? Why is a movie being planned about the Green Lantern comic book character, following a 2011 movie that was widely viewed as a misfire? And why was the Freeform TV series “Shadowhunters” – based on author Cassandra Clare’s bestselling young adult book series “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” – created after the 2013 movie version of the same series underperformed and was critically panned? 

With Spider-Man, this iteration of Spider-Man is slightly different. Sony is working with superhero powerhouse Marvel Studios to bring the character to the big screen now, with the new actor who was cast as Spider-Man (Holland) first appearing in a Marvel movie (that was “Captain America: Civil War”), then Sony releasing “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which is co-produced by Kevin Feige of Marvel and Sony’s Amy Pascal. “Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger,” the Marvel statement at the time read. “Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.”

Variety writer Marc Graser sees this move as bringing in outside help for a valuable franchise. “A deal to free up Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel cinematic universe, starting in 2017, is a clear admission by Sony that its superhero strategy with one of the most popular comic book heroes around simply isn’t working,” he wrote. “That’s especially true at a time when the studio is desperate for some major film franchises.” 

As for why studio Warner Bros. would return to Green Lantern after the superhero was at the center of a box office flop, Los Angeles Times writer Josh Rottenberg writes that Green Lantern is “one of the most famous DC characters.” Warner Bros. is seemingly all in on its DC Comics films, with movies including “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” on their way. If Warner Bros. is adapting the DC universe and the Green Lantern character is an important part of it, then bringing the character back into the fold likely seems like a natural move.

And for the “Mortal Instruments” book series, which was adapted first as a film and is now the source material for Freeform’s TV series “Shadowhunters” (a second season is currently airing), a movie may not have been the best form for the story, according to TV Guide writer Kaitlin Thomas.

“Plans for a feature film franchise were abandoned when the movie failed to impress at the box office,” she wrote. “That's probably for the best, though, because television is a much better fit for the series' complicated and complex mythology.”