Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the superhero action film “Spider-Man: No Way Home” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Asians) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: After 17-year-old Peter Parker has been exposed as the alter ego of Spider-Man, he enlists the help of mystical superhero Doctor Strange to make people forget this secret identity, but Doctor Strange’s spell brings several allies and enemies back from various dimensions of the Spider-Verse.
Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of comic book movie fans, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will appeal primarily to people who like nostalgia-filled superhero movies and who are fans of this movie’s star-studded cast.
Just like an artist’s greatest-hits box set offered to fans who already own every album by the artist, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is best appreciated by people who’ve already seen all the previous “Spider-Man” movies. It’s filled with insider jokes that will either delight or annoy viewers, depending on how familiar they are with the cinematic Spider-Verse. Simply put: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is an epic superhero feast for fans, but it should not be the first “Spider-Man” movie that people should see. There are too many references to other Spider-Man movies that came before “Spider-Man: No Way Home” that just won’t connect very well with people who have not seen enough of the previous “Spider-Man” movies.
Fortunately for the blockbuster “Spider-Man” movie franchise (which launched with 2002’s “Spider-Man,” starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man), most people who watch “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will have already seen at least one previous “Spider-Man” movie. Maguire also starred in 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” and 2007’s “Spider-Man 3.” Andrew Garfield starred as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in two of the reboot movies: 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Another “Spider-Man” movie reboot series began with Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, starting with 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and continuing with 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the third “Spider-Man” movie directed by Jon Watts and co-written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, the same writer/director team behind 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” There were six screenwriters (including Watts, McKenna and Sommers) for 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which was also directed by Watts. The trio of Watts, McKenna and Sommers for three consecutive “Spider-Man” movies has been beneficial to the quality of the filmmaking.
Each “Spider-Man” film that this trio has worked on truly does feel connected to each other, compared to other franchise films where different directors and writers often change the tone of the sequels, and therefore the sequels feel disconnected. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also makes several references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which Spider-Man/Peter Parker (as portrayed by Holland) was a big part of, in his alliance with the Avengers. It’s another reason why it’s better to see previous Marvel-related movies with Spider-Man in it before seeing “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Because Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular character, you’d have to be completely shut off from pop culture to not at least know a few things about Spider-Man, such as he got his agility superpowers by accidentally being bit by a radioactive spider. Just like many superheroes, Peter is an orphan: His parents died in a plane crash, so he was raised by an aunt and an uncle. Even with knowledge of these basic facts about Peter Parker/Spider-Man, it really is best to see all or most of the previous “Spider-Man” films, because the jokes will be funnier, and the surprises will be sweeter.
Speaking of surprises, the vast majority of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has spoiler information. However, it’s enough to give a summary of what to expect in the first 30 minutes of this 148-minute film without revealing any surprises. The beginning of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” picks up right where “Spider-Man: Far From Home” left off: Peter Parker—an intelligent and compassionate 17-year-old student who lives in New York City’s Queens borough—has been exposed as the secret alter ego of superhero Spider-Man. The culprit who exposed him was the villain Mysterio (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who’s seen briefly in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in the opening scene that shows the aftermath of this exposé.
All hell breaks loose, because Mysterio has twisted things to make it look like Spider-Man is a villain, not a hero. Peter and his girlfriend MJ (played by Zendaya) are caught in the middle of a crowded New York City street when Peter’s Spider-Man identity is exposed. And the backlash is immediate. Before getting into any harmful physical danger, Spider-Man puts his superhero skills to good use by whisking himself and MJ to safety.
However, the Department of Damage Control quickly detains Peter, MJ, Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon) and Peter’s aunt May Parker (played by Marisa Tomei) for questioning. And who shows up to give some legal advice? Attorney/blind superhero Matt Murdock, also known as Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox), who makes a very brief cameo. Matt says, “I don’t think any of the charges will stick. Things will get even worse. There’s still the court of public opinion.”
There’s not enough evidence to hold Peter and his loved ones in the interrogation rooms, so they go back home and ponder their next move. But how long can they stay safe, when people know where Peter lives and where he goes to school? Spider-Man has been branded as a troublemaker by certain people, such as fear-mongering journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist J. Jonah Jameson (played by J.K. Simmons), who no longer works as the editor of the Daily Planet newspaper. Jameson is now anchoring TheDailyPlanet.net, a 24-hour news streaming service.
However, Spider-Man is still a hero or an anti-hero to many more people. When Peter goes back to school the next day, he’s treated like a celebrity. Students surround him to take photos and videos with their phones. Faculty members fawn over him. Conceited and bullying student Flash Thompson (played by Tony Revolori), one of Peter’s nuisances at school, tries to latch on to Peter’s newfound fame by now claiming to be Peter’s best friend. Flash has already written a tell-all memoir to cash in on Peter’s celebrity status.
Peter, MJ (whose real name is Michelle Jones) and Ned are in their last year at Midtown School of Science and Technology. They have plans to go to the prestigious Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) together after they graduate from high school. But due to their high-profile brush with the law, the three pals are worried about their chances of getting into MIT.
This hoped-for MIT enrollment becomes the motivation for Peter to go to fellow New York City-based superhero Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) to ask for his help. Peter wants Doctor Strange to cast a spell so that people will forget that Peter is really Spider-Man. Doctor Strange is reluctant, but he gives in to Peter’s pleading. As Doctor Strange is casting his Spell of Forgetting, Peter interrupts several times to tell Doctor Strange to exempt some of Peter’s loved ones (such as MJ, Ned and May) from the spell.
Doctor Strange is extremely annoyed, so he cuts the spell short and is able to contain the spell’s powers in a cube-sized box. But some damage has already been done: The spell has opened the multi-verse where anyone who knows who Peter Parker can be summoned and go to the dimension where Peter is. And some of these individuals are villains from past “Spider-Man” movies. Doctor Strange gives Peter/Spider-Man the task of capturing these villains to imprison them in Doctor Strange’s dungeon that looks like a combination of a high-tech jail and a mystical crypt.
The return of some of these villains has already been announced through official publicity and marketing materials released for “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” so it’s not spoiler information. These villains are:
Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (played by Willem Dafoe), from 2002’s “Spider-Man”
Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus, also known as Doc Ock (played by Alfred Molina), from 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”
Flint Marko/Sandman (played by Thomas Haden Church), from 2007’s “Spider-Man 3”
Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard (played by Rhys Ifans), from 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man”
Max Dillon/Electro (played by Jamie Foxx), from 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has some other surprises, some of which have already been leaked to the public, but won’t be revealed in this review. A few other non-surprise characters in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” include Doctor Strange’s portal-traveling sidekick Wong (played by Benedict Wong), as well as Harold “Happy” Hogan (played by Jon Favreau), Tony Stark/Iron Man’s loyal driver who is now taken on minder duties for Peter. In “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Happy and May had a fling that ended. Happy fell in love with May and wanted a more serious romance with her, so he is still nursing a broken heart about it in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
The movie’s action sequences are among the most memorable in “Spider-Man” movie history, in large part because of the return of so many characters from the past. A lengthy part of the movie that takes place on the Statue of Liberty will be talked about by fans for years. Because so much of “Spider-Man” relies heavily on people knowing the history of this movie franchise to fully understand the plot developments and a lot of the dialogue, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will probably be a “love it or hate it” film.
The movie’s mid-credits scene directly correlates to the mid-credits scene for 2021’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” And the end-credits scene for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” features a glimpse into the world of Doctor Strange. People should know by now that movies with Marvel characters have mid-credits scenes and/or end-credits scenes that are essentially teasers for an upcoming Marvel superhero movie or TV series.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has some wisecracking that seems a little too self-congratulatory, but those smug moments are balanced out with some heartfelt emotional scenes. And all the jumping around from one universe dimension to the next might be a little too confusing to viewers who are new to the Spider-Verse. Some people might accuse “Spider-Man: No Way Home” of overstuffing the movie with too much nostalgic stunt casting as gimmicks. However, die-hard fans of the franchise will be utterly thrilled by seeing these familiar characters and will be fully engaged in finding out what happens to them in this very entertaining superhero adventure.
Columbia Pictures will release “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in U.S. cinemas on December 17, 2021.
The animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was one of the most talked-about revelations at the 2018 edition of New York Comic Con in New York City. Not only were fans given a huge surprise treat by seeing the first 35 minutes of the film before the panel discussion took place, but those in the audience who saw the sneak preview were also raving about it. Simply put: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (which opens in theaters on December 14, 2018) has the makings of being an award-winning hit.
The movie also represents the first time on the big screen that Spider-Man will be played by characters other than Peter Parker. The main Spider-Man in “Into the Spider-Verse” is Miles Morales, a half-Puerto Rican, half-African American high schooler from Brooklyn, who almost reluctantly becomes the masked webslinger under the mentorship of Parker. The trailers for the movie indicate that Morales’ love interest Gwen Stacy will also take on the persona of Spider-Gwen, plus there are other variations of Spider-Man in this movie’s alternate universe. (No spoilers here.)
After getting rapturous applause following the sneak preview, several members of the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” team took to the stage for a discussion panel. They included Shameik Moore (voice of Miles Morales); Jake Johnson (voice of Peter Parker); Lauren Velez (voice of Rio Morales, Miles’ mother); Brian Tyree Henry (voice of Jefferson Davis, Miles’ father); producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller; and directors Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey. Here is what they said:
Phil and Chris, how did you get involved in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”?
Lord: When Sony came to us and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to do Spider-Man as an animated movie?” And the first thing we thought was, “Yeah, that would be awesome to see a comic book come to life, but wouldn’t it be the seventh Spider-Man movie? It would have to feel like something super-fresh.” So we said we wouldn’t want to do it unless it was Miles Morales’ story.
Miller: It seemed like they really wanted us to do this, so we could make some demands. And so, we used the fact that this story had been told a lot of times to our advantage, because the expectation now is, “How can we do it differently?”
The visuals are stunning. Peter and Bob, can you talk about the visual approach and how the story is set in Brooklyn?
Ramsey: As Phil said, this was a chance for us to really lean into a medium that was made for Spider-Man … How can we take advantage of a medium that has been visually expressive for so many years and tie it into the original source material? And so, we started to lean into flash frames and visuals that are really reminiscent of drawings, but we had to figure out a way to do it with a computer, which is its own giant task.
And then separately, we’ve seen the Peter Parker story. We know. We haven’t seen the Miles Morales story. Brooklyn is such a character. There are so many things that were born out of New York: hip-hop, graffiti, Miles. How do we view the movie with a character that is the city? Each borough has its own flavor.
Persichetti: The great thing for us, as filmmakers, is that the stars all kind of lined up, and we were in a situation where we had producers/creators—Phil [Lord] and Chris [Miller]—who had a vision, and a studio that said, “You can do that,” even though they didn’t know what we were going to do.
Every step along of the way, everyone on the team pushed as far as they could into his idea of using animation to be more expressive, be like a comic book, honor the original source, and to try to bring New York 2018 to life in a way that everybody in the audience can understand, so everyone can go through this experience in Miles’ shoes. Hopefully, we got it right.
Ramsey: And I think the secret was we didn’t tell them how bold of a visual approach we were going to take until it was too late to change it.
Shameik, what was it like to inhabit the Miles Morales character?
Moore: I can relate to the upbringing we’re looking at. I’m not actually Latino, but I feel the spirit. I’m very excited. When I was younger and I first saw Miles Morales, I was like, “Dude, there’s a black Spider-Man out there.”
I wrote it down in a journal filming this movie called “Dope.” I said, “I am Miles Morales. I am Spider-Man.” And two years later, I got the opportunity, with these guys. We made an amazing movie. It really is a crazy thing.
Jake, what can you say about the Peter Parker character in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”?
Johnson: It’s Peter Parker at 40. Peter Parker who’s a little chubby. Peter Parker who’s a little depressed. I just saw [the movie] this morning. It’s just so exciting, and I’m fired up to be in it.
Jake, how would you describe the relationship between Peter Parker and Miles Morales?
Johnson: They become partners in crime. They become unlikely friends. There’s a little bit of “The Karate Kid.” They end up needing each other to get out of a situation, and they become friends along the way.
Brian, how would you describe your Jefferson Davis character as Miles’ father?
Henry: It reminded me of my father. I was raised by my father for … most of my formative years—junior high through high school—puberty, mostly. My father was a Vietnam vet, and there was this kid he was trying to raise. Looking at the [the movie], I was like, “Oh, that’s what he was going through!” I didn’t think I was that bad, but I was off the chain!
There is nothing more important to me than to see a black boy and his father. We’ve seen the single mom trying to bring up a teenage boy to be a man, but it’s really nice to see … Miles Morales has both of his parents. He’s bilingual and raised in Brooklyn. His mom works in a hospital, and [his father] is a cop.
He had a damn good upbringing. We made a good man! It’s important for everyone to see that Miles is part of that. It was very important for me to be part of that, to be someone trying to raise [Miles] right and make him a decent man … And to play the husband of Lauren Velez? I jumped at the chance. Our son is the bomb! It’s an honor to be on this panel with all these creators. And Miles is “dope.” See what I did there?
Lauren, can you talk about your Rio character, who’s Miles’ mother?
Velez: This is my first animation [project] ever. I had no idea what to expect at all. I’m floored by everything. I’m floored by the storytelling, the visual style. Is that animation? Look at the depth of that. So much if it is beyond what I expected. I really have the most amazing family.
My son [Miles] is so dope and my husband is amazing. I’m the daughter of a cop [in real life], and seeing this [movie] made me think so much of my own family and growing … [Miles] doesn’t come from a broken home. He comes from a real stable, professional parenting environment and parents who want the best for him, and want him to achieve his highest potential. That’s why they’ve sent him away to a school that is better for him but is still diverse; he’s not completely away from his world. All of that I thought was so important.
And the bilingual aspect of it. I’m Nuyorican, and I think Miles is such loving, wonderful son on the cusp of manhood. I feel like [Rio] supports him in moving toward being the man she wants him to but still wants to nurture him and hold on to him and take care of him. I think, secretly, she thinks his art is so dope, and she supports that.
The “Spider-Man” movie franchise is now in its third incarnation. And when it comes incorporating other major characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the third time is the charm, because “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (directed by Jon Watts) is the first time that Marvel Studios has teamed up with Sony Pictures to bring other MCU characters such as Iron Man to a “Spider-Man” movie.
The “Spider-Man” franchise started with the original 2002 “Spider-Man” movie (starring Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging superhero), which spawned two sequels. In 2012, Andrew Garfield took over as Spider-Man (whose real identity is nerdy high-school student Peter Parker) for two “Amazing Spider-Man” movies. Now, in 2017, Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man, a role that Holland also played in Marvel Studios’ 2016 blockbuster “Captain America: Civil War.”
In “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Spider-Man is being mentored by Iron Man/Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.), who often grows impatient with the over-eager Peter, who’s ready to rejoin the Avengers in their mission to fight crime worldwide. For now, Peter is stuck in high school in New York City’s Queens, where his social life revolves around his best friend, Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon), and fellow members of the school’s debate team, which includes the sarcastic Michelle (played by Zendaya), competitive Flash Thompson (played by Tony Revolori) and “cool kid” Liz (played by Laura Harrier), who is Peter’s secret crush. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” also stars Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture (the movie’s chief villain) and Marisa Tomei as Peter Parker’s Aunt May.
At the New York City press junket for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Holland, Downey, Keaton, Harrier, Batalon, Zendaya, Revolori, Watts and producers Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige (who is also president of Marvel Studios) gathered for a press conference. This is what they said.
How excited are you to finally bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Feige: It was one of a handful of, “Well, this will never be possible but let’s dream about it moments” at Marvel studios … Having made the movie, it’s unbelievable. It’s incredible.
Pascal: It is incredible. It started with a lunch with me and Kevin, and I can’t believe we’re here now. It’s pretty exciting,
Jon, the biggest challenge was to not only make a fresh standalone movie but to make one that does fit into the MCU and does capture a unique tone that is delightful and hilarious. What were some of the challenges of capturing all those thins while staying true to the legacy of Spider-Man?
Watts: Well, I just tried to approach it as the biggest fan possible and the opportunity to finally put Spider-Man where he belongs in the Marvel universe, really just opened so many doors to all of the new kinds of stories we could tell. So if anything I felt like we were being as true as possible as anyone has ever been able to be about Spider-<an and how he fits into this world.
Tom, with great power comes great responsibility. What kind of responsibility did you feel playing a character that so many people love?
Holland: I think the thing that I had to remind myself most when I took on this character was that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man had such a huge impact on me as a kid. He was my role model growing up; he was my favorite character. So I had to remind myself that I’m going to have that same impact on kids of the younger generation. So I really wanted to do them proud, and be a solid role model for them to make a young, fresh version of the character we know and love so well.
The question that Jon and I asked ourselves was, “If you gave a 15-year-old superpowers, he would have the time of his life. And when I made this movie, I had the time of my life, so it really comes across on screen.
Robert, you’re like the godfather of the MCU. How do you feel about the way the MCU has evolved but expanded to now include the likes of Spider-Man?
Downey: Well firstly, I’m stoked that they got my memo to design the screening room like an old Miami Dolphins jersey. So that worked out. But Amy and them had done these iterations of Spider-Man previous. They really should do one of those breakdown, kind-of-boring-to-read-but-somewhat-important books about all the miracles that had to had to happen for us to be sitting here today … This turned out so well. It really comes down to, as Kevin says, “You’ve got to see the movie and love it. “This turned out so well. I saw it, I was in it for a little bit, but I loved it. I think that’s what’s exciting is that they’re still really working.
Michael, the thing about Adrian Toomes/Vulture in this film is that his motives are grounded because he’s motivated by wanting to help his family. What were your impressions when you signed on to this film, in terms of Vulture’s motives?
Keaton: I thought it was inventive and an interesting way to go. I’m not really familiar with a lot of the lore, so for me, I was trying to catch up. I just thought the simplicity of making this person approachable, it’s timely. Let’s not talk about why it’s timely, ’cause I want to blow my brains out.
Downey: He’s only threatening his own life right now.
Keaton: I thought it was a really unique approach and kind of obvious to make this person approachable and has a legitimate gripe and a legitimate argument. I thought it was really well-written. It was a fun gig.
Marisa, it seems like a fun gig for you as well. What was your take on playing Aunt May as completely different from what we know about the character?
Tomei: I didn’t really know what Aunt May looked like until after I signed up. I couldn’t understand why my agents kept saying to me “They’re going to make her sexy.” “Ugh, stop trying to coddle me. Oh, in contrast of another way to go.” These guys had this vision of how it would be revamped and everyone was going to be younger and she’s his aunt by marriage, so she can be any age at all.
Jacob, how do you feel about people reacting so well to your Ned character and his friendship with Peter?
Batalon: I’m not going to lie. I knew this was going to happen. Tom and really enjoy each other, and the cast and I enjoy each other, so it was easy to translate that into what you saw. I love them. I love all of them so much. It’s easy to be around them, and it’s easy to make the best things with them.
Zendaya, what was it like to make a big film like this one?
Zendaya: It was incredible. I’ve done a lot of things in my little career so far, but this is my first big movie, so I was terrified, but I suppressed it very well. It’s amazing to be here. I think all of us feel like it’s a bit of a dream. I don’t know when it’s going to feel real, but it definitely doesn’t feel real right now. I don’t mind living in this dream. I enjoy it here, so I think I’m going to keep doing it.
Downey: When the opening numbers come in, it gets real.
Laura, why do you think out of all the superheroes, Spider-Man means the most to people?
Harrier: Because I think he’s the most relatable. We all know what it’s like to grow up and go to high school and go through growing pains and have awkward moments of talking to someone you have a crush on. It’s harder to connect with superheroes who are completely outside of our world, I think. Spider-Man is first and foremost Peter Parker, whom everyone can relate to.
Jon, Spider-Man’s costume is the most high-tech we’ve ever seen. What were the challenges of keeping true to the Spider-Man mythology while evolving things in a way that it makes sense for 2017?
Watts: I got kicked off rather nicely by what the Russo brothers did in “[Captain America:] Civil War.” They had this really great premise that Peter Parker is going to get plucked out of obscurity by Tony Stark, given this really high-tech suit, and then get taken on a crazy adventure, and then dropped back into his regular life without another thought. So, to me, the challenge was an opportunity. If Tony Stark built a Spider-Man suit, what could it do that would be so amazing? There’s a little bit of precedent in the comics with the Iron Spider suit that gets built, so we used that as inspiration for all the bells and whistles that Tony would put into this thing.
Tom, can you talk about your experience going from the movie “The Impossible,” when most people first discovered you, to how you got to this place in your life?
Holland: I’ve been so lucky in my career. I felt like I’ve been in the right place at the right time at every turn. I’ve been so lucky I’ve got to work with I would consider the best of the best and learn from people. Every movie has been a different experience for me. I’ve been able to play different characters without having to go too far. Now I’ve now finding myself to go a little bit further. This job since day one has been a rollercoaster. It has never ceased to amaze me.It’s the job that keeps on giving.
The fact that I’m here with these guys promoting this movie is insane. Like Zendaya said, it does not feel real in any way possible. I read a comic yesterday that is based off my face. I mean, what the hell! Nothing has sunk in. Nothing has sunk in. It feels like I’m about to wake up and be very disappointed. But I’m very happy here, and I can’t wait for you guys to see the movie.
Robert, when we we asked Tom and Jacob if they could take anything from the set, Tom said he would take your Audi and Jacob said he would take your watch. How do you feel about that and what would you take from the set?
Downey: I’m sorry, which Audi and which watch? You know why I think this works? There’s something about the initial breaking the story and the concept. Whatever the mood board was for this movie, with all those different tones, it was creatively inspired. It’s really an inspired re-invention.
And what I would take is that moment where the creatives actually broke this story and said, “That’s it.” If it’s executed correctly, that’s what you see on the screen. And that’s why I love movies. I’m a huge fan of movies, and I always wondered, “How did they figure it out to entertain me this well?” The mood board!
Robert and Michael, since you know what it’s like to star as superheroes in blockbuster movies, what advice would you give o the younger members of the cast on how to deal with all the media scrutiny and fan love that comes with being in these types of films?
Downey: Every day you wake up, everybody’s even. All of this status or experience is all kind of a projection … It really comes down to, “Does [the director] like us? Does he think we know what we’re doing?” It’s all about having your feet on the ground, and realizing that you always start at zero MPH every day.
Keaton: I don’t have anything to say [to the younger cast members]. I’m listening to what these people are saying, and so far it’s impressive. Let’s keep an eye on them, but so far, they sound like pretty sane folks.
Tony, what was it like to work on this movie with a character that is so well-known to fans around the world? And can you compare it to working on a movie like Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”?
Revolori: It’s wonderful working with someone like Wes. He’s amazing and fantastic. But working on a project like [“Spider-Man: Homecoming”] is on a different level because you have so many fans and so many people who work so hard and put so much effort into it, you can’t help but want to do a good job. I’m very fortunate to be a part of it with a great cast. Thank you to Jon, Amy and Kevin for casting a 5’8″ brown guy to play a 6’2″ blonde, blue-eyed guy. Thank you.
Tony, how does it feel to represent the Latino community in this comic-book franchise?
Revolori: It’s wonderful. I think when you see the film, there’s not a single line of exposition to explain why I look the way I look. I think that’s wonderful. I just am in the movie. It’s not about being a certain race or doing anything. That’s the kind of diversity we need in Hollywood right now.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” has one of the most racially diverse casts in a superhero movie. What was the inspiration for having such diversity?
Pascal: The inspiration was reality.
Downey: Our last resort!
Tom and Jon, what challenges would you like to see Spider-Man overcome in any future MCU movies?
Holland: I’m still getting over the first one.
Watts: I honestly try to think about this stuff one movie at a time, but I do feel like now that Spider-Man is part of this big, crazy universe, we can definitely tell some new stories, that’s for sure.
Tom and Robert, how would you say Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s relationship with Tony Stark/Iron Man has evolved since “Captain America: Civil War”?
Holland: I think the relationship between the two of us is more important from [Iron Man’s] point of view because he suddenly has someone to think about other than Tony Stark. He really cares about Peter, and one of the reasons why he doesn’t want Peter to become an Avenger is because he really doesn’t want the responsibility of something happening to Peter on his conscience. It’s a nice back-and-forth of [Spider-Man] saying, “Look, I’m powerful enough to be an Avenger,” and [Iron Man] saying, “But you’re not ready to be an Avenger.” It’s like a big brother/little brother. dad/son type of situation.
What do you hope teenagers will learn from watching “Spider-Man: Homecomng”?
Batalon: Our message is that you don’t have to be the jock, you don’t have to be the cool person in high school to be yourself. The coolest version of yourself is yourself. We’re nerds, and we love to be smart, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being yourself.
Harrier: You don’t have to apologize for who you are. Everyone in this movie is so different, but genuinely themselves, especially Zendaya’s [Michelle] character, who is very different but not ashamed of it. If teenagers could take that away, it would be great.
Zendaya, how much was your portrayal of Michelle inspired by Ally Sheedy’s character in “The Breakfast Club”?
Zendaya: Definitely inspired. I didn’t know what kind of character I was playing until I showed up. Everything is kind of top-secret. So I read the script, and I was like, “Okay, she’s interesting.This is going to be fun.” Then i met with Jon, and he had so many different references, and [Ally Sheedy in “The Breakfast Club”] was definitely one of them.
Just kind of making that distinct character, making somebody that I think is different, and embracing the weird. Like what we were talking about: Young people, it’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to be exactly who you are. I love that [Michelle] is outspoken, I love that she says what everybody’s thinking, but she just doesn’t care. I think a lot of young people should have that a little bit more. It was fun playing that dry version of myself.
Who was the biggest clown off set?
Batalon: I don’t think this is a good interview right now.
Holland: The amazing thing about Jacob is that he wrapped on the movie, he finished filming his part in the film, and he just moved in with me. It’s like, “Jacob, go home!” He lived with me and my best mate for six weeks.
Batalon: You’re talking as if you didn’t want me there.
Holland: We did want you there. [He says jokingly] And then we fell in love.
Batalon: It’s been great ever since. Don’t worry about it.
Robert, how does it feel playing Tony Stark as the connective tissue across so many Marvel films?
Downey: What happens is that things are presented to me that are really well-thought-out by folks who have been doing this correctly for a really long time. And I just go “check,” and then I attempt to take the credit at press conferences. [He says jokingly] I’m holding this whole thing together. It’s obvious!
Tom, how did you gymnastic and dance background help you in doing your stunts?
Holland: You can’t really master hanging upside down. It’s not something I really prepared for. But my dancing and gymnastic background was so helpful to the project because we were able to do things as Peter Parker that they probably hadn’t been able to do in the past. But with that said, sometime they would over-estimate my skill set. Jon would be like, “Can you back-flip off of that wall and land on that beam?” I’m like, “No, Jon. I can’t do that. I’m not that good, dude.”
Watts: You forget that you’re not actually Spider-Man sometimes.
Robert, did it feel like you were passing the torch to Tom Holland? And how long do you think you’ll keep doing Marvel movies?
Downey: I’ve been semi-retired since “Iron Man” opened in its first weekend. Speaking for myself, good things happen, and then you get inflated and you think, “Oh my God, I’ve created everything that’s going my way.” And then things happen, where you’re like, “Okay, there’s a little evidence to the contrary.” At this point, you go back and say, “It’s nice to be on this call sheet.” So as you can see, I’ve changed dramatically, and I’m an extremely humble individual.
Can you consider doing more “Spider-Man” movie scenes on location in Queens?
Watts: As much Queens as possible. For sure.
Keaton: In terms of getting action in Queens … Robert, you and I have gotten action in Queens in 2001, I think.
Downey: Yeah, we kept a flat there for a while. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.
Michael, you’ve played both the hero (Batman} and a villain (Vulture) in a superhero movie. Which one do you prefer?
Keaton: They’re both fun. I think actors tend to drawn to villainous characters. It’s a cliche, but it tends to be often true that you want to delve into the dark side. It gets interesting. The reality is the lead [actor] or hero by very nature of the piece has to be not one-dimensional but has to represent a thing very strongly, whereas the supporting characters are more dimensional, without going into bullshit actor talk. It tends to be true.
Most of us have had experiences where you’re playing one role, and you’re looking at some of those minor roles, and you think, “Oh, man, I’d like to have a bite of that,” because it’s just so much fun. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to play a lot of different things: little tiny parts, big parts. They’re both fun. They’re both different. It’s more iconic, and you make a hell of a lot more dough being the big lead guy, but they’re both fun.