Jon Watts had only two feature films underneath his belt (Clown and Cop Car) before he was tapped by Marvel and Sony to direct Spider-Man: Homecoming, the wall-crawler’s first solo outing since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. He was a bit of an unproven director then, but fans are now breathing easy as reviews are through the roof and Watts’ name is set for a huge boost.
A true coming of age film, Spider-Man: Homecoming features a 15-year-old Peter Parker dealing with high school, stumbling through first love and going toe to toe with The Vulture (Michael Keaton). Great characters, witty dialogue and spectacular action sequences put it up there with the very best of the MCU, and Watts spot-on direction and the almost guaranteed success of the film should keep him on for the Spidey sequel and in Marvel’s stable for years to come.
While doing press for Spider-Man: Homecoming in New York City last week, we had the chance to talk to the director about his take on the iconic hero, the Sony spinoffs, which characters he’d like to see in the next film and much more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
Spider-Man: Homecoming really gives us the definitive Peter Parker character that we’ve been reading for so long.
Jon Watts: That’s good. I’m happy that you say that.
In particular, I love how this film goes into the logistics of web swinging and even throwing on the suit. Like yeah, if you leave your backpack in an alley most likely it won’t be there when you get back.
Jon Watts: Yeah, people know the broad strokes of what it’s like to be Spider-Man but I wanted to really get into the details. Living in the city is hard sometimes and things like where are you going to put your backpack become a big issue. I had so much fun exploring those little details. It’s something that you see when you’re reading the comics. There’s this great panel, I forget what the actual comic is, of Spider-Man in the rain holding an umbrella and eating some Chinese takeout. It’s like, that’s the essence of Spider-Man. [laughs] So to be able to get into those little details was so much fun for me.
Spider-Man probably has the best rogues gallery in the Marvel Universe. Most of the villains are really grounded and relatable on a human level. The Vulture proves the entire world doesn’t have to be at stake for an antagonist to be compelling, just that particular villain’s world.
Jon Watts: Yeah, if anything when the whole world is at stake it’s less dramatic because unless you’re watching a movie where they might actually blow up the whole world, like Dr. Strangelove… [laughs], then there really aren’t any stakes. By making it more grounded and relatable hopefully it’ll be more dramatic.
Were there any characters or villains that you wanted to include in the film but wasn’t able to?
Jon Watts: Let me think…no, I didn’t want to overcrowd the movie. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem like, “oh, there’s three villains in the film.” I tried to come up with a different take just surrounding Keaton with his guys. It’s not three super villains teaming up. That was the way I was thinking about how to create this world of villains and to sort of build it from the ground up as opposed to a series of super villains saying, “let’s work together to get Spider-Man!”