Of all the many moving parts buried beneath the hood of Captain America: Civil War – Frank Grillo’s Crossbones, the fate of Hawkeye’s farm – the long-awaited introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the one that has truly kept fans on tenterhooks.
Leaked screenshots may have threatened to spoilt the surprise in the past, but the general appearance of Holland’s webslinger and his much contested suit have thankfully remained under lock and key.
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But how does Spidey fit into Joe and Anthony Russo’s psychological thriller? Given the serious, MCU-defining beats of Civil War – not to mention the fact that Holland’s character will seemingly be 15 upon swinging into action – the addition of Spider-Man counters the more serious tone of the film’s internal power struggle.
For the Russo brothers, building up to that dynamic was a long and storied process, particularly with the partnership between Marvel and Sony Pictures overhead.
“It was a very long process. Kind of thing we had to lobby for for months. What happens during a long process like that, you’re continuing to develop the movie and the character. During the time that it takes you to convince the powers that be to make the jump and let you do that, you’ve engrained the character so deeply into the story at that point that you’d have to destroy the story to take him out. So, by the time we found out that he’d be in the movie, it wasn’t so much elation than like ‘Thank God! We don’t have to blow the whole movie up.’”
Though by introducing fans to a much younger rendition of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man amid Earth’s Mightiest Heroes two ensemble films in, Joe and Anthony Russo believe they’ve created a character that is distinct from his costumed peers.
“I’m a comic book fan and collector, since I was a kid, and he’s my favorite character. And to get a chance to reinvent that character…For me, I really wanted to see somebody cast who was very close to a high schooler’s age…What was so valuable to me about the character, when I was a kid, is that he’s a high schooler with this power and responsibility, and it makes him very distinct as a hero. It makes him distinct from the other characters in the Marvel Universe, who are confident, experienced superheroes. It’s super important to have that color of the movie, and we felt that it was invaluable and we do think it goes a long way. That character helps us balance out the tone of the movie.”
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will be waiting in the wings, ready to pounce for what will seemingly be a relatively major cameo in Captain America: Civil War on May 6. Following that, he’ll truly get to flex his muscles for Jon Watts’ untitled Spider-Man reboot in the summer of 2017.