The colors are red and blue. His name, far from that of a stranger even on this little island in Southeast Asia. The children, standing within the assigned space in front of the red carpet and stage, cheer and holler with hands and their smartphones in the air as the man of the hour, Tom Holland himself enters into scene.
On the 7th of the month of June, a closed door red carpet and press conference event for the Marvel movie, Spider-man: Homecoming was held at the art-science museum with two of the film’s actors, Tom Holland (Playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Jacob Batalon (Playing Ned, Peter Parker’s best friend) attending.
Introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the box office hit, Captain America: Civil War, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has once again been rebooted. This time, more young and youthful than his previous two silver screen reincarnations. Homecoming takes place a few months after the events of the unforgettable battle at the Leipzig Airport in Civil War, where Peter Parker has to balance his life as a superhero and as an ordinary high school student all while a new threat, the Vulture (Played by Michael Keaton) a man who savages and salvages the alien technology and weaponry left by the conflicts within the previous films in the MCU.
We were given a pass with a neck strap attached, a red ball cap and a blue T-shirt with the iconic emblem, in white and reinvented with more flourish in the design, to be worn. Before we were allowed to enter into the art-science museum, where the event was held, our bags were checked thoroughly and we were then scanned by security personnel armed with their security scanners. Going through these security procedures really highlights the gravity and seriousness of the event, that a celebrity of international renown would indeed be coming to visit. Of course, the lavish red carpet helps to do that too.
Inside, we were assigned a place to stand within, behind the red carpet and stood there amongst the many watching as the event emcees, the DJs Justin Ang and Vernon A; also collectively known as ‘The Muttons’ opened up the event and entertained the crowd with tidbits of Spider-Man trivia and freebees. Then, a crowd of fans and cosplayers swarm across the stage in the front; each dressed in one of the many different variations of the beloved superhero known throughout its long years of existence. There is something surreal and impressive, watching the seemingly endless crowd of men, women and children donned in the iconic red and blue tights (Or other color variations), marching across the red carpet.
After a stuntman dressed in the red and blue enters stage to entertains the crowd with tricks of leaps and jumps, Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon make their appearance. They walk the red carpet and the awaiting crowd, cheer with their smartphones on camera mode raised, attempting to take a shot or a shot at a ‘selfie’ with the stars. After the red carpet, the stars would then go on to the press conference held upstairs where they are to answer questions from the various members of the media from the world who had flew down to Singapore, to attend the event.
Four years ago, Tom Holland was at the Empire Awards for his debut performance in the feature film, The Impossible. There, during an interview with a journalist, he was rather explicit in his interest in playing the iconic web slinging hero, hoping to be able to take on the mantle in ten years time. Holland would soon receive the chance to play Spider-Man when Marvel began looking for an actor to play the beloved hero within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After a series of auditions and screen tests, an announcement on Instagram notified him that he was selected and a phone call from the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige confirmed it.
Jacob Batalon, in contrast to his co-actor who has had a number of acting credits in various other films before this breakthrough role, is still a newcomer, having only made his debut in acting in a feature film in the smaller, 2016 movie North Woods. Batalon describes the transition from working on the smaller picture to the significantly bigger production of Spider-Man: Homecoming to be ‘surreal’, even going so far as to state ‘everyday just felt like a dream’.
Though, perhaps the most interesting is the approach that Marvel has decided to take with Homecoming; deciding to give the character a more ‘realistic’ edge. Unlike the rest of the heroes from the MCU who have colorful backgrounds, Peter Parker, the man behind the mask, is still just a kid, a high school student, a familiar background that most ordinary people would have gone through at least once. The only difference is that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider, has super powers and fights crime here and there. Of course this approach also aids Homecoming in distinguishing itself from the many Spider-Man films that have preceded it.
‘I don’t want fans to have to buy tickets to a movie they’ve already seen.’ Holland says. From what was discussed in the press conference, I believe that Marvel is heading in a different and very interesting direction with Homecoming. Though in the end of it all, audiences will have to watch it for themselves to see if this is true.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently playing at all theatres in Singapore.
All photos by Timothy Ong