Unless you’re the Winter Soldier and have been in cryosleep, you know that the Marvel cinematic universe’s Spider-Man was revealed in the awesome Captain America: Civil War trailer.
Personally, I think Spidey’s new costume looks amazing, spectacular, sensational and every other adjective ever assigned to everybody’s favorite webhead.
While many fans surely share my opinion, there are plenty of haters out there based on what I saw in websites’ comment sections following the trailer’s release. I almost went to reddit for research purposes before writing this article but I’ve found that place to be more dangerous than a Trump rally, so I passed. What’s clear, though, is that a lot of the anger seems to surround the mask’s animated eyes, which appear to shrink and enlarge like a camera shutter.
I’m going to focus on the positive and hopefully change a few minds as I run through three reasons why Spider-Man’s animated eyes are a game-changer.
1. THIS, is Spider-Man
Since 2002, we’ve lived in a world with big-screen Spider-Man adventures. But we’ve also basically been living in the Matrix. Then, Morpheus offered us the red pill in the form of the final Civil War trailer, we swallowed it and now we clearly see that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the REAL movie Spider-Man.
Why? Those eyes…those glorious, John Romita Sr.-style eyes. Think of some of Spider-Man’s most iconic moments and it’s likely they were drawn by Romita Sr.
Amazing Spider-Man #50, with Peter Parker turning his back on his life as Spider-Man? Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man #122, with Spidey holding Gwen Stacy’s lifeless body? Romita Sr. I could go on, but you get the idea.
These are the eyes that defined Spider-Man for an entire generation of fans. They’re the eyes that appear on all sorts of merchandise, from t-shirts to Pez dispensers. Civil War may be a recent storyline, but Marvel’s decision to go with a retro Spider-Man design shows their dedication to the character’s roots. They’re going for something timeless.
Look at the eyes on Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men and they’re significantly larger (I’m choosing to ignore that weird, lizard-like costume we got in Garfield’s first outing). They’re much more in line with what modern artists like Todd McFarlane and Mark Bagley preferred when drawing Spider-Man’s mask. Both artists certainly left their mark on Spider-Man, but they weren’t drawing that classic Spider-Man.
Considering the success of Deadpool, it would have been a lot easier to pander to the ‘90s crowd. So kudos to Marvel for bringing the true Spider-Man to the silver screen for the first time.
2. Cue the Emotion
Speaking of Deadpool, remember how no one minded that Ryan Reynolds didn’t have to take his mask off to emote because of his animated eyes? Well, now the same will be true of Marvel’s Spider-Man, who really shouldn’t be taking his mask off (because otherwise, his loved ones die).
This is a common problem with films based on comic books where the characters wear fantastical costumes. What looks awesome on the page seems to confound filmmakers and actors. And let’s be honest, those scenes between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s 2002 flick did seem like they wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of Power Rangers.
With Spider-Man’s new shutter-like eyes, the character will be able to add an extra level of emotion beyond his voice and body language. Emotive, animated eyes are also perfect for a comical character like Spider-Man. And filmmakers will stop having to find reasons for Spider-Man to remove his mask.
I saw several people griping about the eyes and how they seem out of place in the more realistic Marvel cinematic universe. I mean, we already have a giant green rage monster, a purple android with a yellow cape and a talking space raccoon. Shutter eyes aren’t going to suddenly turnoff casual moviegoers.
Also, HE’S A TEENAGER WITH THE POWERS OF A SPIDER. Everyone relax.
3. Some Much-Needed Visual Diversity
Let’s face it, Marvel’s expanding universe could use a few more characters that look like actual superheroes. Captain America, Iron Man and Thor all look great, but characters like Hawkeye, Falcon and Scarlet Witch veer more toward realism than their comic book roots.
That’s why the arrival of the Vision was so exciting. With the addition of Spider-Man and Black Panther, we’re going to get fight scenes that look a whole lot closer to the kind of stuff fans read in Marvel Comics every month.
Comic book movie fans who had to endure the dark ages pre-Iron Man don’t need to see any more superheroes grounded in realism. Save that stuff for television. Let the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. run around in suits and give characters like Hawkeye a proper mask. He doesn’t even need shutter eyes like Spidey, so people probably wouldn’t mind.
So those are my thoughts – hopefully you agree and are equally excited to see the new Spider-Man in action. If not, let me know below. No matter which side you’re on – regarding the eyes, that is – I think we can all agree that the very fact Sony’s Spider-Man is in a Marvel Studios film is enough reason to be happy.