The Spider-Man ship has been righted thanks to Spider-Man: Homecoming. With Marvel Studios producing the new reboot film and bringing the web-slinger into the MCU, the resurgent franchise is once again making blockbuster money and earning great reviews. There was even one Andrew Garfield joke in Spider-Man: Homecoming that you might have missed, and it's just another reason why this is probably the greatest Spider-Man movie ever made.
In the movie, Peter Parker's love interest is a senior at his high school named Liz. As far as he knows, she doesn't think much of him, but in one scene he finds out that she actually has a big crush on his alter-ego, Spider-Man. She's talking with some friends about their superhero crushes when she admits that Spidey is her personal favorite. This prompts one of the other kids to say something along the lines of, "Ew, he's probably like 30." Now, the last Spider-Man film before this one was 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which starred Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Garfield played a high schooler in the film, and you guessed it, he was 30 years old while filming it. Contrast this with Homecoming star Tom Holland, who's far more convincing as a high schooler thanks to the fact that he was still a teenager less than a month the movie began filming (he turned 20 just 19 days before production began). Get it?
Having an older actor trying to portray a realistic high schooler was one of the main criticisms directed at the Garfield-led franchise, and casting an actor who's a decade younger for Homecoming certainly makes for a more realistic high school setting. But the movie didn't stop there. There was a real effort to make the high school setting of Homecoming feel like an actual high school of today, and it shows. This was accomplished not only by casting younger actors, but also by casting more diverse actors, making the high school kids a mix of races and ethnicities. And for a high school in Queens in 2017, that's pretty much what you'd expect.
The supporting characters' traits have also all been updated. Flash Thompson is no longer a beefy jock — the 1960s version of a bully — he's now a spoiled rich kid who DJs and makes fun of Peter verbally with a gross nickname, but he never intimidates him physically. Love interest Liz isn't a cheerleader, she's an academic decathlon captain who cares more about her future than she does about boys. Michelle, AKA MJ, is perhaps the most woke character to ever appear in a superhero movie. I believed all of these characters as high school students, which is something I couldn't say about any of the previous five Spider-Man movies.
Spider-Man: Homecoming's Andrew Garfield joke may not have been intentional (though I'm betting it was), but it points to the bigger picture here, which is that the new Spider-Man is not the old Spider-Man. The studio listened to the fans after the poorly received Amazing franchise and made a realistic high school Spidey movie, and I can't wait to see what they do with the next one.