Where can Marvel take Tom Holland’s fourth Spider-Man film?

Where can Marvel take Tom Holland’s fourth Spider-Man film?

Where do you go when you have taken everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler from the streets of Queens to space, the multiverse and beyond? That’s the question facing Marvel as the studio ponders quite what to do next with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, who looks as if he might finally be getting that fourth headline big screen outing, just as we all need him more than ever before.

Rumour suggests the ever-reliable Justin Lin is being lined up to take charge of the next episode in Peter Parker’s adventures. The subscription-only The Insneider suggests the new movie will shoot in September or October, with Holland returning as a newly isolated Spidey living in a world where nobody knows his identity, after the climactic events of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Naturally, Zendaya’s MJ will also be returning, and it’s likely we’ll also see Jacob Batalon’s Ned.

The new beginning for Spider-Man means we could easily imagine him engaged in the kind of street-level antics that some of the greatest Marvel comics have essayed over the decades, perhaps taking on the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, or a new version of the Green Goblin (though who wouldn’t prefer to see Willem Dafoe somehow returning to the role). On the other hand, there could be more multiversal excursions in the company of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s alternate reality Spider-Men, though you wonder if that’s a trick that can’t be pulled off too regularly before feeling tired.

If MJ really is returning, there will need to be a catalyst for the restoration of her memories of Peter. Given that Doctor Strange seems to know who Spider-Man is in Multiverse of Madness, despite magicking up a reality in which everyone has forgotten the wall-crawler’s true identity, it seems likely that there are ways around this sinister spell. Even if that’s not the case, we would do well to remember that most Spider-Man stories work perfectly well with an incognito Parker – it is only recently in the movies (after Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio told the whole world who he was) that this well-worn trope has been turned on its head.

It would be just like Marvel at its insouciant, irreverent best to resolve the “MJ doesn’t know who Spider-Man is” issue in the new episode’s first five minutes, therefore avoiding at least an hour of will she, won’t she, work out who he is shenanigans, as per a dozen superhero flicks of the past – notably the Richard Donner cut of Superman II.

Alternatively, the studio could lean into the idea that Peter Parker no longer exists, as far as the wider world is aware, but Spider-Man himself remains a going concern. That feels like a strange and lonely existence for the webslinger, who has always seemed happiest in the company of others. There have even been rumours that compare the new Parker to Robert Pattinson’s languid and isolated Bruce Wayne in The Batman, and while it was an utterly bizarre and brilliant superhero flick that Matt Reeves delivered, the idea of a moody Spidey episode feels a little too close to Maguire’s terrible emo swaggering in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 to be an entirely comforting prospect.

In many ways, it feels as if Holland’s Spider-Man has simply done too much, too young – he is still supposed to be in his teens during the events of No Way Home, despite the actor himself being 27 – to suddenly become a figure who’s only purpose is to keep the streets of New York clean of criminals. This is a guy who broke the multiverse and helped bring down Thanos. What exactly was the point of showing him Stark-teched up to the max in Far from Home, if Spider-Man 2.0 is going to become such a diminished, down-to-earth champion of the weak?

Don’t get me wrong. I adore everyone’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man as much as the next slavering Marvel fan, and would happily watch him bickering with J Jonah Jameson and rescuing MJ from burning buildings for another trilogy of movies. But one of the reasons Holland’s wall-crawler stands out from his predecessors is that he exists in a much, much bigger world than any we ever saw in the Sony movies. Is making him, once again, a giant Spidey-fish in a tiny NYC arachno-pond really the way forward?

Source: theguardian.com