The Marvel vs. DC movie rivalry exists almost exclusively in the minds of fans, so it's perhaps no surprise that Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland made a comment recently that might speak to the wisdom of one of Warner Bros.' most often-criticized DC film strategy.
What's more surprising is the idea that Holland made that comment not about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Wonder Woman, but about Captain America: Civil War.
During a recent interview, Holland said that he had been excited to give his Spider-Man a test drive in Captain America: Civil War, since doing so gave him the ability to respond to audience feedback in real time, before Homecoming was ever in front of the cameras.
"It was like the pre-exam," Holland said of his guest role in Civil War. "If I got it wrong, I'd know how to fix it by the first one. So, I was lucky that I had the opportunity to just test the water a little bit and see what the fans wanted to see. And it just turns out that they wanted to see my version."
While much of Batman v Superman was lambasted by fans and critics, Gal Gadot had much the same experience with her take on Wonder Woman, which drew acclaim in the superhero showdown and then carried that success over to her own, critically- and fan-beloved solo film.
What's interesting about this philosophy, and its relative success thus far, is the fact that DC/Warner has drawn a great deal of criticism for electing to introduce numerous characters in films like Batman v Superman and Justice League, rather than starting with solo movies and building up to the team-ups, as Marvel did.
There was concern that the characters would not be fully fleshed out enough, their motivations unclear, and that the "load-bearing" movie would suffer for it, bogged down in too much planning for the future to get right what it neeed to in the present. This is, generally speaking, what people blame for the failure of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Marvel's phenomenal success seemed to convince the moviegoing world that they had the formula, and when DC came along and consciously did not copy that formula, their strategy was first questioned, and then lambasted when it turned out that the resultant movies were not as universally beloved as Marvel's.
(We are going to accept that position for the sake of argument here and not address the relative responses to Marvel's and DC's first four films, which we accept will be tweeted at us soon after this story goes live. Thank you for your understanding.)
With "cautious optimism" seemingly the attitude around Zack Snyder's Justice League, and many of the most memorable moments from the trailer centering on characters not yet featured in their own solo films, one has to wonder whether Gadot and Holland will soon be in good company.
It's safe to say that Holland's portrayal of Spider-Man has been embraced since his Civil War debut. Homecoming was recently Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with our own Brandon Davis calling it the best on-screen film about the wall-crawler yet.
You can find the official synopsis for Homecoming below, which has a 4.13 out of 5 on ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings.
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
The cast includes Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, JacobBatalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, with MarisaTomei, and Robert Downey Jr. It also includes Jon Favreau, Martin Starr, KennethChoi, Michael Mando, Selenis Leyva, Isabella Amara, Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., JJTotah, and Hannibal Buress.
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