What Genre Marvel's Spider-Man Movie Will Fit Into

Since the start of “Phase Two,” Marvel Studios has worked to make their feature titles be more than just superhero movies. Instead, there has been a concentrated effort to focus on adding subgenres – which is why Captain America: The Winter Solider resembles a ‘70s conspiracy thriller, Iron Man 3 plays like a noir detective story, and Ant-Man functions as a heist flick. This has led many to wonder how director Jon Watts’ upcoming Spider-Man movie will wind up operating cinematically, and now I can confirm that the film will basically be a teen-centric coming-of-age story that just so happens to have a young dude with superpowers as its star.

It was Jon Watts himself who confirmed this update to me earlier today, as I had the opportunity to speak with both him and Kevin Bacon at the Los Angeles press day for their new movie, Cop Car. After a rousing discussion about the new darkly comedic thriller (which we’ll have more on later this week), I asked Watts about the genre approach that his next film will be taking, and while he couldn’t exactly elaborate too much, he straight-up confirmed that the new Spider-Man will find its central hero caught between adolescence and adulthood in a coming-of-age movie package. Of course, the challenge of this approach is implementing the action element that isn’t typical in this type of story, but that’s just one of the big things that he is currently working out with screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein. Said Watts,

That’s what we’re figuring out. We’re literally just getting started on the script. There’s a lot of great opportunities there.

This definitely makes a lot of sense – especially when you consider previous comments made by those attached to the new movie. On beyond comparisons that have been made between the project and a John Hughes film, one can’t ignore the fact that Tom Holland is much younger than any other actor to play Spider-Man before him, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that there is a plan to emphasize the sense of humor that the comic book hero is famous for. All of these ingredients come together to create a potential-filled recipe for a wonderful coming-of-age story.

So how could a Spider-Man story be formulated to fit the Hollywood mold of this kind of tale? Well, there’s the protagonist who feels like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders (Peter Parker), the beautiful young girl that he has spent years pining for (probably Gwen Stacy, but potentially Mary Jane Watson), and a plot that serves as a metaphor for the hero bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood. It will be interesting to look at the development of this feature through that lens.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Spider-Man will be swinging into theaters next year in Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War, but that will be followed by Jon Watts’ untitled Spider-Man movie in 2017 (which will go into production next summer). While you wait for those two features, go see Cop Car in theaters this weekend, and stay tuned for more of our coverage of the film.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.