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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Who The Hell Is Tom Holland?

For a little while during Marvel Studios’ search for the next Spider-Man, once they’d announced they were going for a Peter Parker rather than a Miles Morales (Who could ONLY be played by Donald Glover now anyway), it seemed as if every white male of the right age, height and weight was being herded through the studio, with Kevin Feige roughly examining their teeth and groping their muscles like the slave trader in Gladiator.

And now at last we have our Spider-Man, and my reaction, and possibly many of yours, was, ‘Who the hell is that? Why do we need this infant taking on the role?’

I’m biased, I don’t think Andrew Garfield got a fair crack of the whip. The films he was in couldn’t quite escape from their origins as a soulless cash-in, or their desperate need to retell Spider-Man’s origin again (please god not a third time!), but Garfield himself was an outstanding Peter Parker and he found himself to be mercifully free of that unfortunate affliction, Maguireface.

The struggle is real.

Would it really have hurt to let him carry on the role? Appearing in Civil War could have been a nice leg-up for the next movie in that particular Spider-trilogy.

Instead we’re starting again, again. That’s three incarnations of the same character in little more than a dozen years. The X-Men series that started two years before is still going, and that’s had a more than a few wobbles, but Fox stuck it out and they’ve reaped the rewards.

Still, the deal is done now and Spider-Man has been (sort of) brought into the Marvel Studios fold, which is probably for the best, but who is this kid who’ll be playing Marvel’s biggest hero for at least a couple of films?

I’ll tell you,

It’s this kid…

The one in the middle.

He’s Lucas from 2012’s weepie-disaster-porn The Impossible, the heroic kid who basically saves the life of his gravely wounded mother (Naomi Watts) after the Boxing Day Tsunami. He also had a supporting role more recently in the excellent Wolf Hall, but we’ll focus on the role of Lucas for now.

After the tsunami totally messes up their holiday, Lucas and his mother have to journey across the wrecked landscape to find help and medical attention. Over the course of the film, visibly, Lucas learns for the first time that his parents are mortal, his mother may well die, and he has to grow up fast to save her. This is subtly and superbly acted by young Holland, and for me this kind of emotional core is pure Spider-Man, a young man forced to man up and be the hero, while at heart he’s still a kid. We know from comments made by Marvel that they want to focus more on Peter Parker juggling high school and super heroics, so I reckon this coming-of-age-under-duress stuff may have contributed to him landing the role, and fills me with some confidence that he might do a decent job. Though, as poor Andrew Garfield has proved, this is not always enough to stop your franchise being dropped down the memory hole and rebooted.

In short, Tom Holland: He’ll do.

Don’t let me down kid!

"Embittered ex-cinema projectionist spews his bile onto the crumbling, post-digital movie industry!" Also likes history, tabletop games, the original xbox, loud guitars, long walks on the beach, and comics.

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