Jewish movie mogul promising more “Spidey”

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By Dan Buffa, Special to the Jewish Light

Less than three weeks before “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released in theaters, Sony chairperson Amy Pascal is already promising Marvel Cinematic Universe fans more “Spidey” adventures–with Tom Holland in the lead role.

The Jewish film producer told Fandango that the latest sequel-which would be the third solo film starring Holland-isn’t the end of the road for the 25-year-old British actor’s time playing Peter Parker.

According to Pascal, Sony is breaking new ground with Marvel and expanding the web reach for everyone’s lovable New York crimefighter with three new movies. If this new total would be correct, that would reposition Holland as the official face of the M.C.U. He would be below only Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson in most M.C.U. appearances. Come to think of it, a fourth of Holland’s IMDB film bio is planted in Parker’s shoes.

But is that a bad thing? Both 2017’s “Homecoming” and 2019’s “Far From Home” were stellar superhero adventure movies, and there are plenty of ways to tie relatively new to Marvel heroes and future antagonists in these upcoming “Spider-Man” films. The big hook in December’s “No Way Home” is the unhealthy opening of the multiverse, which brings new problems to Holland’s teenage crusader’s world. New problems provide stories for movies, which Marvel has vastly improved with this particular hero.

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Tom Holland
Tom Holland

Recognized or not, Holland is moving into Downey Jr.’s role as the face of the company, and Pascal’s comments confirm that. Any other actor in Marvel signing a three-picture deal before the latest movie opens? It’s a great position to be in.

Some film critics and fans think this will lock Holland into Marvel headquarters forever, and I disagree. He is only 25, and has nothing new announced on the Internet Movie Database at this moment, not including the proposed new trilogy. “Uncharted” with Mark Wahlberg opens early next year when the new “Spider-Man” film would most likely start shooting.

So, he’s free and clear to jump into Parker with both arms. Remember, playing this role hasn’t hindered his chances to stretch. If more people had seen and dealt with his bold 2020 war drama, “Cherry,” some patience, they’d believe in that notion. Along with that Russo Brothers-directed feature, he starred in another dark drama, “The Devil All the Time” last year as well. Risky roles with an edge will continue, upcoming trilogy or not. Holland has established that already.

It would be refreshing to see an actor literally grow into the role of Parker, instead of seeing the role tossed along every 5-10 years. While the Miles Morales adventures in “The Spider-Verse” is great, it’s a separate animated feature that could perhaps swing into Holland’s Parker world sometime down the road. Holland wasn’t even 21 when “Captain America: Civil War” came out.

He looks like a youthful hero thrown into a role with responsibilities that take time. Seeing him grow into the role as he gets older in real life, gaining experience and film credits along the way, is a wise course for Pascal, Sony, and Marvel CEO Kevin Feige to take. With the faulty box office performance of “Eternals,” hitching your wagon to the endlessly likable Holland represents safe travels for cinema’s largest player.

Pascal seems to think so. In her eyes, the new sequel coming out shortly will seal just the first trilogy of “Spider-Man” films with Holland.

“I would say that it’s the culmination of the ‘Homecoming’ trilogy, of the story of Tom Holland becoming the Spider-Man that we’ve all been waiting for him to be,” Pascal told Fandango’s Erik Davis.

Expect an “I am Iron Man” type moment at the end of the new movie: a little confirmation after the culmination. Peter Parker may not be able to go back home, but “Spider-Man” sure has one for the foreseeable future.