Films

Here’s why Spider-man doesn’t look like you thought he would in the new Captain America trailer

The Captain America: Civil War trailer looks exciting as hell, and brings with it our first look at the new incarnation of Spider-man, played by tiny 19-year-old Brit Tom Holland (not to be confused with tiny 48-year-old Brit Tom Hollander from Rev).

Something people have immediately noticed about the trailer is that this Spider-man looks a bit different to the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions. His costume is a bit less badass-looking and a bit more spandexy, but with something pretty interesting going on in the eye department. Let's do it piece by piece.

  • Here's why Spider-man doesn't look like you thought he would in the new Captain America trailer

    Webbing and Fabric

    The webbing on Maguire's costume was raised, the webbing on Garfield's (left Spider-man) was sunken in, and here on Holland it's just an outline. Two outlines, in fact. It's subtle - he just looks red from a distance really.

    Rather than the "scuba diver from the future" texture of previous Spider-men, the new costume looks more like it's made out of the stuff they make ladies' swimming costumes out of.

  • Here's why Spider-man doesn't look like you thought he would in the new Captain America trailer 1

    Spiders

    Here's where it starts to get interesting (and there's a reason we're leaving the eyes until last). The last two cinematic iterations of the web-slinger have featured long, angular spiders on the chest and back, while this new one opts for a more oval-bodied blobby one. It might seem a bit less badass and pizzazz-y, but it's a lot more reminiscent of Spidey's earliest comic appearances. Spider-man co-creator Steve Ditko drew a blobby spider on his chest in 1962, and later artist John Romita Sr refined it starting in 1966. This version is very reminiscent of Romita's Spider-man, pretty much the definitive comic portrayal.

  • Here's why Spider-man doesn't look like you thought he would in the new Captain America trailer 2

    EYES

    So this is awesome. Moving eyes on a mask have always been difficult for audiences to accept, although Deadpool made it work pretty beautifully. We'll accept certain things in drawn and animated form that we just won't in "live-action". This Iron Man cover, for instance, makes no sense whatsoever but works on the printed page. It would seem incredibly stupid if Tony Stark's helmet suddenly gained the ability to grimace on screen. The way the film seems to have got around this with Spider-man is with mechanical eyes (you can hear a slight whirr as they move in the trailer) based on Ditko's original design. By being movable in a way that full-face masks, well, aren't, this should allow for actual emotion to come across from a character whose face you can't see, in a way that doesn't break the reality of the film.

    TL;DR VERSION

    The influence of the early Spider-man comics is clear in his costume in this new trailer, which it's hard not to take as encouraging.