Marvel was in a tough spot with the re-introduction of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War.
How do you make the character look different from his previous big-screen adaptations, while still retaining his classic costume — which both previous franchises stuck to pretty closely.
Well, the answer turned out to be deceptively simple: it’s all in the eyes.
In the new Captain America: Civil War trailer, Tom Holland’s version of the Wall Crawler finally made his debut, and the most striking thing about it? The eyes … they actually moved!
To the layman this might not mean much, but for us Spidey purists, this is the equivalent of a new Kendrick Lamar album being released in the dead of night. Yeah, it's that big.
In the comics, pretty much from the beginning, artists have always depicted the eyes on Spider-Man's mask as having the ability to emote, most notably from artist and co-creator Steve Ditko. It's been a staple of the books, cartoons, toys and T-shirts since the '60s, but up until now, live-action has basically ignored it.
But today is a good day, Spider-fans:
How does a static cloth mask have emotive eyes, you ask? Well, we're talking about a character that can walk on walls while still wearing shoes, so anything resembling logic is pretty far in the rearview mirror. The fact that these eyes move is more than an aesthetic choice, though, because they actually help tell a story.
These eyes show us what Peter Parker is thinking under that webbed mask when we can't get into his head. Confusion, anger, pain — it’s all there, and now it's finally, FINALLY, coming to the big screen after 14 years of patience and message board grumbling.
In theory, this will add an extra dimension to the character, letting the audience connect to Peter's state of mind, even while he still has his mask on. There's a reason Sam Raimi and Mark Webb always had their Spidey take his mask off — the face was frozen in one emotion, and without getting into Peter's head, you can never feel his emotion. You can't sell the drama of the moment without the emotions, right?
Now that problem is solved (in theory), and we might finally get a Spider-Man that keeps his mask on during battle (again, in theory). No more maskless Spidey compromising his secret identity to any wannabe TMZer with a smartphone. And, hopefully, no more Spidey tears....
It’s a small bit of detail, but it's one that could fundamentally change the way the Wall Crawler is handled visually for years to come.
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6.