Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige previously discussed the tone of the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, comparing it to the classic teen films of John Hughes. That’s a pretty high bar to set for the franchise, but an admirable aspiration all the same. It’s a challenge that director Jon Watts seems capable of taking on, and while we don’t know too much just yet about his plans, Watts has opened the door just a crack to give us a peek at what he has in store for Spidey.

Watts landed the Spider-Man reboot job thanks to his work on Cop Car, the upcoming indie drama that was very well-received at Sundance earlier this year. That film centers on two adolescent boys who steal a sheriff’s car, only to discover that the car — and the sheriff — hides some dark secrets. Watts proved his understanding of boyhood with Cop Car, and it’s that particular perspective that proved to Marvel and Sony that this is their guy.

And though you may find that Tom Holland looks a bit young to play Peter Parker, Watts explains to EW why he’s perfect for the role:

 

He can be a real high school student. That’s why people love Spider-Man. He’s the most grounded, relatable of superheroes. And Tom can really do that. He captures that. And he can do a standing back-flip. He’s perfect.

 

Hollywood has long had a habit of casting college-age adults as high school teens, and high school teens as kids in junior high, and so on. Holland looks quite young, but he’s actually the right age for the part.

Watts couldn’t say too much about his plans, though he did speak briefly about working with the overall continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Holland’s Spidey making his debut in Captain America: Civil War before appearing in his new solo adventure.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein (the guys behind Vacation and Horrible Bosses) spoke to USA Today about the reboot, and they doubled down on Watts’ sentiment about a “grounded” Peter Parker:

 

The tone will be really grounded, about a real kid who gets these powers and what that means with a geeky, outcast kid and how he deals with them… You don’t instantly become a superhero, it’s a long journey. [Peter Parker] is spending a lot more time in high school. And so we have time to sort of develop the powers with him and experience the wish fulfillment. And also just the fact that it’s really alienating to other people.

 

However you feel about Daley and Goldstein’s comedic film output, Daley does have quite a bit of experience working in the awkward, coming-of-age genre — he previously starred on Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks series as gawky teen Sam Weir.

Our new Peter Parker will appear in Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, followed by the new solo Spider-Man film on July 28, 2017.

 

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