Spider-Man's ‘Homecoming' Dance

Why the reworking of the Webslinger's old TV theme bodes well for his new movie.

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" soundtrack composer Michael Giacchino launched holiday weekend fireworks worthy of a Daily Bugle front page with his orchestrated version of the Webslinger's jazzy 1967 cartoon TV show theme.

Giacchino's VEVO post further stoked already skyscraper high anticipation for the flick, which opens Friday at a friendly neighborhood theater near you. But more significantly, the new take on an old tune marked the latest promising signal that the third rendering of the Spider-Man saga in 15 years will return Peter Parker to his amazing roots.

Spidey's brief foray in last year’s “Captain America: Civil War” offered a taste of the anti-hero of the early Stan Lee-Steve Ditko comic book years: a raw, wisecracking teenager whose bravado masks a nerd’s web of insecurities and fears. The trailers for "Homecoming" only bolstered hopes for a return to form after 2014’s just-okay “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

It's risky business introducing a new Spidey in his own film a mere three years later. The Marvel icon also arrives as a late entry in what’s become the summer of DC’s “Wonder Woman."

But the “Homecoming” creative team is banking on mixing an old-school approach with updated elements. The casting – which includes Zendaya as love interest Mary Jane Watson and Tony Revolori as schoolyard bully Flash Thompson – reflects current-day Queens, the most diverse place in the country. Tom Holland is 21 – the youngest cinematic Spider-Man yet, and very passable as a high schooler. 

The adults in Parker's life deviate from the script of the original comics, if not the spirit. Robert Downey, Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), who serves as Parker’s verbal Ping-Pong opponent and mentor. Aunt May is a young widow played by 52-year-old Marisa Tomei, a far cry from the white-haired, physically frail Parker Family rock of comic book lore.

Tomei was toddler when the cartoon series debuted and sparked dreams of movies that took 35 years and storytelling technology leaps to realize. The TV theme song looms in the pop culture, spawning renditions from “The Simpsons Movie” goof ("Spider-Pig") to a comic courtship dance in the early 2000s British sitcom "Coupling" to Aerosmith's grinding cover for the first  “Spider-Man” theatrical soundtrack in 2002.

The song has made aural cameos in various Spidey flicks, much like comic book god Lee in his human form. Giacchino’s instrumental interpretation offers the latest grand variation on a theme. Even if some of it soars and veers in interesting new directions, the song largely remains the same.

Theme (from "Spider Man") [Original Television Series] by Michael Giacchino on VEVO.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0D3AOldjMU]

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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