The MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE Knockout: Round 1 SPIDER-MAN - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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In which we do whatever a spider can - to find the best Spider-Man film.

The fifth match-up in Round 1 of our great Marvel Cinematic Universe movie knock-out features the two MCU Spider-Man movies. That's not to be confused with the two Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies or the three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies or Into The Spider-Verse or Venom or any other Spider-Man spin-off, remake or direct to video animation which Sony may have craftily released in between writing this and it being published.

So it's the two Tom Holland films which will be battling it out for a place in Round 2. We've already eliminated Iron Man 2 and 3, leaving the original 2008 offering, the debut movie in the MCU, to go forward to Round 2. Vol 1 of Guardians of the Galaxy has also been eliminated, in favour of Vol 2. Ant-Man and The Wasp lost out to the 2015 original, and last time Thor: Ragnarok reigned supreme as the top Thor film.

So without further ado, let's get to it and decide which of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man's adventures is the best, and is worthy of a spot in Round 2. Spoilers will feature from the off.

After the utter shite-fest of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which certainly was not amazing but was, indeed, a big number 2), Sony, who own the screen rights to Spider-Man, quite rightly became open to talks with Marvel about sharing the character. A deal was struck in February 2015, to integrate the webslinger into the MCU, and a few months later Tom Holland was cast.

I always liked Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. I mean the third film in Sam Raimi's trilogy was not the best, but Maguire made for a great Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield? Notsomuch. His tenure really only did two things for me - remind me how good Maguire was, and leave me with Spider-Man lethargy. So I can't say the news of the character joining the MCU so soon after TASM2 left me that excited. Especially since, chances were, there'd be yet another origin story.

I mean really? Does anyone actually need to see Spider-Man's origin again? Everybody knows it. His origins, along with Batman and Superman, just are so embedded in pop culture that babies are born fresh out of the womb with fully formed knowledge of Spider-Man's origin.

But in a simple moment of genius, the MCU did away with the obligatory origin story, instead introducing Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and then a simple throw away line about mutated spider in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Back up a minute to Civil War. Spider-Man's inclusion is totally unnecessary. It was really just a way for Marvel to say "Hey! Look who we got back!!". Completely unnecessary but oh-my-god so much fun. Tom Holland nailed it from the first scene, and all the excitement of having Spider-Man in the MCU came rushing in.

I love how Tony Stark has taken on the Uncle Ben role. And his passing in Endgame loomed so large over Far From Home. I love how Marissa Tomei's Aunt May is a really cool version of Aunt May. Homecoming suggested that there was an 'Uncle Ben' and referenced "all that she's been through" but it's great that she's not the frail, mourning widow we're used to. I love how Homecoming didn't go down the obvious villain route and re-hash the Green Goblin or Doc Oc or the likes. I love how they completely re-wrote the Vulture's origins and mashed it into the fallout of the first Avengers film. I love how Far From Home pulled the old switcheroo and made an incredibly astute commentary of the times we are living in.

In short, I really do have to applaud just how well Marvel have integrated Spider-Man / Peter Parker and everything from the character's world into the MCU. Both the films, Homecoming and Far From Home, would feature in my current top ten MCU movies, so picking between them is tough.

Far From Home deals with the events post-snap (or 'blip') in a way that no other MCU film could. It's done in a very irreverent way, and is actually the best way to handle it. If anything, and I mean this as a compliment as it was just what was needed, Far From Home plays less like a superhero movie and more like a teenage roadtrip film with occasional superhero elements. The irreverency carries across into other aspects of Spider-Man lore, "Peter Tingle" anyone, making this film the perfect lighter antidote to the heavy, game-changing events that preceded it.

That's not to say this film isn't a game-changer too, as the two end credits scenes really shake things up. Updating J. Jonah Jameson (and bringing J.K. Simmons back to the role) as a kind of Alex Jones Infowars character, and having him out Peter Parker as Spider-Man is one heck of a cliffhanger. Then topping that with the Skrulls/Nick Fury in space scene, it closes out Phase Three very nicely, whilst setting up both the next Spider-Man film and, what will clearly be, an important aspect of Phase Four.

Jake Gyllenhaal has a lot of fun with the role of Quentin Beck / Mysterio. He's very much a villain for our times. He controls the news cycle and, by making the most noise (with the aid of Twitter projector drones), makes people believe what he wants them to believe, regardless of the truth, to further his own agenda. Remind you of anyone?

Homecoming has two absolutely perfectly cast characters. After the brief Civil War cameo, it's here that we get to see just how perfect Tom Holland really is as Peter Parker / Spider-Man. Endearingly awkward in the high school civilian role, just how he should be. Heroic and cool when wearing the suit.

And I love the suit. Make that suits. The whole aspect of making Tony Stark his mentor, as such, works brilliantly. Adding 'training wheels' to the suit helps deliver a perfect non-origin origin story.

The other perfectly cast character is Michael Keaton as Adiran Toomes / Vulture. There's something which Keaton does better than anyone else in Hollywood, and he does it with such ease that it looks like he's not even trying. It's like Jeff Goldblum who just is Jeff Goldblum on screen. Almost as if it's a style of acting - Goldblumesque. Here Keaton delivers 100% pure Keatonesque. He's just brilliant, and he makes his character far, far more interesting than it really should be. And the Vulture reveal? Well, easily in my top three favourite scenes in any MCU movie. I totally did not see that coming. I mean, I should've done but I was so sucked in by the Keatonesque of it all, it was a total rug-pull moment.

Homecoming is the sort of film you watch, have the best time throughout, can't get it out of your head and so remain happy for days thinking about it. That's why it's my choice of the two current MCU Spider-Man movies to through to Round 2 of our Marvel Cinematic Universe Knockout.

Next time, we disassemble the four Avengers films. Only one will make it through to Round 2.

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