Watch This Behind-the-Scenes Clip of the Washington Monument Stunt in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 - 10:34AM
Comic Book Movies
Marvel
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Yes
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 - 10:34AM
Watch This Behind-the-Scenes Clip of the Washington Monument Stunt in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'
Image credit: MTV
For years now, Spider-Man movies have been built around the same camera trick that got Adam West up a grappling rope in the Sixties Batman TV show. Simply build a "wall" on the ground, turn the camera sideways, and let an actor crawl along it. For Spider-Man Homecoming's Washington Monument scene, though, this seemed like it would be far too easy. So Marvel did the effect for real, because when you're Marvel, why not actually get a teenage actor to climb up the side of a national monument?

Of course, filming on the real Washington Monument would have been impossible, so instead the team built huge replica pieces of the structure on a green screen set, attached a wire to Tom Holland, and pulled him slowly up their fake wall while the cameras were rolling. The result of all this extra effort? Well, you probably didn't notice the effect, but maybe that's the point.

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As Homecoming heads over to Blu-Ray and digital download (and DVD for those who still stubbornly refuse to embrace more modern video formats), Marvel has released a short but sweet behind the scenes featurette detailing the impressive effort that went into making this scene's wall crawling feel real and believable.

It's interesting to compare the practical work that was done on Homecoming with other similar effects in previous superhero movies. In Captain America: Civil War, for example, there's almost no "real" Spider-Man action, as everything is created after the fact by computers—something that can be spotted when you compare the costume Tom Holland wore on set with the version of Spider-Man that we got in the final movie.



It's also worth noting the amount of motion capture work Holland did on Civil War. While this also happened for Homecoming, it's interesting that the movie aimed for realism by physically creating a replica of the Washington Monument in order to capture genuine movement on screen. The one advantage that a vertical wall provides over the traditional horizontal set method is that it allows for an instant look at how well the footage works—plus, presumably, director Jon Watts really just wanted to throw Tom Holland off a building over and over again.

It's likely that large chunks of this movie were built around an expectation that Holland would be able to deliver something that we haven't seen in a solo Spider-Man movie before. The actor was chosen in large part because of his talent as a gymnast and dancer, so having a wall for him to interact with, flip off, and act against, makes sense considering his particular skill set. It's makes for a stronger Spider-Man performance than we got from the relatively inflexible Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield.

The result is a movie with action set pieces that feel more believable than anything we've seen thus far from Spidey—a reflection, no doubt, of the practical effects like the Washington Monument scene, which help ground the piece in reality even as audiences watch a teenage boy do whatever a spider can.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Comic Book Movies
Marvel
Spider-Man: Homecoming
No
Yes