Let the river run! Not since Working Girl has New York City’s Staten Island Ferry gotten so much onscreen time as it does in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film is in many ways a love letter to the Other New York City that exists beyond the glittering isle of Manhattan. As in the original ’60s comics in which he debuted, Peter Parker is an outer-borough kid, and director Jon Watts’ film pays homage to that — from a soundtrack that features Queens rockers the Ramones to a scene that includes an only-in-New York bodega cat (named Murph!) and buildings tagged by spray-paint art. (Sharp-eyed viewers will see the names of former Spider-Man comic artists in the graffiti sprawled across the rooftops.) “Peter Parker is from Queens,” Watts says. “All the other [Spider-Man] movies were in Times Square or the Financial District. That’s the tourist version of New York City.”
[Minor spoilers ahead] So when it came time to film a climactic battle between Spider-Man and the Vulture, why not set it on the Staten Island Ferry? The ferry is split almost in half during the fight, which meant that while a set was constructed in Atlanta for part of it, the actual Staten Island Ferry was a part of the action. “The only real flaw is that [in our movie] there are cars on the ferry, and there haven’t been cars allowed since the ’90s,” Watts says. “So I’ll declare that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they never had these rules.”
Watts also says that Homecoming is the first film to shoot on the actual vessel. “I like to think it’s because it’s Spider-Man and he’s a hometown hero.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters now.