JJJ hasn’t made a film appearance since the original trilogy starring Tobey Maguire and directed by Sam Raimi. In those films, he could always be seen screaming for more pictures of Spider-Man for his newspaper (although hopefully he was thinking of the Daily Bugle’s online presence as well) and then using one of two phrases to describe the images he received: crap, or mega crap.
Years before the birth of Marvel Studios and Samuel L. Jackson’s 110 percent perfect panel-to-screen performance as Nick Fury, Simmons’s fan-favorite portrayal of the classic Spider-Man nemesis received wild applause and chef’s kisses from audiences for its stunningly humorous comic-book accuracy. While the original Spider-Man trilogy is almost two decades old, those JJJ scenes have aged like a fine wine.
That’s why the decision to bring Simmons back — after plenty of time to rest his vocal cords for all that screaming — was such a genius move by director Jon Watts.
Watts, Sony and Marvel Studios were smart enough to realize that any new live-action Spider-Man world — even one as spectacular as they’ve built with this new Tom Holland-led franchise — would be incomplete without JJJ. And Simmons’s portrayal is so spot-on that an attempt to recast would be a disservice to fans.
It’s telling that we can easily move on to our third live-action iteration of the superhero, but there’s only one J. Jonah Jameson. Imagine that.
Simmons never came back in the reboots with Andrew Garfield, and we’re all the better for it. Once we see him in that “Far From Home” credits scene, hosting his own alarmist show and shouting about how horrible Spider-Man is, you realize that he’s exactly where he needed to be.
Now we can only hope this wasn’t just a one-time thing. Could Simmons return to the role in future Spider-Man movies? Is this the beginning of him having a major role in this new cinematic universe? Or was this just a knowing tip of the cap to an all-time comic-book movie performance?
Whether we hear future screams for more pictures of Spider-Man or not, we can all at least bask in the brilliance of this well-executed Spidey-surprise.