IT’S NOT the notes you play, the old jazz adage goes, but rather the notes you don’t play.
For the third filmic reboot of Spider-Man in 15 years, Sony and Marvel were determined to create an experience that feels as fresh as viral-video improvisation. And to capture the spirit of youthful thrills, they decided to toss out some of the franchise’s notable but played-out trills.
“One of the first things we did was make a list of stereotypes,” says Jonathan Goldstein, who teamed on the screenplay for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (opening Friday) with writing partner John Francis Daley (the duo behind “Horrible Bosses”).
“Like us, [director] Jon [Watts] was very wary of treading the same territory that was tread before,” Daley tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “He wanted to make a film that people hadn’t seen before.”
One of the visual notes they decided not to play was a particularly iconic special effect from Sam Raimi’s three Spidey films starring Tobey Maguire. In “Homecoming,” the screenwriters say, you won’t see Spider-Man swinging from a gleaming Manhattan skyscraper. With young Tom Holland now in the costume, after all, this Peter Parker looks like a 15-year-old super-rookie from Queens — not a polished Midtown web-slinger.
Unlike that first Raimi film, in fact, you won’t even see the famed bite of a radioactive spider that transforms Peter. Just too familiar in 2017. Cross another visual off the screenwriters’ list.
In “Homecoming,” we don’t even see Uncle Ben living with Peter — his only guardian is Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Thus, we don’t get a father figure directly intoning, “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Paternal advice from Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark comes across as both more wry and more exasperated.)
And in Daley and Goldstein’s update, Peter Parker — long a dogged photojournalist — doesn’t even get to be a newspaperman. Instead, Peter wields a smartphone to shoot a personal video diary.
“That’s our version of his Daily Bugle,” Daley says. “We didn’t want him working for the paper because we’ve seen it before, so this is our modern version of that.”
Perhaps the freshest visual, though, comes from this being the first film in Sony’s solo Spider-Man series that lets him play with other Avengers.
Merely putting Iron Man on screen gives viewers an element that, in the screenwriters’ words, “we’ve never seen before.”