After being introduced to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, there were a lot of high hopes for the boy in his solo outing. His first time suiting up was incredibly memorable, and left a lasting impression on everyone throughout the film, so naturally, Homecoming would follow suit, wouldn’t it?
I can safely say that you won’t be disappointed with Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s a good movie, with fantastic characters. Hit the jump for my full thoughts.
The film sets the bar for Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes almost immediately, with the opening coming right after the Battle for New York. It’s a soft moment, that shows how down-to-earth he is, while still willing to do what’s necessary. It’s also the moment he comes to a realization about the world. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is far and away one of the best things about this film, and he’s absolutely one of the best villains the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced. Or is it the Sony’s Marvel Universe that has him? I’m not quite sure. But he’s great.
Tom Holland also continues to shine immensely in his role as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He quips and barbs thugs and thieves with seemingly no effort, while easily becoming a lovable street-level hero for New York to associate with. His relationships with his best friend, Ned, are fleshed out to the point the two have an elaborate secret handshake, and in-jokes between each other. Even the relationship with Aunt May has an unspoken backstory that adds depth and tragedy to the young boy’s life. In fact, that’s one of the films most powerful choices. We’re never shown Peter’s origin, or what happened to Uncle Ben in this universe. We’re only told by Peter that she must never know his secret, “not after what she’s been through.”
The supporting cast is also fleshed out in ways that are interesting, and new, to this world. Ned is excitable in a way we can all relate to, but is still one of the most thoughtful and intelligent characters, bringing up points and a clear understanding of the danger his best friend is in. Zendaya’s character, Michelle, is an eccentric mystery throughout the film, as her au naturale appearance and millennial mindset works well to bolster her strength and confidence. Her big “reveal” near the end is a bit of a shock to the system, and also a bit hard to imagine, but we’ll trust later movies to address it.
The story is fairly straightforward, and serves its purpose as one of the most grounded and realistic we’ve seen in a comic book movie in quite some time. Films are constantly wanting to raise the stakes, with bigger and bigger threats. Avengers: Age of Ultron raised an entire city into the sky, and dropped it like a nuclear weapon onto a war-torn country. But, the biggest pieces of collateral damage in Spider-Man: Homecoming are a ferry boat, with no injuries, and a carnival tower. It’s refreshing to see a film not worry itself over stakes, and put more precedence into character.
Peter is a young hero, with an itch to impress his new mentor. He’s trying so desperately to catch the eye of Tony Stark, and prove himself an Avenger, that he’s acting recklessly, and endangering himself. Something Stark wants to avoid, as his years of being a hero has opened his eyes to the dangers. While Vulture is a family man. Corrupted after 8 years of working in the shadows and building a small weapons empire right under the nose of the Avengers in New York. Now, with Spider-Man attempting to prove himself, Toomes sees everything he’s worked to build slowly crumble around him, forcing his hand.
My only complaint is the abundance of high school drama early in the film. While I understand that it’s necessary in some capacity to show just how much of a child Peter still is, it drags the film along at a crawl, until the second half when things start to pick up, and Peter’s worlds begin to collide. A minor issue, as I understand its purpose thematically, but an issue nonetheless.
Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming serves its purpose as a reminder that Peter Parker is a child, thrown into a world of Gods and super-powered beings. He’s sure of himself, and knows who he wants to be, but isn’t yet prepared for that weight. He’s clearly going to be a great choice to lead people back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the cosmic events of Avengers: Infinity War, and his personal story was one of the best the MCU has offered to date.