Spider-Man: Homecoming is a big film for the character. Spider-Man was not in a good place after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with many (including myself) wondering how would they recover. People weren’t taking to the reboot and for good reason. On February 9th, 2015, the unthinkable happened. Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures managed to come to an agreement where both studios co-produce a Spider-Man film set in the MCU. The internet freaked out. Finally, Spider-Man can fight alongside other heroes like Iron Man and Captain America. Here we are two years later and that moment is finally here; Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Does Spider-Man: Homecoming live up to the hype? Let’s find out! Before we go any further know that I will go into very minor spoilers. Nothing major (you’ve seen most of it in the trailers), but you’ve been warned.
The film starts with a flashback to New York after the Avengers battle with Loki. Here we get our first look at the film’s villain, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). He’s apart of a company called Damage Control. They specialize in cleaning up the messes our heroes make after every Marvel movie. This opening gives us a great look at Toomes’ character, and why he becomes the Vulture. We then have another “flashback”- this one is about Spider-Man (Tom Holland) getting ready for the airport battle from Captain America: Civil War. It’s shown as a vlog filmed by Peter Parker himself. While this was a great opening, the first-person camera angle started to give me a headache. Thankfully it didn’t too long and the film jumps to present day. From these two scenes, we get a great look at the hero and villain. On one hand, Toomes is a guy who lost his job and is just trying to survive by selling black-market weapons. This is the only way he can provide care for his family, and he’s just trying to take care of the people he loves. On the other hand, we see Peter trying to handle everything his new life throws at him. Peter is with the Avengers, the superheroes that the world looks up to. Both had their lives changed because of the Avengers, and they’re affected in completely different ways. It’s a great parallel and sets up both of their arcs for the rest of the film.
As the film moves to present day, Peter is pretty much an Avengers backup. He wants to go on missions and live in Avengers Tower, but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) wants him to lay low for a while, to be a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man”. This is the main plot point of the film. Peter has to prove to Stark, Happy (Jon Favreau), and most importantly himself that he can be just as heroic as the Avengers. This is a coming of age story at its core, and that’s what drives the story. Peter is eager, willing, and very good at what he does. But he’s also sloppy and unprepared for Avenger-level jobs. Holland does a great job as Peter Parker. He found that balance of childlike innocence, nerdiness, and awkwardness that Garfield and Maguire couldn’t quite hit. I can’t say he’s better than the others, but he certainly checks the boxes when I think of Spider-Man.Veterans Downey, Favreau, and Keaton are all great. Downey makes his presence known, but he doesn’t overstay his welcome. He is always a joy to watch and here is no different. Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan was also good, he was annoying (in a good way) and I wish he got a little more to do here, but it’s Happy Hogan. Michael Keaton as the Vulture is a great villain, but he didn’t get enough development. It feels like one day, he just woke up and said: “I think I’m going to become a super villain!”. He went from 0-60 extremely fast. Aside for that, he’s a really solid antagonist. His motives make sense, his “evil scheme” is surprisingly really good, and he can be terrifying when he needs to be. The good easily out ways the bad. They all brought their A game, even the younger actors were great.
The film spends a lot of time at Peter’s school, giving it a John Hughes vibe. They even have Ferris Bueller’s Day Off playing in the background.That’s not something you see in your average comic book movie; I thought it was enjoyable, but it might not work for everyone. Peter and his best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Balaton) have great chemistry. Ned acts exactly how anyone would if they found out their best friend was Spider-Man. He geeks out the entire time. Every one of Peter’s classmates did well with what they were given. Laura Harrier was great as Liz, I wanted to punch Flash (Tony Revolori) in the face (that’s good for someone playing a bully), and Zendaya was incredible at playing a person. While Zendaya’s character is good, there is this running gag with her that goes on and on, and it gets tiresome halfway through the movie. The film is loaded with comedy, not always good comedy but comedy nonetheless. When it lands, it sticks it, but sometimes it falls flat on its face. Also, Marisa Tomei is in this movie. She doesn’t play much of a role, but it’s worth mentioning.
The film is not action heavy. It’s more character driven than I expected, and that was a pleasant surprise. It relies on its heart, humor, and cast to carry the film. It’s a Marvel movie, but it’s different enough to stand out. Spider-Man: Homecoming reminded me why I love Spider-Man. Director Jon Watts managed to create a beautiful coming of age story, about a kid learning where he belongs in the world, granted on a much larger scale. The film is gorgeous; the use of colors and lighting really stand out. Watts work on this film shouldn’t be understated. Somehow Spider-Man managed to find a corner of the ever-growing Marvel Universe that hasn’t been explored [until now], and I can’t wait to see more.
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