“Spider-man: Homecoming” is technically the sixth Spider-man film – and the second reboot, but it’s the first one that takes place in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Tom Holland’s second appearance as Peter Parker – who first debuted as the wall crawler in “Captain America: CIVIL WAR”.
Homecoming basically picks up right after the events of Civil War, and deals with the repercussions of “The Avengers” so you might be a little lost on a few details if you haven’t seen all three Captain America movies, all three Iron Man movies, and both Avengers movies. You’ll also probably want to see the previous Spidey movies, because this one completely skips the origin story this time around.
Sure, most people are probably fully aware of the whole radioactive spider thing and Uncle Ben’s “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” speech, but it actually kinda bugged me that they didn’t even briefly recap it, no flash back or anything. The spider is mentioned in passing, but poor Uncle Ben doesn’t get so much as a name drop. I get why they dropped it, but as a fan of the comics, it felt kinda wrong to not include it in this new version.
That small detail aside, the fact that Spider-man is finally teaming up with Iron Man on the big screen (just like in the comics) is nerdy dream come true! Really, the fact that this movie even exists is a miracle, and I hope the Sony / Disney partnership continues to prosper. Maybe one day, Fox will make a deal with Marvel and we’ll get to see Wolverine teaming up with the Avengers against the likes of Dr. Doom and Galactus. Hey, you never know…
In the movie, Peter Parker is back to being a high school kid, but this is probably the youngest on-screen version we’ve seen yet. I think it’s a good choice, because some of the absolute best Spider-man stories from the comics were about him being a teenager, dealing with all the things that come with that, from the original Stan Lee “Amazing Spider-man” issues to Brian Michael Bendis’s spectacular “Ultimate Spider-man” series. In the original Sam Raimi Spider-man movie, he graduates within the first 20 minutes or so. I just hope they don’t make him grow up too fast this time around, because there’s a lot of great story potential there.
Tom Holland returns as everyone’s favorite web-head from Queens. Tobey Maguire may have played a good Peter Parker, and Andrew Garfield was great as Spider-man, but Tom Holland manages to pull off both aspects of the character seamlessly. He’s just the right amount of nerdy and quippy. Garfield was funny, but ‘too cool’ and while Maguire was nerdy enough, he was just too goofy to really pull off the witty wise-cracking one-liners that Spider-man is known for. Holland on the other hand nails it. It also helps that he actually sounds like a kid from New York. Plus, you can tell he’s a nerd without putting glasses on him, which is a nice touch. He also pulls off the emotional beats like a pro. He’s relatable and somewhat vulnerable, but he also has an immense drive to do what’s right, regardless of what it costs him.
Michael Keaton was freaking awesome as the villain. I never really considered ‘The Vulture’ to be one of Spider-man’s more threatening villains, but Keaton’s take on the character is up there with Alfred Molina’s Doc-Ock. He’s cunning and remorseless, but you can completely understand where he’s coming from. Not only is it a great performance, but the actual design of the Vulture suit is brilliant. There’s also a couple of pretty great cameos from other Spider-man rogues.
Of course as always, Robert Downy Jr. brings his A-game as Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. I seriously can’t see anyone replacing him at this point (and I really hope that day never comes). I was glad to see that even though Tony played a pretty crucial role as Peter’s mentor, he didn’t take away from it ultimately being a Spider-man movie. Funny enough, I’m pretty sure Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau’s character from “Iron Man”) had more screen time than Stark.
Marisa Tomei was a clever choice as Aunt May and Jacob Batalon as Peter’s geeky friend / sidekick, Ned is comedy gold. I really loved the addition of Liz Allen as a love interest (rather than the more well known MJ or Gwen Stacey), and I thought Laura Harrier did a great job in the role, so much so that I felt really bad whenever Peter would randomly swing off to save the day. I do have a couple of minor complaints, but I really can’t address them without spoiling the movie.
Director, Jon Watts, makes a lot of interesting choices, casting, editing, and otherwise, which makes it unique, but also a little weird at times. The movie also drags a few times and feels clunky and awkward in the first half. That said, it’s also interspersed with some really cool moments like seeing Spider-man outside of New York City, or Peter testing out his new suit’s capabilities. About halfway through, there’s a pretty major twist with a certain reveal that drastically ups the stakes. That moment, absolutely made the movie for me.
All in all, it’s a fun movie, with a lot of hilarious moments, and Tom Holland is probably the best Spidey yet, but I don’t know if I’d call it my favorite Spider-man film.
“Spider-man: Homecoming” swings into theaters next Friday!