High School Shouldn’t be this Difficult
Warning: Spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming follow. If you have not watched the movie, read on at your own risk.
Third Time’s a Charm
After making his big screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man finally arrives in his own film. This is the third iteration of the character, but the first that is backed by the Marvel Machine. I’ll get it out of the way right now and say that this movie deserves to be watched. It immediately outclasses the Amazing duology. Where it fits in the overall ranking of Spider-Man movies may be up for debate, but the fact that this movie is entertaining is not.
Tom Holland may be the best version of Spider-Man that we’ve seen yet. He plays both Spidey and Peter-Parker with excellence. His is probably the most comic accurate portrayal yet. The fact that he’s younger than Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire also makes it easier to buy in to the high school setting, which is very important to the overall feeling of the film.
Not Another Origin
Thankfully, Homecoming is not an origin story. It’s never made clear how long Peter has had his powers, but he’s been established for some time by the start of the movie. Uncle Ben is obviously dead, but we don’t have to watch him die again. We do get to see the messiness of Peter and Aunt May’s life without him, in a way. The fact that we’re not getting another version of Peter’s beginning works in the movies favor. Instead, we get to see Peter coming to terms with himself and the hero he wants to be.
The supporting cast is also excellent all across the board. It’s no secret that Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark plays a role in this film, but the role is rather small and is all the better for it. Happy Hogan, played by Jon Favreau, plays a much larger part than Tony does. It’s neither of those two who really sell the film though. Instead, it’s the high school students surrounding Peter that make this film memorable among the many Spider-Man movies. Peter’s best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, is an especially outstanding character. Ned plays the largest part out of all the supporting characters, but the others help to make Midtown High come to life.
A Villain that Works
Michael Keaton makes for an outstanding villain in Adrian Toomes, the villain Vulture. Homecoming succeeds in making Vulture a menacing threat. At times the character can be downright scary. Throughout the film, it seems like Vulture always has the upper hand on Spidey, making the heroes struggle seem like just that, a struggle. Towards the end, we discover the connection between Peter and Toomes and I have to admit that it does feel forced. Still, it doesn’t take anything away from the film as a whole and does tie the bow on Peter’s character arc nicely.
Toomes starts out as a decent guy. He’s just trying to make a living for his family by cleaning up the mess after the Battle of New York, until Damage Control steps in. They make him hand over all the alien tech that has already been salvaged, but a truck bed full of it is somehow forgotten. Toomes and his men learn that this tech is more powerful than they initially though, and it’s all downhill from that point. The Vulture is born from this discovery, as they start using salvaged tech from all the major battles in the MCU to build and sell weapons.
What Makes a Hero
Dealing with organized weapons dealers seems like it’s too big of a job for Spidey. Honestly, with his experience level, it is. Tony Stark tells him as much. Of course that doesn’t stop him from trying to intervene. Peter’s desire to be a hero obviously leads to struggles in his normal life. One notable instance is on the Academic Teams trip to Washing D.C. for a competition. Originally, Peter tries to quit the team to stay in New York. When he finds out that the Vulture will be in D.C. as well, he rejoins. Peter is the smartest kid on the team, so of course they’re excited to have him. However, his desire to stop the Vulture causes him to miss the competition, and almost miss saving his friends from his own mistake.
Peter’s journey is important to both the film, and the MCU. By the end, he’s saved the day and stopped Toomes all while keeping the public out of harm. Tony is ready for him to join the Avengers, but Peter decides that he’s not ready yet. Of course, he’s totally ready but it’s the smart move for him to stay in New York. The people need him. Stopping the biggest threats is not the only part of being a hero. Throughout the course of the movie, Peter learns this. It’s never said out loud in the movie, but essentially Peter learns that with great power comes great responsibility. This has always been what Spider-Man represents, and Homecoming teaches that without ever saying it.
Homecoming is fun, and it’s just different enough to set itself apart from Spider-Man movies that came before it. In essence, Spider-Man hasn’t changed much from the very first time we saw him on screen. He’s still the hero of the little people. He’s still the selfless kid who wants more than anything to be a hero. There’s some sense of magic, though, in Homecoming that I have not seen since Spider-Man 2.
Spider-Man: Homecoming Review – In Conclusion
Marvel and Sony team up to deliver the Spider-Man movie we’ve been hoping for ever since the news of their alliance broke. Homecoming is fun, moving, and memorable. I’m not going to say that it’s the best Spider-Man movie yet, but I will say that it deserves a place in the argument. Tom Holland is my favorite version of Peter Parker. Midtown High has never felt more real. I can’t wait to see more Spider-Man in the future.