This may be one of my most anticipated movies of this year, which sounds odd for being the third try at getting a Spider-Man franchise off the ground. This time, though, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning he’s now connected to Iron Man and the Avengers. And that’s a big deal, for nerds like me. This Peter Parker is also much younger, just 15 in this movie. Is this new version of the webcrawler a success?
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a normal high school kid, aside from the fact that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and now has super abilities. He made a suit that he wears as the Spider-Man to help protect people in his neighborhood. This gained the attention of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) who brought Spider-Man into Captain America: Civil War. Well, now Parker is waiting for a call to action again, constantly ignored by his “handler” Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). So he takes things into his own hands when a new villain named the Vulture (Michael Keaton) arrives on the scene using stolen and re-purposed alien technology to make money.
This movie also focuses on his average life, including his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), his high school crush Liz (Laura Harrier), and a snarky classmate named Michelle (Zendaya). We also have a spin on Parker’s high school rival Flash Thompson, played by Tony Revolori (Dope, The Grand Budapest Hotel). Marisa Tomei returns as his Aunt May.
This is the Spider-Man movie that I’ve been waiting for and I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time.
Let’s start with Tom Holland, who we got to see a bit from in Civil War. He is perfect here, wisecracking and funny but also selfless, willing to put himself at risk for others. He may save the day on a few occasions but this movie does a much better job of showing his conflict with being a normal teenager. He struggles with this dual-identity in a way that the other films didn’t really get right. I’m excited that they signed Holland on for many films, so we’ve got a long ways to go with this Spider-Man.
The other major highlight here is Michael Keaton, giving us a villain that is both terrifying and sympathetic. Villains aren’t always the highlight of these movies but it’s nice to see that they really focused on him here. He’s not trying to destroy the world, so the stakes are much lower, but it’s understandable. The effects for his Vulture outfit is also amazing, especially in some of the big fight scenes, where his suit almost takes on a life of its own.
Everyone else did their job, I can’t spend too much time talking about each one, but they all just fit. It felt like a real high school, where the people had real problems. One of these kids just happens to have superpowers.
This movie also surprisingly fits into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe more than I would’ve imagined. I thought Sony would have kept it distant but this movie is absolutely intertwined to all of the past events we’ve seen unfold. We’ve got references to almost every Marvel character and different events and weapons they’ve used and everything. It also answers questions and fills in gaps that some of you may have been curious about, especially the aftermath of the giant attack on New York from The Avengers.
Can I also talk about the tone of this movie? Marvel is doing a superb job with making their movies feel distinct. When you hit double-digits in a franchise, it might be hard to not feel stagnant, so they’ve been smart to make movies feel like different genres. Guardians of the Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy, whereas Ant-Man was a heist movie. Winter Soldier was an espionage thriller. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a coming of age story. It is, more than anything, a story about a high schooler with a crush. And it’s perfect, fresh and unique and different. The music even harkens back to old teen movies, the director even directly referencing some like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Literally, almost nothing. The only thing I can see people complaining about are some liberties that they’re taking from the source material. The differences made to Flash Thompson are drastic, meaning he likely won’t end up the way his comic counterpart did. They also revamped some other characters which will likely result in a fan outrage. I trust the MCU and for once, I trust Sony’s Spider-Man.
Should you stay after the credits?
Yes, your patience will be rewarded.
This movie should please most of you. It’s got some intense and jaw-dropping action, courtesy of a set of very cool villains, but it also has plenty of charm and humor that makes this movie feel like it’s from another era, right alongside films like The Breakfast Club. You don’t need to be a huge Marvel fan to appreciate this movie, but it’d definitely help. This movie has everything and it does it all perfectly.