After months of anticipation and horrible marketing, Spider-Man: Homecoming is finally here. Three years ago, the thought of another Spider-Man film seemed like the worst possible thing in the world. Walking out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, It seemed as if Sony learned from none of the mistakes that made Spider-Man 3 such a decent film. Somehow with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, they ended up making an even worse movie than what caused the reboot in the first place. So when it was announced that the character would be rebooted for the second time in a third iteration, I was very excited for Marvel Studios’ take on the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But then the marketing happened. I was worried and I was nervous that this film could be Marvel’s first flop. Well, my worries were assuaged. Spider-Man: Homecoming takes the best iteration of the character and crafts such an entertaining romp, that I have a feeling people are gonna go back for seconds.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has trouble readjusting to being a normal sophomore high-schooler. While on patrol, Peter crosses path with a gang of high-tech bank robbers led by Adrain Toomes aka The Vulture (Michael Keaton) using stolen Chitauri technology from The Battle of New York from The Avengers. Under the watchful eye of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Peter’s normal life and crime fighting life start to crumble under the weight of responsibility, as well as chasing a spot on the Avengers roster, start to take its toll on the inexperienced Parker.
Everything you loved about Tom Holland in Civil War is back in this film. This is the best iteration of Peter Parker yet. I believed every minute that Holland was on the screen that I was watching a fifteen-year-old run around trying to save the day. Throughout the film, you want to see Peter win as Tom’s Peter is one you can easily identify with. More so than the previous live action incarnations. And what’s more is the high school Peter attends for very smart kids (yes, these do exist) feel more like an actual high-school that what was portrayed in the previous films. Tom Holland is the most “well-rounded & natural” portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His scenes with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) while very good were limited and I can’t wait to see their relationship grow.
There are so many new characters but beware most of Peter’s classmates seem like composites of your favorite characters. For instance, Angourie Rice is Betty Brant except that this Betty resembles and has more in common with Gwen Stacey than Betty Brant. Ned played by Jacob Batalon is Peter’s best friend. Jacob is excellent in the role and almost steals the movie. Abraham Attah who killed it in Beast of No Nation is smiling throughout his role of Abe Brown, hopefully, gets a bigger role in the sequel. The talented Tony Revolori brings us a Flash Thompson we haven’t seen before. One who’s more of douche than a bully. It’s funny seeing people react to Flash as well, seeing right through him. And the teachers are hilarious in this too. Hannibal Buress has less screen time in this than he does Baywatch and makes more of impact here than he did in Baywatch. And Martin Starr brings a more upbeat version of his deadpan humor that works so well in Silicon Valley. Kenneth Choi is commanding in his brief role as the school principal. Even Tunde Adebimpe (lead singer of the very dope TV on the Radio) makes an appearance as a school teacher.
Marisa Tomei as May Parker is either oblivious that everyone finds her attractive or doesn’t care. This Aunt May is tough and not the usual frail elderly woman we always have seen her as. She’s worried for Peter’s well-being while still making him be his own man. What’s more is that she not oblivious like her classical portrayal and to a lesser extent the version portrayed by Sally Field in the unfinished Amazing series.
Michael Keaton plays one of Marvel’s better villains in the films they’ve released so far. One thing I’ve noticed about Zemo in Civil War and Toomes in Homecoming are they’re both family men who’ve been broken. Toomes is a blue collar worker who just wants what’s best for his family. Seeing Stark take away his biggest opportunity to line his own pockets fills him with a rage, hate, and anger that drive him throughout the film. He’s Marvel’s most imposing and frightening villain they’ve had yet. Once Toomes get his Vulture wings he makes his presence felt. There’s a scene between Toomes and Peter in this film that is probably one of the best things Marvel has done hands down. You feel the stakes and realize what this means for both characters in this scene as it changes everything.We can maybe even kinda-sorta see his side of things when Toomes decides to keep some of the alien technology left behind during the climactic battle from “The Avengers” and use it to enable high-tech thievery since layoffs are awful. Using said tech to create a flight suit, calling himself the Vulture, and then stealing more weapons to sell to terrorists isn’t quite as forgivable, but that mortgage ain’t gonna pay itself, guys. If nothing else, Toomes has an agenda we can relate to, even if the ends don’t always justify the means. Logan Marshall-Green and Bokeem Woodbine, who share the iconic character, the Shocker is done pretty well but I wanted more from them. I am also hoping that they used Michael Chernus as Phineas Mason / Tinkerer in future films.
One thing that has been on everyone’s mind is Zendaya as Michelle. I can say that she’s going to make the internet explode (again). She reminds me of Allison Reynolds (The Breakfast Club) and I’m glad she went from being a loner to accepting her group of friends (academic decathlon team)
John Watts gets much credit as this was his vision that he crafted with Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige. This feels like a high school film in the best way possible. And while we’ve been exploring street level heroes in the MCU on Netflix, it’s cool to see it done on the big screen. Sure there are some awesome, big set pieces, it still feels relatively small compared to everything that’s come before and that’s refreshing. Also making this one of the most racially diverse cast I’ve seen in a long, long time on a film this big is something. If any of you have seen Watts’ previous film Cop Car, you guys should see why this guy got the job as well as retooling the script as needed. Watts manages to make this one unique superhero film.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is joyously fun and funny, and easily the most entertaining Marvel movie yet. It manages to reintroduce a character who has been introduced three times in fifteen years, and does so in a way that’s all-new, all different, and yet never contradicts what we already know and like about him. If anything, Peter Parker, and his amazing alter-ego expand the established Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can’t wait to see what’s next for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★★★★