The secret to a great Spider-Man movie is have Spidey come home, my spoiler free Spider-Man Homecoming Review
Yes, I am playing with the words in homecoming. Yes, I am also referring to Spider-Man coming home to the MCU. And yes, I am forcing this connection of having Spider-Man come home to his Aunt May’s place as a larger element to the spectacular film Spider-Man Homecoming. But, it’s because I’m off the walls thrilled with how much I enjoyed the movie! [Full disclaimer, there will be more spider/high school/ adolescent/ etc. wordplay and puns throughout this Spider-Man Homecoming review. Deal with it; I saw the movie before you did. And that is how you use a semicolon.]
Spider-Man Homecoming is the highly anticipated first Spider-Man movie to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and the 6th solo Spider-Man live-action movie; the first three starring Tobey Maguire and the latter two Andrew Garfield. The film features the youngest Peter Parker and Spider-Man of all the franchises, in terms of character and actor age. This time around, Peter Parker is a sophomore and it’s about the time of the homecoming dance.
The movie opens on Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) as he and his crew are cleaning and salvaging the mess left over from the Chitauri Invasion from The Avengers movie. They are immediately forced to cease the operation and hand everything over to the joint Stark and Government cleanup crew, Damage Control. Understandably upset, the crew ends up keeping a truckload of salvaged Chitauri technology. Flash forward 8 years later, Toomes and his crew have created weaponry out of salvaged material from Super Hero battles and are selling it.
Roll Marvel Studios Opening Cinematic, then cut to a video diary of Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) journey to the face off during Civil War, how he gets the upgraded suit from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and his trip home, which transitions into live action of Tony Stark officially starting his mentorship of Spider-Man. One last time jump, two months later, Peter is in his Sophmore Year at Midtown School of Science & Technology where he anxiously waits for class to end so he can patrol Queens as your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
While on patrol, Spider-Man comes across some crooks that have the technology Toomes is selling. In the interest of not spoiling anything, the movie progresses tying the strings of Peter Parker, Spider-Man, and Adrian Toomes closer and closer until their final showdown. If that seems short, well that’s what you get with no Spoilers.
What I think the film does incredibly well, is really capture the age and maturity of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Most long time Spider-Man fans are introduced to him as the young and learning Spider-Man, which is something I feel the other Spider-Man films never really captured. Maguire’s Spider-Man never really felt like a high school student, and Garfield was kind of too cool to be Peter Parker. On top of the age, Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Man… Spider-Mans… Spider-Men?… Uhm- anyway- they breezed through the learning curve of being Spider-Man. Yes, they both had some funny training montages where they were figuring some stuff out, but by the time the conflicts happened, they were in full control of their Spider-Powers. Holland’s Spider-Man is still learning everything. He has his go-to moves and abilities, but he has far from mastered anything. Being able to watch him learn and develop into becoming the world’s greatest hero is something the other films sorely lacked. And to drive the point home, look at the costume Holland’s Peter makes versus the ones in Maguire and Garfield’s movies. Granted, Maguire did have the sweats and ski mask one, and Garfield did have a janky one before the bad guy told him he needed a mask, but they both eventually fabricated their own superhero level spandex suits. In hindsight, I can’t believe the audiences were expected to suspend their beliefs to the point that high school kids could create such costumes. Spider-Man in Spider-Man Homecoming seems a lot more natural and logical.
Actually having him in high school really helps solidify it all. In high school, your schedule is a lot more finite and restricted. Any deviation from traditional school hours is obvious and apparent to everyone in your life. Peter has to deal with issues that may come up during school hours and events and is restricted to a curfew and location. Basically, he has restrictions and limitations, because he has to come home! He can’t be out all night, he can’t be out during the day, he can’t go too far because he has to obligations day and night. It does make for simpler anchor points, but it adds to the gravitas of being a teenage superhero.
On top of a better conceived Spider-Man, I have to say Holland’s embodiment is a much more encompassing than his predecessors. Holland masterfully captures Peter Parker’s teenage angst, awkwardness, nerdiness, and vulnerability. Something I feel Maguire did do well enough, but also feel he overly dramatized it. Like, Maguire acted the hell out of being Peter Parker, but it was a grown and experienced man in those situations, instead of a young and naïve youth. Maguire’s Parker knew he was going to make mistakes and have to learn from them, Holland’s believes he already made his biggest mistake and is surprised he can continue to make more. Then there’s Garfield who gets emo and movies on real quick, knowing he can do anything a Spider can (I do not blame him so much as I blame the weak story and progression). Then there’s Spider-Man, which Maguire never really made to seem different than Peter and Garfield absolutely nailed. However, like with Maguire’s Parker, Garfield’s Spider-Man was overly mature and capable, where Holland’s could seem like it, but was ultimately still being figured out. Say what you will about the Amazing movies, Garfield’s Spider-Man fought the way fans wanted and expected a seasoned, saved the world multiple times, Spider-Man to fight. Holland’s Spider-Man has some moves but is again very obviously still figuring things out. Holland’s Spider-Man is what he thinks a superhero is, and slowly becoming separate from him as he learns and develops. This allowed for Spider-Man’s true power, the one that makes him the greatest hero, shine through. (Purposely not saying what that is)
Outside of Peter/Spider-Man, I want to say this has easily been the best spread of performances in any Marvel Movie. All the characters in the film are given a chance to shine. None of their parts feel forced or jammed in there. Keaton’s Toomes/Vulture is one of the better villains in the MCU, with clear motivation and solid execution. He’s no Loki, but I feel Toomes is a much better villain than Dormammu. Keaton’s best moments are a spoiler, so I won’t talk about it. Zendaya’s Michelle was always a welcomed jolt. She would always pop up to keep Peter and Ned (Jacob Batalon) in check and be doing something that oddly makes sense; like eating toast at a party. Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan and Marisa Tomei’s Aunty May were a bit underutilized but still had very enjoyable scenes that never felt out of place or forced. There was an absolutely perfect amount of Tony Stark in the film. Enough to always feel his presence, and absent enough to ensure anyone from confusing this an Iron Man sequel or spin-off. However, the scene stealer of the movie is hands down Batalon’s Ned.
With all that said, it is obvious I really enjoyed the movie. However, there are some things that really irked me. I don’t really consider these to be spoilers since they are kind of in the commercials, but feel free to skip this part if you want to make sure you get 0 spoilers. So one last time, SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH TO ENSURE 0 SPOILERS!
Okay, 4 things. First, Liz Allen hosts a bumpin’ party that essentially all the shown high school students attend. No big deal, except for the fact that it takes place on a weekday! This isn’t a small party, there’s a lot of people, drinks, and a DJ. These kids are high achieving, national contending academics who are raging on a weeknight? No way! There’s especially no way that Aunt May would approve and drop Peter and Ned off to said party. This party should have been on a Friday or Saturday night. I call bull butter. Second, Spider-Man’s mask gets real wet; completely soaked. Then he immediately puts it back on, completely dry. There’s a lot about this that is wrong; of which, wearing a wet mask is just a hair away of waterboarding yourself. I just tried it right now; a person would not be able to breathe with a wet mask. The reason it’s wet is that water has filled in the holes between the fabric and it continues blocking those holes making it impossible to breathe air through the fabric. Then there’s the whole physics aspect of it, but I can’t talk about that without giving anything away. Just know, Spider-Man magically dries his mask or is immune to self-waterboarding. Then there’s the timeline. Which is not a solid logic flaw. If we based the movies to our timeline, in reality, the Battle of New York happened in 2012, 8 years later would be 2020, which would mean Civil War happened in summer 2020 since this Homecoming takes place roughly in the fall. That doesn’t make sense because they have that News Twitter accounts for the MCU in real life that corresponds to the headlines in those MCU news videos that have Leslie Bibb. It just doesn’t make sense. Then again, I don’t even know when Dr. Strange takes place in the timeline, considering the Avengers’ Tower is in his movie, but Stephen Strange was mentioned in Winter Soldier so he had to have been known for awhile. Basically, the timeline is jacked up. Lastly, Kenneth Choi as Principle Morita. This one bugs me because I need to know what’s up here. If you didn’t know, Kenneth Choi plays Jim Morita in Captain America: The First Avenger. He is one of the Howling Commandos, alongside Cap, Bucky, and Dum Dum Dugan. Chronologically speaking, if he’s playing the same character he’d be around his 90’s. Which doesn’t appear to be the case. He could very well be playing a descendent of his previous character, but the picture in his office appears to be of another person. There are also war medals present. If he is the same character, does that mean he’s taking the ‘Infinity Formula?’ Or do Asians really just age that well? I need to know!
Aside from some logic and continuity issues, Spider-Man Homecoming is fun, funny, and arguably the best rendition of the wall-crawler on the big screen. While story-wise, I might still have Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man on top, overall I have to say Spider-Man Homecoming is the definitive Spider-Man movie. It fully embodies Spidey as the up and coming hero who has the potential to be the best hero of them all but is still young, awkward, and tragically burdened. He knows what is right, but not necessarily how to be right. He knows he has a lot to learn, but also oblivious that he can be wrong trying to do right. This Spider-Man has a lot to offer but has even further to go, and the audience finally gets the chance to be a part of that journey. Unlike the previous movies, where we’re given a fully realized Spider-Man and we hope he arrives at our expectations. Spider-Man Homecoming is the Spider-Man many of us have been waiting for, and he’s finally home. My Spider-Man Homecoming review gets a 4.8/5
Spider-Man Homecoming Releases in North America July, 7th 2017.
If you watch it opening weekend at AMC Theaters with your AMC Stubs Card, you’ll get a free Spider-Man Figurine.
Aside from some logic and continuity issues, Spider-Man Homecoming is fun, funny, and arguably the best rendition of the wall-crawler on the big screen. While story-wise, I might still have Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man on top, overall I have to say Spider-Man Homecoming is the definitive Spider-Man movie. It fully embodies Spidey as the up and coming hero who has the potential to be the best hero of them all but is still young, awkward, and tragically burdened. He knows what is right, but not necessarily how to be right. He knows he has a lot to learn, but also oblivious that he can be wrong trying to do right. This Spider-Man has a lot to offer but has even further to go, and the audience finally gets the chance to be a part of that journey. Unlike the previous movies, where we’re given a fully realized Spider-Man and we hope he arrives at our expectations. Spider-Man Homecoming is the Spider-Man many of us has been waiting for, and he’s finally home.