Side note: I ended up seeing this in 3D because there wasn’t a price difference and the theater was less full. There is literally no reason to see this in 3D.
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton
Spider-Man Homecoming is the third version of the wall crawler to hit the big screen. Even though Tom did a solid job in Civil War, there was a legitimate fear of Spider-Man fatigue and that the movie would bomb, becoming the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first failure since the beginning of it’s run back in 2008 with Ironman. However, not only is Homecoming on track to do well over $200 million opening weekend; it’s arguable the best Spider-Man film in years, if not ever.
Tom Holland nails both Peter Parker and Spider-Man: the sarcastic and humorous quips, the teenage awkwardness, it’s all there in the perfect amount. I don’t think there was ever a moment when I wasn’t laughing or at least had a smile on my face. The movie is hilarious from start to finish, but a better description is full of joy. It fills the movie and is infectious. You can tell that Tom loves playing Peter and Peter loves being Spider-Man. The movie opens with Peter coming down off the high of fighting alongside (and against) the Avengers during the events of Civil War. All he can think about is getting the next call to help out his mentor, Tony, again.
Above anything else, Spider-Man is a teenager who has to balance having superpowers with the stresses of being a teenager in high school. That is this movie in a nutshell. There isn’t a threat of some world ending destruction. The movie takes things a couple notches down to focus on Peter and his development into a hero. It’s a nice change of pace from the gravity of the last several Marvel films. There is an excellent villain, however he’s a small timer compared to the likes of Ulton, Dormammu, or Loki. As Tony puts it, Peter is still just a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.
The Rest of The Cast
Robert Downey Jr is used sparingly in the movie, which was a good choice. There was a concern for awhile that he would overshadow the film in an effort to draw movie goers. This did not happen, I’m glad to say. Pretty much what you’ve seen in the trailers already is about it. Happy Hogan, played by Jon Favreau is actually in the movie more than Tony. He’s basically in charge of making sure Peter doesn’t get into too much trouble…and doesn’t bother Tony. Both a great for the amount they are in the movie.
Michael Keaton played a fantastic villain as Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture. He’s a lower level villain who isn’t on the radar of the Avengers. Perhaps one of the most believable marvel villains so far; he’s a blue collar worker, striving to provide for his family the best he can. He sees Spider-Man as a direct threat to his family and will do anything to protect them. He’s a villain you can relate to. I won’t spoil anything, but the way his character is written is genius and fits perfectly with the name “Vulture.” Keaton brings a lot of depth the character and it is fun watching him work.
Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, is Peter’s best friend. He is hilarious and brings a lot of laughs to the movie. It’s questionable whether he is actually a good friend to Peter sometimes; he’s very selfish in a couple scenes. Overall, he was a good change a pace from having yet another Harry Osborne show up just yet, and will hopefully be in the next film as well.
Zendaya who, I’m not going to even lie: I’ve never heard of until this movie (apparently she’s a thing) played Michelle. A fun character to watch, and although she doesn’t really have any friends, she enjoys to pick on Peter and Ned for being nerdy and awkward, even though she is guilty of the same. There’s a reveal at the end of the movie which raises some questions for future movies. It remains to be seen if it will be a smart move and I’m not sure if I’m on board with it yet.
Marisa Tomei continues her role as Aunt May. It was a little weird to think about Aunt May as being younger and hot, but it fits with this version and makes for some great jokes throughout the movie. Also a bit of a departure from the norm, she’s more of a “cool” parental figure to Peter. However, there are still moments where she stresses over what Pete is up to in his spare time.
Tony Revolori plays the bully Flash Thompson. In another change up that worked well, Flash isn’t a jock this time around, he’s actually someone that runs in the same social circles as Peter. Flash is also usually white, and it was nice to see some more ethnic diversity in the casting than there usually is: not just with Flash but with the rest of the cast as well.
Laura Harrier plays Peter’s love interest, Liz. She does a decent job, but is the least interesting out of the main group of supporting cast.
Spidey Joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Another aspect the movie hits out of the park is it’s placement in the MCU. It feels so organic, like Peter has been there the whole time. He’s been living his life watching the events of MCU unfold in the world around him. Homecoming is a fantastic look at the Avengers from the viewpoint of supporting characters. Even Toomes: his whole motivation centers around being the “little guy” and Tony or the rest of the Avengers really not caring how their actions affect him and his family. It’s just such a smart angle to take that adds yet another layer to the MCU.
There are so many easter eggs and references in this movie it’s ridiculous. Little nods here and there that really help to tie the MCU together and make it feel real. The MCU is getting close to 20 movies and is starting to hit it’s stride with world building and complexity. Each new movie doesn’t feel like a separate story; more like a continuation of the same overall story from a different character’s point of view.
While it is a brilliant move to use Tony as the spring board for introducing Spidey into the MCU, there is a small gripe, but worth noting. It’s not a deal breaker by any means; it just doesn’t feel like it fits. I’m talking about the Spidey suit; it has way too many features, especially the computer AI. Obviously, since we know that in this version Tony has made the suit for him, it’s only natural that it would bear some similarity to how the Iron-man suits function. But Peter is a genius and coming into his own as a hero by the end of the movie so hopefully he’ll realize he doesn’t need the fancy Jarvis-like AI and design his own suit. What I would love to see in future movies is maybe his spidey-sense starts to develop and it clashes with what “Karen” tries to tell him. That could be an easy transition.
The only other negative I can possibly find for this movie is that because it’s still ultimately an origin story, we don’t start to see a full fledged Spider-MAN until the end of the movie. You leave the movie hungry for what he’ll be able to do in the next movie. It may be annoying to some, and it was to me at first until I started to think about it more. Once you embrace it, it’s honestly one of the movie’s strengths. Part of the charm of Spider-Man is that he’s a kid, he’s an everyday, average person. He doesn’t always have it together or have all the answers. He’s awkward. He makes mistakes. That’s basically what this movie gives us. Very few superhero movies give us this perspective of what it’s like to be an average person and then suddenly have powers. It’s a fresh change of pace. At one point Peter is told, “You really need to get better at this part of the job.”
8.5 Hot Aunt May’s out of 10.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fantastic edition to the MCU and has a ton of heart and humor. Some are calling it a superhero version of The Breakfast Club, and that is a fitting description. It was a brilliant choice to scale back the stakes and focus on the development of it’s newest hero-in-training. There are a couple surprises with the story and a few great cameos. As always, there are after-credit scenes. The second scene is without a doubt one of the best end credit scenes ever in a Marvel movie.
At the end of the day, Tom Holland has solidified his place, not only in the MCU, but as THE Spider-Man for the next several years.