Spider-Man: Homecoming Review – “Welcome Back Spidey”

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Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters and it is the best Spider-Man movie ever. Be warned, the following review contains some major spoilers for the film.

Two months after Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is anxious for his next Avengers mission. However, Peter’s current Spidey activities involve stopping purse snatchers and helping old ladies. Peter’s desire for bigger action is answered when he stumbles upon salvaged Chitauri weapons being sold to criminals. Spider-Man discovers the head of the operation is Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. the Vulture). Now Peter has to take down a super villain while balancing his high school life and keeping his Spider-Man activities secret from his aunt, May Parker.

This movie’s story is a great take on the coming of age genre. At the beginning of the movie, Peter feels that he should be a full-time Avenger. But once he stops the Vulture without the suit Tony Stark gave him, Peter realizes that sticking close to the ground for a while may not be the worst thing. The story also sets this incarnation of Spider-Man apart from previous film versions. Peter Parker in MCU enjoys being Spider-Man, which is a nice change of pace from a miserable Peter Parker who is only Spider-Man out of a sense of duty. Additionally, since this movie is not an origin story, we get to see Peter learn how to be a better hero instead of learning how to be Spider-Man. When watching this movie, it felt like a story arc from the first Ultimate Spider-Man comic coming to life.

The best part of Spider-Man: Homecoming is Tom Holland as the titular hero. Tom Holland is the perfect on-screen Spider-Man. If you saw Civil War then you have no doubts about this young actor’s skills. Holland’s take on both sides of the character is funny and relatable. As Spider-Man, he’s delivering wise cracks while taking down bad guys. As Peter Parker, Holland portrays an teenager going through growing pains that anyone, young or old, can find relatable. Also, most of Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s stunts are spectacular. When he’s fighting criminals, it really feels like the fight scenes from the comic books.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Of course, a hero is defined by his villain and Michael Keaton’s Vulture does not disappoint. Adrian Toomes, Vulture’s real name, is different from other villains in the MCU because of his motivation. Unlike other past villains who wanted power or destruction, Vulture only wants to survive. Originally Toomes owned a salvage company until he was put out of business after Tony Stark founded Damage Control. In order to make a living, Toomes steals leftover weapons from Damage Control and sells them refurbished to criminals. Since the Battle of New York (see Avengers), Toomes’s organization has been under the radar until a spider comes along. Also, this story’s interpretation shows Toomes as a blue-collar character that most viewers can find relatable.

However the best part of Keaton’s performance comes from a reveal in the movie’s third act, which leaves the viewers as surprised as Peter. It’s funny seeing Toomes suddenly act so differently after seeing him as a criminal for most of the movie, and Michael Keaton delivers a well-balanced performance. While this isn’t Keaton’s first comic book role, his performance in this movie is just as awesome.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Another actor with a meaty role in this movie was Robert Downey Jr. RDJ returns as Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) so he can mentor the young Spider-Man. Fortunately RDJ’s appearance does not outshine Tom Holland or Michael Keaton. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony only shows up to either congratulate or berate Peter on his actions. Tony’s appearances prove that he takes his role as a mentor very seriously. After Peter screws up and Tony takes away the suit, Tony’s actions feel justified because he wants Peter to save lives instead of just take down bad guys. Of course RDJ’s acting is what really drives this scene especially his delivery of the line, “If you’re nothing without the suit then you don’t deserve it.” Having Iron Man in this movie makes it feel like a passing of the torch if RDJ does not return to the MCU after Infinity War.

This movie’s excellent acting doesn’t just come from the guys in costumes. The supporting cast provides nice entertainment for Peter Parker’s civilian life. Jacob Batalon is funny and enjoyable as Ned, Peter Parker’s best friend. While Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson is not your typical jock, he’s still as much of an a-hole to Peter as you would expect. Also Marisa Tomei is awesome as May Parker, Peter’s aunt. While this version is younger, she’s still there for Peter and helps whenever he needs it.

Also this movie contains some references to the comics. One reference comes from Vulture’s right-hand man, Phineas Mason. In the comics this character is known as the Tinkerer, who creates powerful technology from spare parts. Having the Tinkerer team up with the Vulture is a nice reference to Amazing Spider-Man 2 which featured the first appearances of both characters (albeit in different stories). There are two more references to the Ultimate Marvel stories. One is Iron Man’s armor which looks similar to his Ultimate counterpart’s armor. The other is Donald Glover’s character, Aaron Davis. Davis is the Ultimate version of the Prowler and he’s the uncle to Miles Morales (a.k.a. Spider-Man II). This doesn’t confirm an appearance from Miles, but it at least leaves the possibility open.

Despite my praise for Spider-Man: Homecoming there are some things I did not enjoy. Even though Spider-Man’s second suit is cool, it does feel a bit overpowered. For most stories, Spider-Man usually displays his intelligence by building and improving his own equipment. The movie only touches this when Peter develops a new web fluid formula and uses his original suit in the final act. Also the Stark suit contains some features that make it feel more like Iron Man armor instead of a Spider-Man suit. The only other thing I did not enjoy was the character Michelle, played by Zendaya. Michelle does not add anything to the plot and is just there for the ending when she says her friends call her MJ. When Michelle does interact with other characters, it just feels like Zendaya is playing the stereotype of an angsty teenager.

Despite some of the flaws, this movie is still awesome. The story is a great coming of age tale for a superhero. Tom Holland’s performance feels like Spider-Man leapt off the comics and onto the big screen. Michael Keaton is a great villain. Tony Stark added some flair but didn’t take up too much of the spotlight. Also this movie has an amazing supporting cast. Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of the best movies from Marvel Studios.

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