Spider-Man: Homecoming Review


By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

For all that rage – and success – that has been super hero films over the last 10-ish years (heavy on the ish), the one character Marvel has not quite been able to gain support and a strong footing with has been Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire took a shot at it with three Spider-Man films, then Andrew Garfield pulled on his tight onesie to try to reinvent what Maguire left behind, yet success was not to be found (though Garfield’s first Spider-Man film was good, let’s be honest). Fortunately, there’s an old adage that says, “Third time’s the charm,” and Columbia Pictures, along with Sony, have taken another web shot at the franchise, building upon the great intro the web-slinging, wall-crawling, friendly neighborhood high school student delivered in Captain America: Civil War. Directed by Jon Watts, we now have Spider-Man: Homecoming.

It’s been two months since the events that transpired in Captain America: Civil War, and young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has returned home to live with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in Queens and continue his illustrious high school career. Along with his student duties, he has the Spider-Man suit, bestowed to him by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), so that he can be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and take care of the little things while the adults take care of the bigger stuff. However, Peter soon finds that there are some baddies using alien technology to do evil, and this band of goons is led by Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), who operates out of a powered super suit himself. This could be Peter’s big chance to prove that he belongs as an official member of the Avengers, but is a 15-year-old kid really up for the challenge or will he end up doing more harm than good, much like the Avengers did to cities around the world? Peter has one shot to make the right choice.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is not only Tom Holland’s first full feature film as the well-loved character, but it is also the first Spider-Man film to be included as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), picking up where Civil War left off, referencing things in the past and looking forward to the future of the story line. Looking at the previous Spider-Man ventures, they took Peter as a high school kid and put him in big situations, almost pushing the fact that he was still a kid to the back. Watts takes a different approach, focusing on it as a high school film first and an adventure film second. The film brings the worlds of high school student and budding superhero together rather seamlessly, mixing in comedic elements with solid dramatic elements to flesh out a full narrative complete with complex characters. One of the great things about the script was the layers upon layers we see in terms of story and character. Peter is ready to step in and help as an Avenger now, yet Tony has him on the “training wheels” protocol with his suit. Once Peter and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) figure out how to deactivate the suit’s protocol, Peter is in a whole new world where his web shooters have over 200 options for dispensary, leading to a hilarious trial and error mid-fight. Speaking of the fight choreography, and the visuals in general: just perfect. It feels as if the MCU just keeps getting visually better and better with each new installment. The action sequences are also on par with previous Marvel films, yet the real story is the growing pains of high school life.

In Civil War, we were given our first glimpse of Holland as Spider-Man, and he nearly stole the show. How would he do with an entire film riding on his shoulders? Just fine. This is even better for Holland actually, as he’s able to display the various aspects of the daily life of Peter Parker. Wherein previous films we have a kid who is working for a newspaper, here Peter is doing a Stark internship, AKA just learning to be Spider-Man. Holland finds the levity in what it is like to be that high school kid, yet wanting to grow up and be considered an adult and a part of the greatest team ever so early. We also see the learning curve Peter has when it comes to both becoming a superhero as well as just being a high school student who has more and more responsibility on his way to becoming an adult.

Keaton, as our willing antagonist, is more than up for his challenge. His transition to the “bad guy” is a little more direct, yet we can understand his motives. And it isn’t to say his character is a bad guy, but, as he states early on, “The world’s changing boys, and we need to change with it.” Keaton brings a full bad guy out in the form of the mechanical Vulture, yet he’s not a bad guy in the strictest of terms, which makes him much more relatable. Batalon plays the sidekick to Peter, and really seems to enjoy every moment of screen time, offering plenty of hilarious moments. Robert Downey Jr. has a few nice moments, one with some tough love and mentoring moments with Peter, showing the maturity he’s obtained since his first outing as Iron Man, while Jon Favreau is fun, as always, as Tony’s right hand man, Happy. Marisa Tomei is lovely as Aunt May, and has one of the funniest lines of the film as it cuts to the credits.

If there was anything negative to say about the film, it would be the run time, which seems longer than the 2 hours and twenty minutes that it is. There is just so much exposition in the film, allowing us to follow Peter through his high school days and his many road bumps at becoming the Spider-Man. A good 15 minutes could have been shaved from the film without any real loss to story or narrative. Outside of that, there is just so much goodness with the film: great story, very relatable and fun characters, amazing CGI, and it continues the story from where we last left off in the MCU. It may be too early to say, but with the success Marvel has had in the MCU, we may have finally found our Spider-Man worthy of being a part of the mighty Avengers.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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