A little over ten years ago, I sat in a theater feeling a roller coaster of emotions: rage, despair, small fleeting moments of excitement, all while bargaining with myself and trying to convince myself that what I was watching was good, and failing miserably. Yea, you guessed it. I’m talking about Spider-Man 3. That is the only movie, the ONLY movie, that I have ever seriously considered walking out of and asking for a refund for. I hated it that much. It left such a sour taste in my mouth, that I skipped seeing both Amazing Spider-Man movies in theaters because I simply didn’t care to see Peter Parker on screen again. I did eventually see Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man movies but I didn’t buy them or rent them, I waited until they hit the movie channels and I watched them for free. Coming from a movie lover and a comic book collector, that should tell you a lot about the sad state of affairs our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was in for a long, long time. Then the miraculous happened, two major Hollywood studios forged an agreement to share one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time and we, the, fans got a glimmer of hope: Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then we got the comic book movie tour de force that is Captain America: Civil War and a taste of what this new Spider-Man could be and everyone’s attitude changed, including mine. Marvel had resurrected a dead character in a big way, the only remaining question was: could Sony and Marvel get the general public to care about a standalone Spider-Man movie again? Hell yes they can. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an amazing accomplishment. Lets get into it!
Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and we follow Spidey as he struggles to return to living a semi-normal life after throwing down with the Avengers in the aforementioned Captain America: Civil War. As Peter tries to find excitement and fulfillment in helping people around his neighborhood versus flying around the globe, doing missions with the Avengers, a group of arms dealers, developing and selling weapons built from the tech leftover from the Chitauri Invasion and the Ultron attacks, give him just the villain he has been looking for and Peter sets off to prove himself.
I know Spider-Man 2 is widely regarded as the best Spider-Man standalone movie, but I have to say, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming has it beat. I will readily admit that I haven’t sat down and watched Spider-Man 2 in a few years and I’m only a couple hours away from having seen Homecoming, but I loved almost everything about it. Tom Holland is a perfect Spider-Man, he has the humor down, he’s locked into the personality, he has the physicality needed for the character, and not only that, he makes a great Peter Parker. When playing a masked hero, it’s hard to cast for both the costumed persona and the regular persona, and in this reviewer’s opinion, Holland nailed it and carries this movie well.
One of the best things about Spider-Man: Homecoming is the villain. Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have long history of having weak or underdeveloped villains but Spider-Man: Homecoming bucks that trend in a big way and that is largely due to Michael Keaton’s stand out performance as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture. This movie does alter the way Toomes becomes The Vulture from previous versions but I really loved what they did with the character here. Toomes is in danger of losing his company after they took on a big contract to clean up New York after the events of Marvel’s The Avengers, when the government swoops in and takes over. So Toomes and some of his crew decide to keep some of the more interesting pieces of wreckage for themselves and soon discover that they can use it to build new weapons. I love the motivation for Toomes, a man who has his livelihood threatened by the government has to turn to a life of crime to keep his company and family afloat. Not only is that relatable, at least in the sense that many of us do things we don’t really want to for the betterment of our families, but it also makes Toomes a very sympathetic villain, which, in my opinion, always elevates the villain. Keaton does an amazing job of bringing this character life and brings some gravitas and menace to the role.
I also really enjoyed most of the side characters especially Peter’s best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon. He made for a wonderfully nerdy pal and, despite a few annoying moments, is a welcome addition to the Spider-Man family. Marisa Tomei is also back as the hot Aunt May and she does a great job. I really like how different she is from the way Sally Field or Rosemary Harris played the role previous to Tomei, as she is much less the frail old woman struggling to carry on after Uncle Ben’s death and she is more a self sufficient woman. I have to say though that the only character that really fell flat for me was Zendaya’s Michelle. I never really felt like she added anything to the movie and usually felt more like a caricature than a real character. She had a few funny moments, but overall, I never feel like I connected with her character at all.
As we’ve come to expect from Marvel movies, the action and special effects are astounding. The director and crew really captured what a Spider-Man fight feels like in the panels of a comic book, lots of quick movements, webs everywhere, and lots and lots of swinging. That also brings me around to Spider-Man’s suit which was built for him by Tony Stark. I have heard some grumblings about it being too techy versus the classic fabric suit that Spidey usually wears but I believe that the new suit fits perfectly with in the universe that Marvel has built. Damn near everyone has high tech gadgets i.e. Hawkeye’s bows and arrows, Black Widow’s stingers, Falcon’s wingsuit, and of course all of War Machine and Iron Man’s suits. One fear I had going into Spider-Man: Homecoming was the possibility of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark having too much of a presence in the movie and overshadowing the title character. As it turns out, those fears were unfounded and Tony Stark is used perfectly in this film. He pops in when his character is needed and exits when he’s not.
I loved this movie and I look forward to many more years of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. How about you? Have you seen Spider-Man: Homecoming? Did you like it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, Thank You for reading and…
SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!