What would you do if you discovered you had superpowers in adolescence? How would you juggle being a fighter for justice and try to have a normal teenage experience? Spider-Man: Homecoming offers a more realistic look at how this would take place. Where the previous series of films never seemed to make that connection of balancing one’s youth and the varied problems that come during that period with what it means to be a superhero. The Tobey Maguire and the forgettable Andrew Garfield portrayals relied on a more comic book look and storylines to bring audiences to the theaters. This is not the case for the newest iteration. The film is not presumptuous or pretentious in its approach.
Tom Holland returns to the Marvel Universe as Spider-Man after being introduced in Captain America: Civil War. In this version, the audience is not subjected to an origin story to carry the bulk of the film. Instead, it addresses the issues of Spider-Man’s genesis in the previous film so that audiences can arrive in their seats ready to watch the action unfold. From the first opening frames of the films, we bear witness to the development of this story which builds off of The Avengers as we are introduced to Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), owner of a salvage company tasked with cleaning up the city. Upon his operation, he and his crew begin to discover the power of the alien equipment that they begin to sell on the black market. The development of this character is done with more care than previous films where the villains’ backstories rely simply on jealousy, seeking power, or just a thirst for chaos. The film shows a man who feels wronged by the system and simply wants to provide for his family. We are allowed to make a connection with “The Vulture” that makes us question if whether we would do anything much differently than he.
The same development is demonstrated with Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man. He is thrust into this role through the encouragement of Tony Stark, but when Stark doesn’t return his calls or seem to express interest after the battle scene in Captain America: Civil War, he tries to demonstrate his worth through becoming a local superhero. With that new calling, to paraphrase a statement made popular in Spider-Man, comes great responsibility. He must balance his life and try to compartmentalize his existence. The film does not disappoint in allowing the viewers to see Peter Parker as more than Spider-Man. They begin to see all the varied aspects of who he is and his rationale for being a superhero. We bear witness to the pain that he feels in having to keep his identity a secret from his friends and Aunt Mae. His superpowers and abilities come to be seen as a heavy burden that begins pulling him apart. He has to grow and understand who he is in order to be capable of everything he seeks to be.
Spider-Man Homecoming does not disappoint. It is by far, the best Marvel film made due to its ability to connect with fans of different ages and interests. The film is fun, funny, creative, and will have viewers forget about any previous versions and films. Tom Holland is the perfect fit for Peter Parker and an even better fit for Spider-Man. The film is mature, filled with depth, emotion, and many connections to other superhero films in the Marvel cinematic universe. It is well on its way to ensuring that the franchise will have a long life.
Second Review by
Joseph K. Saulnier
Once upon a time there was Tobey, who despite what people now say, did a fairly decent job in a fairly decent film for its time. Then there was Andrew, a Brit who not many people had heard of (in the United States anyway), and he did a better job, but burned several bridges. Now we have Tom, and we are all rejoicing. Confused? Well, if the title of the article didn’t give you a clue, we’re talking Spider-man films. And Homecoming is by far the best Spider-man film to date.
We all got a glimpse of what Tom Holland could bring to the role in Captain America: Civil War. I would like to make sure you understand the emphasis of the word “glimpse” in that last sentence, because it truly was only a sliver of what he brings to the role in the new film.
Homecoming has done us all a favor and skipped past the origin story. We get it, we’ve seen it, no need to re-hash. The film starts during Civil War with Peter Parker (Holland) documenting his trip to Berlin and his experience with the Avengers. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) drops Peter at his home in Queens, he lets him keep the suit that he designed for Peter. Flash forward two months, and Peter is trying to figure out where he fits in in this world between his loose tie to Stark and the Avengers and his home life with his Aunt May (Marissa Tomei), best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and his crush Liz (Laura Harrier). But before long, a villain known as the Vulture (Michael Keaton) becomes more visible to the public eye, largely in thanks to some idiot henchmen, and Peter finds himself in the middle of an underworld of black market weapons made with alien technology.
To say this movie was amazing falls a little short of the actual feeling when you watch. From the little details, like the new Marvel splash screen and the modified Spider-man theme, to the little references to the other films in the MCU, and even other films in the Disney catalog (the LEGO® Death Star makes an appearance), this film is just beautiful from beginning to end. The score really accentuated what was happening on screen, and Tom Holland captured the differing personalities of Peter and Spider-man really well, almost as well as the comic portrays.
I don’t really need to build it up more than this. From the moment everyone heard that Sony and Marvel Studios had cut a deal to bring Spider-man into the fold, there was skeptical optimism. His first appearance in Civil War incited all out excitement. Homecoming is exactly what I had hoped it would be, and then some. That’s all there is to say. Well, I can add that not only did Holland do a great job, but the supporting cast was amazing as well. And the story was actually fresh and has a twist you (most) definitely see coming. Despite some wonky things here and there, this was a well done film.
Bottom line is if you are a fan of Spider-man, and have been enjoying the MCU movies (i.e. you’re not tired of them yet), you will definitely want to check this film out in theaters. I didn’t screen it in 3D, so I cannot speak to the quality of that version, but the 2D version was awesome.
4 stars out of 5