Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise and the sixteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr. Prior to seeing this film, I rewatched the previous renditions of Spider-Man. Click here to read my thoughts on them: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
The Story:/The Direction:
Homecoming gives the viewer a Peter Parker, a high school sophomore with a superhero secret identity. We have passed over the origin that even non-fans of Spider-Man know of, the spider bite and Uncle Ben being shot. After the events of Captain America: Civil War, he is wanting to go on another mission and be an Avenger. This film then proceeds to show us the main conflict of any Spider-Man story: the attempt to balance normal life while also being a superhero. Bring Spider-Man makes Peter happy but it interferes with his friendships and his school's Academic Decathlon team. His best friend Ned (Batalon) can't build their Lego Deathstar, he has to lie to Aunt May (Tomei) about his "internship," with Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), and he's too shy to get Liz (Harrier) to notice him, even though she has a crush on Spider-Man. As Spider-Man, Peter feels he can do more than save cats from trees and stop bicycle thieves. However, he sees himself in a higher light and doesn't always get that the reason he has to come to the rescue is that he caused the problem in the first place. As such, when a group of robbers is taking money from a bank with some high tech weaponry, he finds it his duty to discover the mystery behind it all even if it may be too much for him to handle. The sellers of this weaponry are run by Adrian Looks/The Vulture (Keaton) who is taking Chitaurian technology from the events of The Avengers and selling it to keep his family afloat. He's been doing this low key for eight years until Spider-Man comes along and tries to take him down.
Watt's direction for this story gives the viewers some great comedy and action sequences that we have come to know in a Marvel movie. When Spider-Man and the Vulture fight, it's more than good versus evil, it's opposing views of the world. Peter has this glowing optimism and Adrian has this dark cynicism. The visuals are great and are up to par with any of the other Marvel films. I also loved a lot of the Easter eggs and how they gave you two known Spider-Man villains without overloading you like in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Holland as Peter is instantly likable and charming. If you enjoyed him in Civil War, you're going to love him here. He not only is able to do the action side of things but he has emotional scenes that make you see his pain and feel for him. I personally thought he was way better than Garfield and up to par with Maguire. However, he definitely fits the part of a high schooler much better than Maguire. I really enjoyed seeing Peter as a nerd again and I could easily connect to him which is something I missed from the Garfield version. The other star of this film is Keaton as Vulture. He does something with his character that a lot of the Marvel villains and that makes him intriguing. He's a low key villain who isn't set on world domination. He's only doing what he's doing to allow his family to succeed. You understand his view on life even if you don't agree with it.
He's the opposite of Peter. He takes the power that he is given and uses it for money versus helping the greater good like Peter or the Avengers. He's a been blue-collar worker his entire life and he wants more for his wife and child. He believes that the rich, like Stark, run the world and don't care about little guys like him. What's even more amazing about Keaton is that he is threatening even outside of his Vulture costume. Keaton does well in antagonistic roles and this is no exception. He is up there with Dafoe's Green Goblin and Molina's Doc Oc. I also enjoyed Ted and Tony's presences on screen, especially the latter acting as a father figure to Peter.
Though great for showing a group of diverse characters, the biggest flaw of this film is the use of its main female characters. They do little to nothing. One of them is a romantic interest for the kids, one of them is a romantic interest for the adults, and the other is just odd. My biggest beef with this is the Aunt May character. I was worried about Tomei being too young for this role but I thought maybe she could give some significance. She was only there to make Peter feel bad about lying to because of "what she went recently through." Tomei isn't bad herself but the character is utterly pointless aside from being apart of the Spider-Man mythos and for jokes about how young and attractive she is. In regard to the others, they just were not interesting and I was not a fan of what they did with Michelle (Zendaya).
I also feel that even with the return to Peter's nerdiness that wasn't really in the Garfield version, it wasn't the best. They had Ted and Peter in Academic Decathlon that somehow also included Flash Thompson (Revolori), Liz, and Michelle. The latter was there and was an outcast that apparently developed friends through the events of the film, even though this wasn't really shown. The other two were apart of the "popular" crowd. Flash is known to be more of a bully to Peter which there are some showings of however it didn't feel authentic. The bullying did not make sense when both characters did the same extracurriculars. Flash was clearly dumber than Peter but that was the only difference between the two. I historically related to Peter because he was able to break this difference barrier between the school clicks but here he didn't do that.
Maybe it was the studios trying to show that "popular," and "nerds," can get along and enjoy the same things. This can happen, true, but a lot of the time it doesn't. In addition, I know the studios were trying to get rid of the origin of the Spider-Man story but there was no mention of Uncle Ben. While you don't need to show the spider bite or the shooting of Uncle Ben, we don't need to completely rid the story of it like it. They did give us one line about the bite which was fine but gives us a photograph of Uncle Ben or something. I also was not a fan of how many significant people finding out about Peter being Spider-Man especially the one at the end of the film. Also, Happy Hogan (Favreau) was not needed to be in the film. He showed up sparingly and I'm assuming they used Favreau because he was cheaper than filming more scenes with Downey Jr.
However, with those flaws, this coming of age film is still very enjoyable. This is definitely one of the top three Spider-Man films. I personally would say it was equal to Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man. The CGI looks great and there are a lot of moments that will give both Spider-Man fans and non-fans something to enjoy.Holland and Keaton are great and Downey Jr. isn't in the film as much as the trailers showed. There are a mid-credits and end of credits scene where the latter isn't really worth the wait. Even though I am not among the group who say that it's the best 2017 superhero film, it's definitely worth watching in theaters.
Rating: 4.0/5.0 bowties.
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