A lot people I know are sick of Spider-Man. Hell, I am a little too. The character just doesn’t resonate with me as he once did. I feel that the time in your life you enjoy Spider-Man as a character the most is in you formative high school/college years. Because we’ve all got a little bit of Peter Parker in us. He’s the super hero every man.
As a long time comic book fan I couldn’t help but be excited when he became part of the MCU. This is Marvel’s flagship character finally mixing it up with The Avengers. That’s the kind of shit dreams are made of. Then I saw Civil War and now they had my fucking attention. That was a hell of a reintroduction to the character. But still I couldn’t quite muster the excitement for this new film that I had for a movie like Spider-Man 2 (which is a masterpiece).
I’m happy to say that my lack of enthusiasm was completely unfounded, Spider-Man: Homecoming is fucking excellent. It’s probably the second best Spider-Man film after Spider-Man 2 and it’s definitely in the top tier of the MCU’s best movies.
There are a few key factors that make this films so successful: the cast and the brilliant decision to make it a little bit more of a high school movie than a superhero movie. I recognized a lot of the supporting cast in this movie from other films from a few years ago where they played children. So this is the rare high school movie with high school age actors in it. While the action is great, I found myself more invested in coming of age, high school comedy parts of the film. There are a few very good scenes where those worlds collide in unexpected ways. Also, the brooding of the earlier films is completely absent, replaced by a much lighter tone.
I’ve said for years that Marvel Studios’ biggest strength is it’s casting. Time and again they get actors that nail their parts. Even when I doubt them they always prove me wrong. It’s like the actors walked out of the pages of a comic book. Tom Holland is hands down the best Spider-Man we’ve had on screen. As so many others have said, he’s a kid! He’s the right fucking age for once. Not a 35 year old man trying to play a high school sophomore.
I thought a really interesting choice is how ineffective and sometimes even dangerous Spider-Man’s lack of experience makes him in this movie. This is a Spider-Man who does not have the superhero job figured out at all. But he wants to be an Avenger more than anything and that leads to some bad decision making on his part. However, the movie never makes him seem stupid. He’s just a very inexperienced kid with extraordinary abilities and a hard on to use them.
I’m very happy Marvel will have Tom Holland as Spidey around for good while. Hopefully they work something out with Sony to expand their current 5 picture deal. Meaning Sony still owns the film rights to the character and, including Civil War and Homecoming, the MCU can only use Spider-Man for 5 films total. We already know Spidey is in Avengers: Infinity War and the sequel to Homecoming which is kicking off Marvel’s “very different” Phase 4.
The other big stand out for me was Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes AKA The Vulture. Keaton is the fucking man. His Vulture is one scary mother fucker. He’s got goals and god help you if you get in his way. It certainly helps that his suit design is spectacular. He is without a doubt one of the best Marvel villains we’ve had on screen. His motivations are unique for this kind of film and though I didn’t want to actually see him kill Peter, I could sympathize with the guy to a degree.
As for Tony Stark I’d say we get just about the perfect amount of screen time. Not too much, not too little. He certainly doesn’t take over the movie. The film feels like a part of the MCU in the best way. The film uses the mythology of this film series to great advantage and nothing feels shoed in. There are some great Easter eggs that hardcore comic book fans like me will love. I’ve written in past articles that I’ve been frustrated by how much of this movie was spoiled by trailers and internet articles. So I wasn’t expecting how many genuine surprises there were for me in this film. There is an iconic, character defining scene from the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Spider-Man days that gave me chills to see brought to life.
The last thing I’ll say is this movie has my favorite final 10 seconds of any of the Marvel films so far. Narrowly beating out Captain America’s tragic, “I had a date…” from Captain America: The First Avenger.
I’ll talk in more detail with spoilers on my podcast, which I’ll probably have up Monday. I’ll give our listeners some time to see the movie, but I will make it very clear when we talk spoilers on the podcast so you can know when to skip over or stop listening until you’ve seen the film.
Anyway, this gets a huge recommendation from me. An absolute summer superhero blast! Get off your ass and see it this weekend!
Film Grade: A-
Thanks for reading everyone!