Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Donald Glover, Jon Favreau, and Robert Downey Jr.
With more and more Marvel heroes becoming household names nowadays through their ever-popular film counterparts, it’s always important to remember one of the most popular of Marvel names, a name everyone has always known through the ages: your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Having had a bit of a bumpy cinematic history due to studio disputes and production troubles, everyone’s favorite wall-crawling hero now swings into theaters yet again, as well as for the first time into the practically unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Following his debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Holland) now takes to the streets of New York as the webslinging hero, while also balancing high school, teenage struggles, and keeping his identity a secret. When the ominous winged villain The Vulture (Keaton) suddenly begins to terrorize New York, Peter, under the watch of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.), races to stop the Vulture, maybe become an official Avenger, and ultimately discover what it means to be a hero.
As a superhero origin film that’s simultaneously a second reboot, one of Homecoming’s biggest strengths is how it re-tells the widely known Spidey origin: mostly without the origin. While including a necessary element or two, many elements of the widely-known Spider-Man origin story have been left out of this film, leaving more room for a new story to be told. This, as well as the film’s quirky teenage high school style, help the film to stand out from any previous incarnation in a way like none other. Director Watts brings us a film that while a true and faithful Spidey flick, also feels like a delightful John Hughes-esque time at the movies. Homecoming is rebellious in its style, comfortable in its own shoes, and at many times marches to the beat of its own drum. Simultaneously, it also uses its unique style to re-enforce the ever-popular Marvel formula, bringing us a true Spider-Man film done right, made by those who know him best.
The film is especially funny as well, with many of the humorous lines and scenarios landing effortlessly with the audience (including the post credit scene, which is my favorite of any Marvel movie ever).
Be him the third Spider-Man in the span of about 15 years or so, Tom Holland is absolutely fantastic in this film (as he was last year in Cap 3) and is far and beyond my favorite incarnation of Spider-Man on the big screen. His performance is full of a certain adolescent wit and eagerness that makes for a purely and genuinely convincing teenage superhero. Many different players within the supporting cast bring great dynamics as well, most notably Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned, Downey Jr. and Favreau reprising their franchise roles, and Keaton, as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture, who in my opinion is one of the best villains the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever had. There is a scene to kick off the third act in which Keaton alone is completely terrifying, no wing suit or mask required.
While this film is a very enjoyable Spider-Man film and Marvel film as a whole, it isn’t without its share of problems. Those who pay attention to any timeline spans within the MCU as a whole will find that this film’s events are very out of synchronization with the events of the other films in the Marvel universe. While not really a flaw with the film per se, it does make Homecoming stand out in a negative light when compared to the otherwise flawless flow of the MCU and its films. In addition, the film’s various action sequences, while impressive in various aspects of their construction, came as little to no surprise to me, as did the general construction of the film and the plot, as they were all ruined for me within the film’s numerous trailers and TV spots. While again not necessarily a problem within the film, it does shed a light on the issue many studios have with marketing their films. Trailers nowadays often ruin many if not all parts of a film and leave nothing for an audience to decipher on their own. Homecoming especially became very predictable (while still enjoyable) after the first act subsided, and has me concerned for the future of film marketing and trailers. These issues ultimately hurt Homecoming in the end, as they retract part of the authentic Marvel movie feel from the film, and make the rewatchability factor a little tired at times.
However, when all is said and done, and flaws are made clear, Spider-Man Homecoming is still a great superhero film. Its unique sense of style and bravado help make it special, and also support the overall special lore of Marvel films to make an authentic Spider-film. Its style, cast, and writing make for the best Spider-Man film since 2004, and show us that Spider-Man has truly come home. Spider-Man Homecoming gets an B+.