“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is sensational.
It’s a case study in making sense. From the point of view of a comic fan, to a casual weekend moviegoer, the film holds up with a lot of heart and the same magic that had endeared fans and viewers through the decades.
What I loved about this narrative is how it bridges the social drama of puberty quite well (the personal puberty metaphor would always be best depicted with Tobey’s biological web-shooting, specifically, the first time it came out). The dramatized awkwardness of making new friends, finding out your friend’s secrets, having people talk about you “hot” aunt, all of those made sense. In the chronology of the comics, Peter grew up too fast, too soon. Seeing his 15 year old self come to terms with his powers and inter-hero relationship alongside these made sense. If you guys remember “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends from the early 80s, that show established how Tony Stark had given Peter tech gifts (like I dunno, their entire secret HQ in their room). Though Tobey Maguire’s performance would be the benchmark for heart (Garfield was just too outside who Peter Parker was and more like The Superior Spider-Man, IMO), Holland’s take is a welcome change. Heck if I were 15, with those powers and knowing all these superheroes, I’d be squealing (which I normally do already anyway, but that’s not the point). His energy, eagerness, and earnest desire to do big acts of good and justice make sense. The scenes paying homage to some of the more memorable stories for fans of the comics makes sense. Somehow, these superhero movies need to have one or two of those integrated well in the story, even if they aren’t the biggest plot twists, they ground the character to something more relatable than internal conflict and personal drama (hello, “La La Land”). A good villain with the right motivations and conflicts should weigh as much as what would move the hero to greatness is a necessity. I’m glad they re-imagined Toomes into this scavenger whose intention, though criminal, was actually motivated by very human and everyday struggles. And I just love how they’ve already introduced so many villains from Spidey’s rogues gallery. That is how you do it (makes sense). The Sinsiter Six is Sony’s six Infinity Gems for Spider-Man.
But amidst this sensational story, there were details that just didn’t, well, make sense for me. 1) MJ. As cool as she is, that was really forced. 2) Uncle Tony. As close as Peter and Tony are in the books, the moral of having great power come with great responsibility just didn’t feel as weighty as when Uncle Ben gave it. Would’ve been nice to see some details as a nod to this apart from his absence. 3) Aunt May. She’s getting hotter by the reboot. 4) Eugene Thompson. I’m all for diversity. I think Homecoming did a good job at representation. But it should not be at the expense of characterization. Sure Flash was still annoying, that’s good, but it just doesn’t make sense to see him less jock-y than Parker. And force-fitting him into the decathlon team was also bad. 5) Having adults not take teens/kids seriously. Also known as the biggest plot twists this generation of tern and young adult entertainment programs. I always enjoyed Happy Hogan, but this time, I just wanted to skip any scene he’s in.
Ultimately, this film was as much as Holland’s as it was Keaton’s and Batalon’s. You know, Ned. Guy in the chair. And despite some details I don’t necessarily agree with, it was still able to make sense of Parker’s already convoluted character and depict a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man this generation can grow to love.