Spider-Man Homecoming Review

Spider-Man swung into theaters last Thursday night with no intention of stopping, even if he has detention. Peter Parker got a second reboot just five years after the controversial Gwen Stacy death and awkwardly thrown together villain combination of Electro and Hobgoblin. Andrew you were doomed from the start. Homecoming excels in every direction it went as well as adding another great film to an already impressive resume of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Let’s start with the plot.

Peter Parker eagerly spends his time trying to prove himself to mentor Tony Stark (if you can even consider him one) while juggling all the aspects of a typical sophomore in high school. This plays perfectly into the teenage struggle of allocating time between schoolwork, social life, and…crime fighting? Friends and family get let down time and time again leading to the classic superhero question: where do you always disappear too? Peter’s inherent focus on on bypassing the natural progression any hero goes through to catch the villain proves to be his biggest mistake. As for Adrian Toomes or the “Vulture,” you get a complex businessman trying to provide for his family by adapting to a new world the Avengers created. He makes it clear that his #1 priority is family and if anyone gets in the way, they’ll die. Toomes shows layers in his character as he’s repeatedly opposed to one of his henchmen creating a new gadget for a heist until there’s no other option. Additionally, multiple scenes show the Vulture relating and respecting Peter for his grit and determination even though he’s desperately trying to kill the wall-crawler.

While Jon Watts’ film brought back the fun and joy of Stan Lee’s original “Amazing Spider-Man,” he gave Peter’s surrounding world a major update. He puts him in a ritzy science and technology high school with a gamer/nerdy best friend, an awkwardly observant classmate and a hot aunt. Comic book readers may disagree with this vastly different Spider-Man world, but it incorporates well into the plot and adds great comedic relief.

Marvel absolutely nailed its casting of Tom Holland for the web-slinger. If you forgot his scene stealing performance in Captain America: Civil War, then take a few minutes to go reacquaint yourself. Although good writing naturally helps any actor, Holland provides excitement and astonishment in his voice as any ordinary kid given exceptional abilities would. Also, he plays the distant outlier brilliantly in a few scenes with family and friends. Michael Keaton’s performance seemed relaxed as if he’d been playing the role for years. He brings you into the Vulture’s “world” at an arms length where you can relate, but consistently remind yourself, “he’s the bad guy.” One scene in particular (the climatic point) between Holland and Keaton is drawn out like an old western with funny interaction and absolutely gut-wrenching dialogue. Right from the beginning of it the dominoes start to fall one after another until Keaton takes over and never lets go. Superhero movies are only as good as the villain, and Keaton excels in his role.

It’ll be interesting to see where MCU takes Spider-Man on his next adventure as he explores his junior year of high school, but if it’s anything like Homecoming, I’m sure he’ll be swinging through enthusiastically.