“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Is The Best “Spider-Man” Movie In Years
In all honesty, I did not have super high expectations going into Spider-Man: Homecoming. After the lifeless Amazing Spider-Man series we got only a few years ago, I was like “Do we really need to visit Peter Parker’s story yet again?” But as it turns out, we may have needed another revisiting because Spider-Man: Homecoming is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year and is the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2.
Spider-Man: Homecoming follows Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) after the events of Captain America: Civil War as he deals with balancing life in high school and as a crimefighter. Parker aims for bigger things, wanting to join Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the Avengers but Stark advises him to “stay close to the ground” and stick to saving his local neighborhood. But a great threat in the form of a villain known as The Vulture (Michael Keaton) begins to emerge, making Parker’s balancing act more difficult.
The film’s greatest asset in Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland. In my opinion, Tom Holland delivers the best portrayal of Spider-Man to date, brilliantly pulling off both the nerdy Peter Parker and his wise-cracking alter ego Spider-Man. While Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were fine in their respective portrayals, Maguire was better as Peter Parker than as Spider-Man and Garfield was better as Spider-Man than as Peter Parker. Holland injects the screen with such charisma and soul that I hope he can emerge a star outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.
Credit should also be given to the ensemble of actors as well. The supporting cast, ranging from Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned to Zendaya as the neurotic yet introverted Michelle to Tony Revolori as school bully Flash Thompson to Laura Harrier as Peter’s love interest Liz, all bring vivacity to their respective portrayals. The ensemble is also rich in diversity and even if all the actors of color are playing side characters, for what it’s worth, it’s far more inclusive than most Marvel movies these days.
But Marvel has finally solved its villain problem with the Vulture. One of my biggest complaints with the MCU is how their villains that aren’t named Loki are so disposable and void of distinctive personality with vanilla motivations. But The Vulture has clear motivations for doing what he does, trying to save his family while going to great lengths to prevent them from knowing about criminal lifestyle. He is also very magnetic when on screen thanks to Michael Keaton’s portrayal.
As for the direction by Jon Watts, he manages to structure Spider-Man: Homecoming as if John Hughes were directing a superhero film. There is grand superhero spectacle to be found but it is interestingly few and far in between. For the most part, Watts aims for a more grounded feel, focusing on a portrait of typical life in high school with Parker trying to impress a girl, fend off bullies, etc.. It may be typical but it is still a relatable and fun journey regardless.
If I have any complaints, it’s that the ending climax felt a tad half-assed and also Marisa Tomei was very underused as Peter’s Aunt May. She did a good job what she had to do. Also, thankfully, there weren’t too many “Aunt May is so hot” jokes as I thought there would be as the film went on. But she wasn’t on screen as much as I would’ve hoped.
Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man film in years that has me hopeful for both the future of the character in the MCU and the MCU in general. It’s fun throughout thanks to its action, its humor, and an energetic, star-making lead performance by Tom Holland.