Details: Released in 2017. Over two hours long. Stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.
Spider-Man returns and we finally get a look at the kind of Spider-Man movie the Marvel movie machine would make. Before getting into specifics, I’m going to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a good movie that takes a very slightly different take on the character as compared to the prior Spider-Man movies.
Whereas the prior Spider-Man films focused on Peter Parker, the adult, Homecoming focuses on Spider-Man the high school student. Peter Parker, a superhero new to the game tries to be the best superhero he can be while trying to juggle all the responsibilities of being a teenager in high school.
What I like most about this film is that it stays true to the core characteristics of Spider-Man while making a lot of changes to other aspects like tone and the circumstances surrounding other characters. Aunt May is played by Marissa Tomei, who is a lot younger and hotter than the prior casting decisions regarding Aunt May. I read about some controversy regarding Flash not being a white bully, but I found the change refreshing. In fact, Peter doesn’t really have a bully. He’s a nerdy kid in a nerdy, high ranked high school filled with other nerdy kids. Flash is his rival/friend, not truly his enemy. Furthermore, the film mostly takes place in Queens, NY. If you’ve ever been around Queens, you’d know that the idea that every one there would be white is ridiculous. As someone who lives in New York City, the representation of all these races in the cast was one of the more realistic aspects of the movie.
Another thing new that they do is that they never mention Uncle Ben, the father figure whose death largely impacts Peter’s decision to become Spider-Man. There is one hint to the Uncle Ben tragedy in this film, but there’s no real confirmation that Uncle Ben ever dies in this film or if he even exists. I guess we’ll see in future sequels whatever is going on with that. There are also hints to other characters that are part of the Spider-Man mythos and if those hints pan out, I’m very excited to see whatever new directions they might take with these fan favorite characters and their relationships with Spider-Man.
Michael Keaton is good as the villain. I like their take on the Vulture, which really reflects more on the character of Spider-Man as a whole. Spider-Man is a street level superhero. He doesn’t fight cosmic deities or world endangering threats. Spider-Man is your friendly, neighborhood superhero. He stop robberies, gives the elderly directions, cats out of trees, etc. The way the Vulture was depicted here goes along with that tone. The Vulture isn’t some megalomaniac who wants to take over the world. He’s also not as evil as say, Ultron. He’s just a guy doing some crime for very relatable reasons. I like that they did this and a street level villain should be the kind of villain a street level hero should fight.
I also like how Peter Parker is in the beginning of his superhero career. He doesn’t really know how to do a lot of things and is just trying to figure things out. Peter screws up a lot. It’s fun and reminds me of how Batman screwed up a lot in Batman Begins or how Spider-Man screwed up a bunch in the first Spider-Man movie by Sam Raimi.
There’s also some great moments that give you a glimpse at how great of a hero Peter Parker could be someday. Even though he’s just a kid, he’s a kid who wants to do the right thing, even if that puts his life in danger. It’s an admirable trait that helps show the potential of Peter Parker and what sets him apart from other teenagers other than his powers.
Some things I didn’t love: Tony Stark’s involvement. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is always fun to watch and I understand the need to connect Spider-Man to the rest of the Marvel Universe. However, I felt like a lot of problems introduced into the plot could’ve been solved in five seconds by Tony. I also felt like every time Tony showed up, the film somewhat shifted into an Avengers/Iron Man movie versus a Spider-Man movie. Too much of the plot centered around Iron Man and Peter’s need for his approval. It’s not a horrible aspect of the film, but I wanted to see more of Peter’s life and less of the rest of the Marvel Universe. There’s plenty of time for that in the Avengers films or in the upcoming Infinity War movies.
Another weakness to the film has nothing to do with the film, but that I do have some Spider-Man fatigue. There have been a ton of Spider-Man movies over the years and I’ve seen all of them. Homecoming is different in many ways, but in many ways it’s also the same movie as those other Spider-Man films. After six Spider-man films. I get the idea already.
The action was okay, but after six Spider-man movies, I get the idea. He got sticky hands and swings on webs.
Something they didn’t change was that this is largely a funny movie. Plenty of jokes here.
Overall, Spider-Man is a fun movie that tries to do a lot of things different while keeping a lot of things the same. I can easily recommend the movie to pretty much anyone. If you hate action movies or the superhero genre however, you should probably stay away.