Spider-Man slings his webs once again, but this time as a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen both good and bad versions of Spidey from Sony pictures, so the big question is: does Spider-Man: Homecoming live up to the hype?
I am very happy to say that this film far surpasses my expectations and is the finest Marvel film since the first Guardians of the Galaxy, in my humble opinion. Right from the start, Homecoming perfectly captures the enthusiasm, zeal, and naïveté of one Peter Parker (Tom Holland). Just as a high school kid of today would do, he vlogs on his experiences traveling to Germany as a member of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) team to take down Captain America in the events from Civil War. It builds a foundation of humor and heart that serves as the core throughout the film. The film’s opening sequence also exposes another example of the Avengers overreaching their bounds in the aftermath of the Battle of New York, as simple salvage engineer Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) has his guaranteed city contract thrown down the tubes by Tony Stark’s newly formed Department of Damage control, ruining Toomes’ and his crews lives. Both are seamlessly effective in their story building concepts.
*Mild Spoilers Ahead*
Peter Parker is your average kid. He goes to class, he has a geek friend (Jacob Batalon as Ned, who very nearly steals the show), the hots for the gorgeous girl (Laura Harrier), and has a devoted Aunt (Marisa Tomei) who worries about him. Oh: and he is a secret superhero who valiantly protects his neighborhood from bike thieves and other low-level ruffians. All the while he dreams of leaving the humdrum of life in Queens to become a full-fledged member of the Avengers.
Peter resents Stark’s figurative “training wheels” program, but still calls him all the time to report on his heroics hoping to secure his place in the major leagues of crime fighters. The world gets a whole lot bigger when Spidey tries to take down some ATM robbers with advanced weaponry, which leads him to the criminal mastermind, the Vulture. Parker’s detective work to take down Vulture and his arms dealers leads him to Washington, D.C. under the guise of an academic triathlon. His rescue of his classmates at the Washington Monument garners national attention, but also brings the wrath of a Vulture. After losing his super suit and Stark’s respect after a misstep on the Staten Island ferry, Peter must face his enemy on his own with the highest personal stakes on the line after a heartbreaking discovery.
Homecoming brings everything that you want from a Spider-Man film. It’s Peter Parker as he should be, geeky high school sophomore full of teenage angst. The humor is infectious, but the film is full of heart, even from the perspective of the villains. It’s easy to tell a story where the bad guy is larger than life with their evil ways, but when the villain is a man who has to provide for his family, the line between good and evil blurs to gray. Keaton does a masterful job of portraying Toomes in both his darkness and also his desire to make things right for his crew. Holland likewise perfectly captures both Peter Parker and Spider-Man and far surpasses his predecessors’ portrayals. The ending gave me the biggest laugh of them all. This one is a must-see in the theaters, folks. It’s a can’t-miss hit.
5 Spider-Webs Out of 5