Review by J.T. Johnson
This is my review for the latest Spider-Man film, so let me start by talking about Batman. In 2005, I finally got the Batman film I had been looking for that truly captured the Caped Crusader’s comic book persona. Finally, in 2017, I got a Spider-Man film that truly captures the comic book version of the character. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a coming-of-age film that just so happens to feature a superhero.
The movie gives us a teenage Peter Parker (Tom Holland) that is still trying to control his powers and also impress Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in order to become an official member of the Avengers. Peter is headstrong and while he has amazing powers, he needs to learn how to use them responsibly so no one will get hurt. Tony doesn’t want Peter to stop using his powers, but he does want him to stay low in New York and be everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Unfortunately, Peter has stumbled upon a gang of criminals being led by Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), also known as the Vulture. This particular gang uses weapons developed from Chitari weaponry recovered after the Battle of New York in “The Avengers”. Toomes, specifically, is one of the better villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Several villains in the MCU are only there to provide the challenge for the main hero and not much else. Here, we get to learn who Toomes is, why he is doing what he’s doing, and we are not completely against him due to those reasons. Still, Keaton never lets you forget that he is the movie’s Big Bad and there is a scene in the movie where he encounters Peter and it was truly unsettling.
One question I did have in the movie was how much Iron Man would be involved in the movie. If I’m being honest, I was a little worried that they would overuse him and that he would steal the show from Spider-Man. Thankfully, Tony is only used when he is needed and is a true supporting character for Spider-Man. Tony is simply the reluctant mentor figure to the still developing Peter and that’s all we need him to be in this flick.
That means that the true star is thankfully Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Gone is the weird Toby Maguire and the smartass Andrew Garfield. Instead, we finally get the socially awkward, nerdy teenager that feels like he is cut straight out of the comic books. Holland captures the youthful energy, the excitement that Peter genuinely feels at being Spider-Man, and the nerdy awkwardness perfectly.
If I have only one complaint, it would be that I wish the writers had written better jokes for the character when he’s fighting the bad guys. Beyond that, though, I don’t really have anything negative to talk about here.
Every solo Marvel film tends to focus on a specific genre. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a spy film while “Ant-Man” is a heist film just to give a couple of examples. “Homecoming” is no different as you feel that you’ve been thrown into the middle of a John Hughes film that happens to star a superhero. In fact, one action sequence pays an obvious tribute to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that made me giggle.
Before I go, I must also admit that this movie is not as action packed as past MCU films, but this is only so that we can get to know our new Spider-Man just a little bit better. However, I will also say that I was glad that we didn’t hear anything about an Uncle Ben even once in this movie as Marvel has wisely let go of retelling Spider-Man’s origin story on film yet again. When the action does happen, though, it is fun and they hit home for the most part.
Director Jon Watts provides the audience with a wonderful tribute to the Hughes films of yesteryear while also providing the excitement that we come to expect from the MCU. “Homecoming” is yet another win for a studio that is still enjoying quite the winning streak at the box office and with audiences everywhere.