Spider-man: Homecoming is kind of unprecedented. It’s a collaboration between Marvel Studios, their parent company Disney, and Sony. It’s a risk, it’s something very out of the ordinary, and boy did it pay off.
Spider-man: Homecoming is great in so many ways. It’s a really fun, youthful, energetic film with a fun, youthful and energetic lead in Tom Holland, previously introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and who’s slated to reprise his role as the web slinger in Avengers: Infinity War set to come out in 2018, as well as an untitled Avengers 4 sequel, and another joint effort Spider-man sequel between Disney and Sony. Tom Holland is, in my opinion, the best incarnation of Peter Parker to ever grace our screens. Spider-man: Homecoming firmly plants its tone equidistant between the superhero spectacle of the previous MCU films, and a teenage, coming of age story in the vein of John Hughes (so much so that there’s an actual Ferris Bueller’s Day Off reference in the film), and Holland is largely to thank for that. Having a teenager who actually looks like a teenager, unlike Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire. Which I guess also means Sony/Disney are hoping Holland is able to keep playing this role for many, many years to come, and boy, I can’t wait!
That John Hughes feel is a welcome shift in tone from the previous 5 Sony Spider-Man films, as well as diversifying Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as well. Spider-man: Homecoming comes in as the sixteenth film within the MCU, and yes, sometimes Marvel’s films can start to feel a bit by the numbers and episodic, but with franchises within franchises (franchisception?), branching off individual films into sub-genres is how you keep the entire world fresh, new, exciting and different. Within the superhero genre, Ant-Manis still a heist movie, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a political thriller, and Spider-man: Homecoming is a teenage coming of age story. Which is the perfect way to tell Spider-man’s origin story, if we’ve already seen Uncle Ben die, twice, and don’t really need to re-treat the same exact story beats again. But this is, essentially, still a sort of origin story. Peter Parker doesn’t need someone to sit down and say with great power comes great responsibility, because his learns that throughout the film itself.
Which brings me to Iron Man’s inclusion. No, he doesn’t overshadow Spider-Man in his own film. Yes, RDJ is a welcome addition to this film, and is used just enough as an almost pseudo-uncle-ben. Furthermore, if you’re reading this you’re probably very clued into the goings on of the movie world, but to the average joe, including Iron Man and using him throughout all of the marketing definitely helps with recognising that Spider-man: Homecoming takes place firmly within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s brilliant, it’s the right move, and it’s executed perfectly.
Speaking of supporting characters though, Michael Keaton’s the vulture (although he’s not referred to as such throughout the film), is spectacular. He’s dark, menacing, and actually has tangible, believable motivations behind him. He’s given the largest character arc after Peter Parker, and they do things with the character that I most certainly did not see coming. I’d put him very high up there in terms of Marvel’s villains (which I know is setting a rather low bar) but with Doctor Strange and (as far as the marketing is showing) Black Panther seeding villains for sequels, maybe this the MCU is turning over a new leaf in the villain department?
The remaining supporting cast is pretty fantastic as well, I thoroughly enjoyed Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May as well as Donald Glover and Zendaya in their respective roles. Laura Harrier as Parker’s main love interest is fine, but I had a little trouble believing Tony Revorlori’s Flash. Sorry, that kid’s just not enough of a mean bully to pull that off. Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan is in Spider-man: Homecominga surprising amount, and was really enjoyable, but the scene stealing, best young actor after Holland, man in the chair is definitely, Jacob Batalon’s Ned. Giving Parker a right hand man his own age to bounce things off was brilliant, completely solidified the film’s tone, and the chemistry between the two cannot be overstated. In addition to this, it should be noted how diverse this group of kids are, so much so that they actually looked like what a NYC school would look like, and not just another bunch of white kids. Casting on point, well done.
My only drawbacks with this film are minor, other than the choice of actor for Flash, Spider-man: Homecoming doesn’t really give you a score you can sink your teeth into. Michael Giacchino’s work is fine, but if you asked me to hum Spider-man’s theme? I wouldn’t be able to. That said, the Avenger’s theme makes a small appearance at the appropriate moments, so that’s not completely lost. Tony Stark’s Spider-man suit is also up in the air for me. I didn’t hate it, in fact I liked it, but it was most definitely a spider-man themed Iron Man suit, played for the same comedic effect, which I can see playing out in future sequels as well. Whether or not that’s a good thing, if this is a spider-man movie, and wants to differentiate itself as something new, is yet to be seen.
Overall, Spider-man: Homecoming is pretty fantastic, I’d definitely get out to see it opening weekend. And make sure you stay for the post credit scenes! All the way to the end, trust me, alllllll the way to the end 😉