WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
How many has it been? Five Spider-Mans? (Spider-Men?) Five is quite a number. I mean sure, in terms of quantity, Spider-Man still falls a movie or two short of say, Batman, Superman, and perhaps Wolverine. But five movies later, 3 from Sam Raimi, and 2 from Marc Webb, are more than enough for us to know what needs to be known about Spidey. The radioactive spider bite, his awkwardness around girls, his nerdy love for all things science, and all the “with great power comes great responsibility” jazz. So yeah, if I see one more movie of Peter Parker getting beaten up, and then getting bitten by the mutant spider, and then growing biceps, I might just lose it. I am all “origin storied-out” to be honest. (I feel the same for Batman.) But thank god Spider-Man: Homecoming has no origin story in it’s narrative. Instead it is a refreshing, fun remake of a beloved comic book hero.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is like a puppy dog. It is young, eager and sprightly and energetic. It is a superhero movie that doubles as a sort of coming-of-age, teen movie, but without the angst. It’s just a bundle of joy, this movie. So we have Peter Parker as a modern day teenager, and it makes complete sense that upon discovering that he has superpowers, the first thing he did was to film himself and put it up on YouTube. And yeah, he out himself out there to help people and save the world too, sure. But primarily he wants to show-off, and eventually impress (and join) the heroes he idolizes, The Avengers. So yeah, the whole idea of a young Peter Parker, all eager and show-offy, is a wise and rational decision, and I love it. Tom Holland is excellent as the titular character. His is a face that is full of enthusiasm. And his whole body feels like it’s a spring that just wants to be released. I used to feel a bit of disconnect when it comes to the personalities of Peter Parker and his web slinging alter ego, in both Tobey McGuire’s and Andrew Garfield’s portrayal. I don’t know how it is in the comics, but I feel like Peter should be about as chatty and bubbly as Spidey. I mean I get it, the anonymity the suit affords him, makes him more confident and well, chatty. But I love how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is about as upbeat as his alter ego. I can easily tell how they can be one and the same person. Okay, fine it is supposed to be that we can’t recognize Spider-Man as Peter Parker. But you get what I mean, right?!
Now let’s talk about the supporting cast, all of which I absolutely loved. Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds is great as the best friend and “guy in the chair”. They made sure that he is as defined a character as the leading man. Ned is smart and funny and can easily go toe to toe with Peter. Zendaya as Michelle is also not to be missed. She is fantastic as the sort of deadpan/sarcastic friend. But the thing is, she has an even smaller role than what the trailers led me to believe. Oh wait, scrap that. I guess the trailer showed us what she is there for. She’s the perosn who pops in and out, mostly for comedic effect. I wished they had given her a bigger part in the film. Also, I am glad that the school bully is not a muscled jock. Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson has underwent modernization too. So he bullies Peter Parker not with fists, but with insults, and um..DJ-ing. I also quite enjoyed Marisa Tomei’s version of Aunt May. Which is this “woman of the world” kind of gal, very confident and open. But I think the movie had one too many comments about her being “hot”. In fact, that seem to be the only thing the movie sees in her. (Also, who’s itching for an Only You reunion?)
And as they say, the hero is only as good as the villain, and Michael Keaton as the Vulture did the movie a solid. He is a bad guy whose motivations are of this world, that is, motivations that we can understand. While I love megalomaniac villains, they’re pretty darned hilarious. It’s nice to find a baddie who doesn’t want to take over the world and/or reduce it to ashes, just because. Instead, the Vulture is an enterprising villain, a businessman. He doesn’t want revenge or power. He just wants money! Because who doesn’t? He is basically an arms dealer, but with the superhero twist of the “arms” being alien tech. So yeah, he doesn’t go about flying all over the city in his fancy vulture suit, destroying buildings and leveling cities. To the Vulture, subtlety and keeping things underground is crucial.
And as it is in most Marvel movies, we get a handful of jokes. But I feel like I’ve seen the best ones in the two or three trailers they released. But don’t worry, there’s still more than enough sources of fresh laughs in it.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is good fun, it has a good mix of massive action sequences and small moments. Jon Watts, the director, did this iconic comic book character a solid. But it shows that there’s room for improvement. For one, they need to give the excellent female cast, their due. (Also, can anybody tell me if that whole MJ thing meant anything?) But overall, I am glad that we got a reboot that is fresh, and a Spiderman movie that understands “geeking-out”. Because f*** yeah, decathlon teams!
Rating: 4/5 Stars