Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.
Thwip thwip…that’s the sound of awesomeness. I’ll be honest, I went into this film with a beat of uneasiness, regardless of this being an official MCU entry, no one’s perfect. Also, add into the track record of past Spidey films; the first trilogy I absolutely despised, Tobey was quite possibly the worst person to play the limber, smart alec and FUN Peter/Spidey, a totally over emo stiff. The movies themselves were entirely too campy and reminiscent of the Schumacher Batman films. Then we have the Amazing Films, which nailed their representation of both Peter and Spiderman, but dragged their films with unnecessary teen angst and a backstory on his parents that was unnecessary and just an utter waste of time…yet still preferred them over the Raimi trilogy, as the cinematography and fight choreography was (pardon the necessary pun) amazing. THEN comes “Captain America: Civil War” and a kid by the name of Tom Holland…and those few scenes of new MCU Spidey, well quite frankly, colored me impressed. He was able to capture the essence of Spider-Man and gave me genuine anticipation towards his first, new adventure in his MCU solo film debut. Now, Enter, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”…
Thankfully the film skips the clichéd origin (which we’ve seen waaaay too many times at this point) and instead begins shortly after the first Avengers movie and then jumping ahead to Civil War, giving us a unique perspective to Spidey’s grand entrance and setting up the foundation of the film from there. The first act, albeit a slow start, of the film, sets up the core of who this Peter/Spidey is in this world. Thankfully it’s the version we’ve all grown to love within the pages of our Marvel Comics, a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man. Showing us that he’s still a kid and at the beginning of his heroics and not quite the full-fledged Avenger he wishes he could be, and through all of this, we get why. He’s grounded in the world he belongs to within the everyday streets of the less flashy and every day boroughs of NY, which I personally loved. The second picks up when he takes a trip along with his classmates to Washington, DC and this is where things really pick up, showing that Spidey may not have all the answers, but is quick on his feet and through pure determination, will make sure no one falls victim while he’s around. The third act is typically where things tend to fall apart, luckily, this doesn’t happen here. The story continues to push forward with a few twists and turns to keep us on our toes and to further explore our protagonist’s growing pains to be a recognized hero. And then the finale…well, I’ll just say it’s one of the best ones out there and leave you with that anticipation.
I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with Jon Watts’ previous work, but I will be sure to fix that soon. He was able to quite literally bring a Spider-Man comic book to life. The film was full of bright energetic colors, yet still subdued enough to not be over the top, straying away from the dark moody colors that some of these comic movies have begun to swim in (especially the wall crawlers in previous films). Then there’s the cast; starting with Tom, who is as much Peter Park as RDJ is Tony Stark. He keeps the character light, FUNNY, and everything a 15-year-old kid should be. Gone is the overshadowing angst of his parents’ abandonment, his uncle Ben’s death and overall, teen life. Instead, we get a realistic moment or two of a “downer” moment, but he brushes it off as most teens actually do, taking on a superhero life, school, and possibly love, in equal amounts. His Peter is the lovable loser nerd he’s supposed to be, trying to be cool but failing incredibly as he should. Tom’s Spidey is the positive, quick-witted and over chatty web-slinger, we’ve all grown to love…who just won’t shut up. Tom does a great balance of giving us a 15-year-old superhero, juggling his dual life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man while also being an awkward teenager, trying to get the girl of his dreams to notice him without being able to use the web-slinging ace up his sleeve…messing up plenty along the way. He’s accompanied throughout the film by his best friend and scene stealer Ned, who is priceless in every one of his scenes. Wanting nothing more than to be Spider-Man’s’ Oracle and bring Peter to the peak of popularity he thinks he should be.
The rest of the supporting cast are great as well, all contributing to memorable scenes from Hannibal Buress’s memorable coach to Zendaya’s…well, I’ll stop there. Let us not forget his loveable Aunt May, who is loved more in this film for apparent attractiveness than her wholesome heart, but that’s in part by her being played by the beautiful and charismatic Marisa Tomei. Of course, we’ve got Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau bringing their usual charm of Tony and Happy greatness. And what is a hero without his villain, and man, did he get a great one. Michael Keaton did something I believed impossible; he made the Vulture scary as !#@#. In or out of costume, Keaton’s Vulture sends chills down your spine and makes you look over your shoulder. The guy was seriously menacing and his suit was pretty badass. I dare say that he may be the top villain in the MCU at this point, holding nothing back to meet his means.
As mentioned, I had my concerns with this film going in, one of which was Spider-Man having this high-tech suit and possibly taking away from the trials and tribulations he should be going through without the suit. WRONG, the suit doesn’t give him the easy ride you might expect and I loved it. The other was the villain and how could the Vulture possibly be a menace or worthy adversary, and as I said, Keaton may have given me nightmares. Overall, the movie exceeded my expectations and has taken its place as the number one movie in the MCU for me. Watts and the cast gave us a film with great action, well placed and blended sense of humor, necessary but not overly abundant feels and some GREAT Easter eggs, keep your eyes opened for those peeps….and as expected, there are end credit scenes, two to be exact, so enjoy and be patient.
In theaters Friday, July 7th