Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming. (AP)
Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming. (AP)


5/5 Stars


A young Peter Parker begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero, Spider-Man. After his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor, Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine, but distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. When the Vulture emerges as a new villain, Peter will have to defend everything he holds dear.


Fans have been waiting a long time for the MCU to wrestle Spider-Man back from Sony, and although Sony’s name is still “officially” in the title credits, their chaotic touch has been completely replaced by the firm hand of Marvel. I admit I was a fan of Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man (and never Toby McGuire’s sulking weirdo), but Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has blown all previous versions out of the water and brings the friendly neighbourhood superhero to ground level as someone everyone can relate to. We are not only watching a superhero learn how to use his powers, but a young teenager learning how to deal with love, responsibilities and trying to find his place in this crazy world. 

After the events of Civil War, Peter Parker (Holland) has returned to his slightly more boring life, waiting in anticipation for when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) will need his services again. In the meantime, while trying to connect with his high school crush (Laura Harrier), he starts tracking the trail of The Vulture (Michael Keaton) who sells high-tech weapons to criminals.

As this already feels like the millionth time we’ve seen Spider-Man’s story, Marvel cleverly decided to leave out how Peter got bit by a radioactive spider, as well as the tragic death of Uncle Ben, and if included would have severely hampered the light tone of the movie. Everything Marvel did in this movie felt incredibly clever, and I just wish other studios desperate to jump on the franchise bandwagon realise that Marvel got here by harnessing the patience of monks and putting in the time to develop their characters before diving headfirst into big-cast movies. The audience got a taste of Spider-Man with limited screen time in Civil War, leaving us hungry to find out more about him in his stand-alone movie, and they delivered a hilarious high-school movie that retains just enough grown-ups to make it appealing to all.

Holland was a fantastic choice, actually looking like a teenager and he played up that youthful awkwardness for maximum effect, but still managed to pull out a surprising emotional range perfectly captured by his facial expressions. Downey Jr. is not only a great mentor on-screen as Iron Man, but it feels like he also helped Holland’s acting with a little guidance to develop his character on his own. I was worried, based on the god-awful official Spider-Man poster, that Iron Man might end up dominating this movie, but luckily his appearances were brief enough that Spiderman remained center stage, but not too little that his mentorship seemed like a little tag-on rather than integral to the plot. 

Like Spider-Man, the villain is also much more down to earth than previous ‘take-over-the-world’ maniacs - a man with a touch of psychosis trying to take care of his family, and Keaton of course took to the role with his signature hint of mania. Though his suit looks extravagant, his agenda isn’t, and is a good compliment to Peter, who given similar circumstances might have decided to use his powers for criminal activities. I hope they do not retire The Vulture completely, but we’ll have to wait if he’ll return.

Other characters are a little less involved, but prove their relevance in the film through either sheer hilarity, support for the hero or driving the plot. Liz is not exactly the most layered love interest, and it would have almost made me upset at another example of two-dimensional movie girlfriend, but she functions as a catalyst for other characters (no spoilers) and made me thankful that they didn’t invest too much in her. Zendaya’s character makes up for this slack with pure attitude and giving a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) fuck you to the world that just makes you love her. I’d need a many more paragraphs to give my opinion on every character, but just know everyone is pretty great, with special mention of Jon Favreau’s Happy, the best bodyguard/driver/personal assistant/babysitter/ring-carrier you could ask for.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a hilarious, light and fun adventure through the eyes of a teenage superhero that even grownups can relate to. This movie is less about the big monsters (both human and non-human) intent on dominating/destroying Earth, but more about a kid with special abilities juggling his normal life with his superhero one, and learning that patience is the best way to learn how to handle the duties that come with this kind of life. Us normies can easily relate to that, and that makes this one of Marvel’s best.


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