The time has finally come! Sony and Marvel have come together to bring us Spider-Man in the MCU in his first solo movie. We are talking of course about Spider-Man: Homecoming, one of the two most highly anticipated movies to come out of Captain America: Civil War (the other being Black Panther, of course). So let’s see how the third cinematic Spider-Man did leading a film instead of being part of a team. As always, things will be spoiler free.
So right off the bat I want to talk about Spider-Man himself. As I said above, this is the third live-action, cinematic incarnation of the character in the last fifteen years. That’s crazy, especially considering this is only the sixth solo movie. I’ve always loved the Sam Raimi films (the third obviously has its issues) and I would have loved to have seen his fourth movie. I’ve also liked the first Amazing Spider-Man for what it was, even if it had its issues and the sequel was awful. But one thing, as a lifelong Spider-Man fan, I’ve always wanted is a really true portrayal of the character. In Sam Raimi’s films, Tobey Maguire looked far too old for the age he was playing, and while he was a really good fit for Peter Parker, he just couldn’t bring out the Spider-Man persona convincingly. In contrast, Andrew Garfield worked better as a high school student, and he really brought the perfect attitude for Spider-Man. But he was not good as Peter Parker, let’s face it, he was just too cool to be that unpopular nerdy character that gets picked on every day. Enter Tom Holland. Guys, we have finally found that balance. He is great as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. He looks age appropriate and he nails both personas. This is the Spider-Man I’ve wanted to see on the big screen, and we’ve finally got it.
The rest of the cast is really solid as well. One thing I would like to say is that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark does not overstay his welcome or take over the film. He’s really not in it a whole lot and that’s not a bad thing. I’m glad we spent more time learning about Peter’s world; the people he goes to school with, his friend Ned, Aunt May, etc. You get to know the people around him as people. It's a really localized film in that way, it feels smaller and and more personal. On the other side of that you also get the villains. Michael Keaton is amazing and also terrifying as The Vulture. He has a slightly different backstory than he usually does, but it makes him a more relatable villain for it. You really understand why he’s doing what he’s doing, if not kind of sympathize with him. It was a small change but I like the impact it had on the overall story of his character. His design also looks great, incorporating some classic elements into an overall really scary and modernized costume that is still instantly identifiable as The Vulture. They didn’t drag out his origin either, and you didn’t really need to, what setup we got was all we really needed. Again, I really appreciated that we skipped the drawn out origins.
Another thing I really liked about this movie is that, much like in Civil War, there’s no flashbacks or backstory, just enough little hints peppered through the dialogue to infer the origin we all know so well. I liked that a lot. It’s like Batman, we don’t need to see that over and over again. We all know how it goes at this point and it was so much nicer just to get to the story. Spider-Man is still pretty new to the game at this point, and watching him trying to navigate these two aspects of his life and try to keep them balanced is way more interesting than seeing Uncle Ben shot for a third time. It also didn’t lay the MCU too heavily on us either, but instead showed us day-to-day life in a world where these things have happened. At this point, The Avengers are part of everyday life, and just part of the fabric of the culture. Not an overwhelming part, but about where you would imagine it would lie in the public consciousness. I thought that was really well done.
Overall I thought the action was really good and you get to see a good showcase of Spider-Man’s abilities. The big set pieces, like the ferry from the trailers, is very impressive. My only complaint is that near the end there is a sequence that, due to it being at night and what is going on in that sequence, that I had a hard time following what was happening. A few of those shots seemed like they should have been pulled back a bit to be easier to see. That’s about my only complaint with the film, however. The rest is excellent overall.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is not only a great addition to the MCU but also a great Spider-Man film and a great film overall. You really get to see the struggle of someone trying to do the right thing with the powers he has while also trying to maintain an actual life outside of that and how he grows as a character through that journey. Highly recommended.