Synopsis: After getting a taste of that sweet Avengers fix, Peter Parker is back in his own solo adventure facing off against Michael Keaton’s Birdma. . . .I mean Vulture! (Seriously though was his casting just a bit or what?)
Here we are again, true believers! This is the third Spider-Man franchise within the last 10 years! This time Spider-Man has some amazing friends, cool new threads, and the creative backing of the committee at Marvel that somehow keeps making adequate to great films!!
I’m a huge fan of the Boy who would Be Spider and I have a special place in my heart for the character. As flawed as they were, I was really infatuated with The Amazing Spider-Man movie. I was really disappointed when Sony decided to let Marvel Studios have joint custody over Spidey, canceling any plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Nevertheless, Marvel did good by Spidey and gave him one hell of an introduction in Civil War. Fans came out preaching the gospel of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man! They even crowned him the greatest of the Spider-Men! As for myself, I loved the performance, but I wanted to see if this kid could stand on his own in a solo adventure.
The answer is… Kinda.
To be blunt, Tom Holland is the best film version of Spider-Man. He has the perfect mix of that Peter Parker social awkwardness and the freedom he exhibits when he puts on the suit. I won’t say it is 100% comics-accurate, but this is the first time where one persona does not compromise the other like in previous films. McGuire was an excellent Peter Parker but his Spidey needed more quips and charisma. Garfield had all the quip and none of the Parker. Holland is a perfect blend. He also has great comedic timing and gives Spidey a youthful energy we have not yet seen in the MCU. As a trained gymnast, he definitely looks the part and moves like one would imagine Spider-Man would move. You can tell that he is enjoying the hell out of this role and it is infectious. When the film demands more drama and tension he delivers. This kid is incredibly charming and is a great addition to the MCU.
The rest of the cast is exceptionally well acted. Jacob Batalon is incredibly funny as Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds. Tony Revolori takes a fresh new spin on Flash Thompson that feels both more current to today and hilarious. Zendaya as Michelle is awesome, and she is my favorite character in the film besides Spidey. RDJ is pretty good as a fun but stern pseudo-father figure for Peter, but he can probably play this role in his sleep, so that’s no surprise. Unfortunately, Laura Harrier’s Liz is used as a typical Love Interest/plot device that could have been written with a bit more character. Donald Glover is pretty much wasted as just a simple Easter egg for Miles Morales fans. (It’s especially disappointing for me because I freaking LOVE the Prowler and wished he had a more hands-on henchman role.) As for Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May, I feel as though her casting was made just for the “Aunt May is hot now” jokes (they get old very fast). She’s good and even has a moment of genuine emotion, but she could have been treated way better. Those who know Spider-Man lore will definitely be able to spot characters who have appeared in the comics. They literally go through two Shockers! They are all pretty fun interpretations and it makes Spidey’s world seem more fuller. Overall, the supporting cast is well realized and is very charming
As for the villain of the piece, Michael Keaton makes an incredibly threatening and yet understandable antagonist. Instead of the cranky old man in a bird suit from the comics, Keaton portrays a blue-collar worker turned professional thief with a grudge for Tony Stark. The movie sets up his motives as the believable and gives him plenty of moments to shine. The twist in the third act that is both hilarious and leaves you on the edge of your seat. The audience I was with let out a collective gasp and it was an amazing experience with a crowd. The flight suit is a really creative design and makes for some cool action set pieces. I don’t want to hype it too much, (he’s no Loki or Kingpin) but he definitely brings something unique to the Marvel Franchise. Keaton made for a pretty good bad guy and I am curious to see what he does in the sequels.
As for the action, it was just okay. There are no moments that spring to mind that we’re especially mind-blowing or technically special. After all, they did hire a comedy director, not an action guy. I’ve definitely seen worse action in comic book films. (Looking at you Suicide Squad!) I may just have been spoiled by the likes of Fury Road, John Wick, and even the Raimi Spider-Man films. However, the comedy and Spidey quips make up for the lackluster fights.
The cast and humor are really enjoyable but the film suffers from one major weakness. The film is too dependent on the Avengers/Tony Stark. Homecoming never feels like a stand-alone film. Nothing about it really screams originality or ambitious. It plays out like just another cog in the Marvel machine. Hell, the Vulture’s whole scheme is to rob a plane full of MCU Easter eggs! I understand that the studio wanted to play it safe and win back fans, but I am hoping that in the next Spidey film we leave the Avengers out of it. Like X-men, the Spider-Man stories usually feel contained in their own world only occasionally crossing paths with the larger Marvel universe. I feel the character shines best when he can stand on his own, so let’s take off the Avengers training wheels.
This film itself has a different goal than the earlier Spidey films. Whereas those films were aiming for a sense of grandeur and worldly responsibility, Spider-Man Homecoming aims smaller. That isn’t to say that this film is lesser than it’s predecessors. The film is a smaller scale character-focused action-comedy, and it works great that way. It does not let up with great humor or the well-done character interactions. It is also full of those Easter Eggs us comic and movie fans love to open our ears and eyes too. I can see how someone might feel disappointed by the smaller scale, but any comic reader will tell you that not every issue is a huge cataclysmic event. This is a solid summer blockbuster and I hope they try to be more ambitious with the sequel.
ALSO, HAVE DONALD GLOVER HAVE A BIGGER ROLE NEXT TIME!!!!!!