Review with minor spoilers.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first great Spider-Man movie in the last 13 years, and a worthy opponent for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as the best feature film about the character.
There you go, that’s the verdict. Now we get to the parts I am more interested in talking about: what makes the movie so special, what works and what does not.
From the production side of things, Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t really unique, being a movie produced by Marvel Studios, Columbia/Sony and Pascal Pictures. Marvel has, on numerous occasions, co-produced movies featuring characters owned by other studios, although partially and not something completely owned by a different company. (Almost the entirety of Marvel’s Phase 1 was co-produced with Paramount Pictures, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, which was co-produced by Universal Studios).
What is indeed unique about this movie is how fantastical and grounded it is, at the same time and how director Jon Watts has excelled in recreating a John Hughes vibe.
Spider-Man: Homecoming features Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and Holland is undoubtedly the best rendition of the character put on film, and also one of the best parts about the movie. This entire movie revolves around him trying to impress Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., to become a full-time Avenger while juggling his life as a student. His character is a good kid trying to do some good, while also slowed down by the burden of approval from his mentor, and not having his priorities straight sometimes.
Downey appears for a very limited time, so it doesn’t really become anything more than an extended cameo, so the movie never becomes Iron Man 4, as many fans feared.
The movie stars Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture, Zendaya as Michelle, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned, Laura Harrier portrays Liz, a senior, Parker’s love interest, Tony Revolori as Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Parker’s rival and classmate, and Jennifer Connelly provides the voice of Karen, the A.I. in Parker’s suit. Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green both play different incarnations of Shocker, portraying Herman Schultz and Jackson Brice respectively; and are accomplices of Toomes, and Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington. Michael Chernus plays Phineas Mason / Tinkerer, and Michael Mando appears as Mac Gargan, and more, but let’s just stick to the almost major ones.
A standout among these is Jacob Batalon’s Ned, based on Ganke from Ultimate Spider-Man’s Ganke, with the name from a classic Peter Parker roster character, who is the “guy in the chair” for Miles Morales in the comics. His dynamics with Holland’s Parker is excellent and you buy the bit where they are close friends. The entire high school vibe of this movie is on point, and not a forced aspect as it happens way too often with movies. Tony Revolori’s Flash embodied the modern day intellectual bully, and not the stereotypical jock not really a part of the system much nowadays. Another thing that makes the movie so different is that it’s not very showy. While it is jam packed, it doesn’t have many moments that make you cheer in the theatre. However, there are moments that get to you, emotionally, such as a recreation of a classic Ditko era page. Oh, and there are also some references to Raimi’s trilogy.
Keaton’s Vulture, while not a great villain, is a good one, and he certainly shines among all movie MCU villains. You get his motivation, you get his loyalties, priorities and understand why he does what he does. Coming back to Peter, he embodies every good quality of a hero, few have. The movie doesn’t dumb down neither the hero, nor the villain, for plot conveniences, which is an excellent move.
My only problems with the movie are the use of Liz Allen as a device instead of a character, or not using her much and Zendaya. I could get behind the treatment of Liz, as she really was a one movie deal to begin with, and the movie had things going on without having to worry about her. Zendaya, on the other hand, has to work a lot to become the character she is supposed to become, because frankly, right now, I am not impressed at all with the direction of her character. There are some minor continuity issues with the movie, but it is so good, you will look past it.
Overall, this was an honest, feel good, coming of age movie that Spider-Man fans deserved. It reminded us why Spider-Man is Marvel’s crown jewel and I loved this movie, and personally, I place it up there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man, and as a Spider-Man fan, I couldn’t be happier.
What was your opinion of the movie? Let us know in the comments!