In honor of the release of Avengers: Endgame, Eric takes a look at Spider-Man: Homecoming.
I am so glad that Stan Lee got to see Spider-Man redeemed before he passed. When I first saw this film in theaters, I wasn’t blown away. I wasn’t disappointed, just kind of whelmed. It didn’t feel like it knew what it wanted to be, but it did each part well enough that it didn’t hurt the film. After watching the other movies within a relatively small time frame with each other, my appreciation for this film has grown a fair amount. This would probably be my second favorite Spider-Man film (Spider-Man 2 just holds a special place in my heart).
The thing that really establishes this movie over its predecessors is the faithfulness to the character? Note: I said character and not comics. Do they play a little fast a loose with a few things? Sure, but it makes sense in the MCU. A lot of care went in to make sure that he felt real in the world, and I cannot appreciate that effort enough.
For the first time in a Spider-Man film, Peter Parker feels/looks like a kid in high school. You would imagine that would be a detriment to the film, as the acting has to be lesser for age/experience, right? No, it’s a huge bonus to have these kids in the film. They act like kids, they have worries that kids would worry about. Even the changes to some of the characters make sense in the world presented. I love that Flash is a dweeb and bullies him in a way that seems silly and insignificant to people who are past that point. There is an authenticity to what they are saying that I just don’t think we have been able to get in the earlier renditions.
I could not be more glad to not have to see the origin story for a third time, and I love that Marvel was just like, “If you really don’t know the story by now, why are you watching this film?” I don’t think I could have handled Jason Bateman or something as Uncle Ben giving the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech. Plus, the Andrew Garfield version just put a bad taste in my mouth.
Michael Keaton playing Vulture was perfect, though. His motivations were solid, the turn was solid. The fact that he is a Bird Man is hilarious to me; it could not have been a better choice to play him. The faceoff between Keaton and Holland was just so well done. That car scene was like a prom kid’s worst nightmare, and it just worked with everything else going into the movie.
Unlike the other films, there was a fine construction to the movie as a whole. It felt like one part John Hughes homage, one part comic book movie, and they blended together to that point so well. He is a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he interacts within the world, and people react back in a way that is genuine. When the sandwich bodega gets attacked early on, I actually cared and wanted to know if he was okay. Did I actually care about that character? No, I cared because Peter cared; because that would have been damaging to Peter.
Tom Holland is by far the best Spider-Man. He’s quippy, but not the the point that he is vindictive or at the expense of an innocent person. He’s young and goofy-looking enough that I can buy him being a nerdy kid on the fringe. Which, I’m glad they point out that he’s not completely unliked in this universe, just not super popular.
This and the cameos in Civil War and Infinity War have sold me on Tom Holland, the team around him, and those involved in producing these movies. I cannot wait for them to acquire the X-men…and the Fantastic Four. So that both can get the treatment they deserve.