Obvious Warning: Possible Spoilers ahead.
We try to leave massive spoilers out of our reviews, however if you are super paranoid about having details about a movie spoiled for you, you probably shouldn’t be reading a review of the movie.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the sixth Spider-Man film to be released in recent memory with the 3rd different actor (Tom Holland) taking over as our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. We did get an entertaining and true-to-source-material sneak preview of Holland’s version of Peter Parker in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, which left most of us fanboys with high hopes for Spider-Man: Homecoming!
Thankfully, the producers of Spider-Man: Homecoming did not feel it necessary to subject us to a 2 hour re-telling of Spider-Man’s origin. I think everyone who would be in market to purchase a ticket for a Spider-Man movie is familiar with Peter being bitten by a radioactive spider and Uncle Ben’s speech about great power and great responsibility. Spoiler: That speech has nothing to do with any rice recipes.
I have never understood why studios feel they need to re-tell origins of well known heroes with every casting change. If it is a new or relatively unknown character (Star-Lord) I get it, but is there anyone born in the western hemisphere in the last 50 years who does not know Peter was bit by a radioactive spider, Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered or Superman came from another planet?
Although we still don’t know what happened to Peter’s parents…or do we...
In Homecoming, Peter Parker must protect the city of New York from an evil super villain arms dealer who is using alien technology left over from the battle of New York (The first Avengers movie) to create futuristic powerful weapons. All this while trying to balance a mild mannered high school life, get the attention of the girl he likes and get ready for (you guessed it): The Homecoming dance!
As I mentioned earlier, this was the second time we have see Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and I gotta say: I love this kid in this role, especially as Peter Parker! Holland looked and acted as you’d expect a true 15-year-old would in multiple situations.
I’ve heard a few people complain that there was too much “high school” in the movie, such as Parker video blogging himself at the beginning of the film. But it is a film about a high school kid and that is what high school kids do.
This movie did a much better job of capturing a more realistic “Peter Parker high school life” than the previous films. Parker is constantly being put into complex situations where he needs to make tough choices between high school life (such as competing in the academic decathlon) or rushing off to fulfill his Spider-Man duties. Choosing between having fun with your friends or performing your chores is something most teenagers (and even young parents like myself) can relate to.
While I did miss hearing J. Jonah Jameson barking orders at him, I did enjoy the supporting cast of Parker’s high school classmates. From his comedic buddy Ned to his new romantic interest Liz. I was uncertain about the re-invention of Flash Thompson’s character from the typical “jock” bully to being more of an intellectual fellow geek, but it worked out well and assisted with the story telling. Why would the school bully have so many classes and events with Peter, Ned and the other advanced placement kids?
This movie was also successful in conveying Spider-Man’s humor and wise-cracking without it being overly done. Spider-Man’s humor is supposed to be a PG rated Deadpool (actually, I guess Deadpool is the R rated Spider-Man since Spider-Man came first and Deadpool is based off of Spider-Man). There is a fine line between funny sarcasm and plot distracting wise-cracks and I think this movie got it right.
I was also unsure about the re-casting of the typical geriatric Golden Girl-ish Aunt May to the younger MILF-ish Marisa Tomei, but it actually worked out very well. A whole lot more can be done story wise with a younger Aunt May (relationships, work, Peter’s friends having a crush…) who is of the right age to have a high school kid.
The Bad (guy)
I love Michael Keaton in pretty much anything he has ever done (except maybe Working Stiffs with Jim Belushi). However I never thought much of the comic book character the Vulture, so I was apprehensive of how this was going to turn out.
But my apprehensiveness (Srabble triple word score there!) was completely unfounded as Keaton put forth his usual convincing, high energy performance.
The best villains are always the ones you can relate to on some level or at least sympathize with as to why they are doing what it is they are doing. Keaton has a natural ability of just being relatable and this shows through in his portrayal of big government stiffed working class hero Adrian Toomes. Keaton actually makes you feel bad for Toomes to the point where you want to like the guy.
Toomes gradually becomes more cold-blooded throughout the movie but still holds onto his “nothing is more important than family” code, which is displayed in the scene where he is dropping Parker and his daughter off at the homecoming dance.
At this point, he knows Parker is Spider-Man but is also thankful that Parker saved his daughter’s life earlier in the movie. He respects that Parker keeps his identity close to the vest to protect his loved one and lets him go, basically stating “you stay out of my way and I will stay out of yours”. (SPOILER: they do not stay out of each other’s way.)
We don’t need to make Spider-Man into “Iron Man 2.0”, so why try to so hard to do so?
I might take some heat for this, but I thought there was a little too much Tony Stark in this movie. I understand that Stark is playing the part of the surrogate father figure in Spider-Man’s life, but I felt he just popped up a little too often and sort of interrupted the flow of the movie a bit. Granted, part of the screen time may have been due to Robert Downey Jr.’s contract.
I was also not a fan of having artificial intelligence in Spider-Man’s suit. It did provide some comic relief and an easy way for the writer’s to communicate information to the audience (i.e. Damage Control’s warehouse), but it was a little too Iron Man-ish.
I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming and would rate it a close 2nd to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as my favorite Spider-Man films. There was plenty of action, well timed humor, well written characters and terrific performances all the way around.
Keaton gave us a Vulture that was cold-blooded, relatable and scary. The movie also set itself (and a future villain) up very well for the sequel. While the sequel will be a couple years out, we will see Holland’s Spider-Man in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Spider-Man: Homecoming earned itself a 4 out of 5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Scale and Kid Safe on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Scale (Violence).
Do you agree? What did you think of Spider: Homecoming?