REVIEW - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: The Night HE Came Home
After the failure of the Marc Webb / Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man franchise, and the appearance of Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War, it became glaringly apparent to everyone that Spider-Man: Homecoming was going to have to be a very different kind of film than its predecessors. Different is certainly what it delivers.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is, in equal measure, the most comics accurate version of Spidey and the least comics accurate – at the exact same time. Eschewing a retelling of the origin in favor of just getting down to the business of letting Spider-Man be Spider-Man, the film picks up with a clever recap of the events of Captain America: Civil War with young Peter Parker being whisked away to Germany to fight alongside Iron Man against Cap himself. After throwing down with The Avengers Peter is popped back on another plane and taken back home to Queens, and while he is allowed to keep the Tony Stark designed Spider-Man costume he is told to lay low until Tony calls him for his “next mission.” It’s a call that never comes.
Obviously here is where we get into the new territory versus the classic interpretation of the character. Here, in his earliest days, Pete has a costume that can launch a drone; track bad guys for him, adjust his web shooters to fire blasts of different weaponized web fluid, alter his voice to better intimidate bad guys, and also talk to him just like Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. This is something that we’ve never seen before, as Peter’s web-head costume has always been something of his own design, but it allows for a unique twist on the telling of an origin film. Through exploring the Stark suit, we are able to familiarize ourselves with Spidey’s powers without having to go through the process of the character discovering them for the first time all over again. It also allows us to see a Peter Parker who is a little overconfident and reckless, without having to once again endanger the life of poor lost and gone Uncle Ben. This Peter is learning all the same lessons, but in a different way and in a different order.
Placing this new film squarely in the MCU also allows interesting use of the events of the first Avengers movie as the origin of the Michael Keaton* version of The Vulture, here a contractor hired by the City of New York to conduct clean up of the alien invasion that was the third act of The Avengers. Forced out of that aforementioned contract, Adrian Toomes has to find another way to provide for his family – so like his comics counterpart he turns to a life of crime: scavenging alien and advanced technology from sites where the Avengers fight, turning them over to The Tinkerer to rebuilding into amazing weapons and then letting The Shocker sell them on the black market.
Meanwhile, Peter just wants to help people and he thinks that the only way to do that is through the Avengers so he is constantly looking for a mission that will get him relocated upstate with the superhero team. He’s so busy focusing on getting to be an Avenger that he has lost sight of just being a typical high school sophomore with his friends, he is dropping out of his extracurriculars and avoiding hanging out with his friends so that he can be ready on the off chance that Tony Stark calls with a mission. Eventually he stumbles onto The Vulture’s black market weapons scheme and sets out to investigate it on his own and then bring it to a stop against Iron Man’s advice that he let other people handle it. The result is an incident that makes Tony take back the super suit and force Peter to learn how to be Spider-man without any of the fancy Stark Industries gadgets built into the suit. Maybe on the way Peter will also learn how to just be fifteen year old Peter Parker again, if he can survive the Homecoming Dance and stop the plans of The Vulture*.
Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man may be the more faithful adaptation of the Spider-Man origin story; and it may, through Tobey Maguire, present us with a more comics accurate Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but Homecoming manages to give us a Spidey who feels more like he stepped from the pages of a real comic book. Tom Holland* feels more like the good kid from Queens who just wants to do right by everyone with his special abilities and his science acumen; he is quippy and fun in just the right ways you want Peter Parker to be. Returning Peter to his true teenage roots and putting him back in high school may have seemed like an odd choice when it was announced in the run up to Civil War, but it was absolutely the right choice and has opened the door to some potentially great storytelling from Sony and the Marvel Story Group. The film never quite surpasses the perfection that is Spider-Man 2, but it certainly gives that “Spider-Man No More” adaptation a thorough run for its money.
We don’t yet have a consistent rating method, so I’ll give this one 4 Web-Shooters out of 5.
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