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A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
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As Marvel has continued the trend of diving into new sub-genres, this movie is a coming of age story where previous ones have been mainly an origin story. Due to this change, I feel that we know Peter more as a character than we ever have before and less of just the guy who is behind the mask.
Tom Holland is the best and most relatable Spider-Man to date and this film is a great reconstruction of the franchise. Spider-Man seems refreshingly different than usual, nerdy and way stronger than ever before. For the first time a Spider-Man villain is not pathetic or irrelevant and the credit goes not only to Keaton but to the writers who have shaped a memorable anti-hero character.
In hindsight, the film makers have obliterated Spider-Man's character building exercise where he needs to make irrevocable mistakes as to shape his character in the future. The absence of Uncle Ben and death of Peter's parents might affect the character in future endeavors.
Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a great introduction to the character of Spider-Man. It is a fresh and dynamic approach to creating the character and showing that Spider-Man doesn't have to save the world but still can make a difference. It fits well with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a welcome addition.
Unlike the first films in the other film versions of the character, SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING doesn’t backtrack and provides no origins tale of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man. The movie begins on the assumption that the audience already knows how Peter Parker became Spider-Man; that he feels responsible for his Uncle Ben’s death; early struggles with powers, etc. That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t involve any origins. However, instead of explaining the origins of the hero, this movie explores the origins of its key villain: the Vulture, portrayed by Michael Keaton. The movie actually begins after the events of the first Avengers movie. Parts of New York are a mess after the intergalactic conflict between the extraterrestrials and the Avengers. Keaton’s Adrain Toomes is a working man with a clean-up crew hired to help remove the rubble. But, as is the case in real life for many people, the government comes in and Toomes and his crew are dismissed from the work site without any compensation. Toomes later learns that Tony Stark is responsible for what happened to him and that knowledge combined with an unexpected surprise changes Toomes’ life. He becomes the Vulture not as a way to bring about evil, but to make money to support his family.
We first meet Peter Parker and Spider-Man in this movie through a video diary Peter made when he was brought to Germany during the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR. Audiences get to see a few behind the scenes moments from that movie. This segment ends with Tony Stark dropping Parker off at his home, just days after the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR (referenced later when one character says of Captain America, “I think he’s a war criminal now”). Parker truly feels like he’s really a superhero now and is excited at the prospect of leaving his ho-hum high school existence behind and joining The Avengers full time. However, Stark doesn’t think Parker is ready and keeps encouraging him to continue to be involved locally; to be the “friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.”
Parker tries, but while doing so discovers that there’s a group of people selling illegal weapons built with alien technology in his neighborhood. These weapons are dangerous and threaten the lives and livelihoods of the people Peter cares about. The arms manufacturer/dealer has to be stopped and he’s determined to do whatever he can to make sure that happens. In the midst of all this, Peter is also just a regular sophomore boy in high school attempting to keep his grades up and dealing with his feelings towards girls.
While SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING is definitely a Spider-Man movie, a comic book movie, and a movie that’s a part of the larger MCU, it’s a movie that even casual film goers can enjoy. The script is focused (although it gets rather lengthy in the final act), the acting top-notch, and the effects superb. There’s some great acting and the chemistry between the characters and the character development of those characters is amazing. Michael Keaton is the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the introduction of Loki in THOR. Like Loki, Toomes isn’t a completely evil person. Make no mistake, he does some pretty horrible things during the course of the movie. However, he doesn’t always act like a villain and sometimes his intentions are not only understandable, but almost honorable. I really hope that we see Vulture again and not just in another Spider-Man movie.
The other lead actor in the film is Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Holland gives an impeccable performance. There are a lot of nuances to the role and Holland has just the right balance of humor and lightheartedness (something that Andrew Garfield’s incarnation lacked) and grounded grit (something that was lacking in Tobey Maguire) required of the character. I look forward to seeing him portray the character for years to come.
SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING is a great movie. While the film is deeply indebted to previous Spider-Man incarnations (there are lots of references in this movie to earlier incarnations) and is heavily tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a movie that also stands well on its own. It’s fun, entertaining, and exciting. It’s good to welcome Spider-Man home and I hope all of his cinematic adventures from here forward are as well developed.
94% on Rotten Tomatoes.