WARNING FOR MINISCULE SPOILERS
(but seriously, the movie’s been out for weeks, spoilers are unavoidable)
It’s no secret that I keep up with the superhero franchises. They’re the only films my friend group has any consistent interest in, and they’re also a safe bet for people balling on a budget. They don’t always blow my mind, but I’ve never been to one and wished I hadn’t spent the $10 (Well, with Marvel, at least. DC consistently drove me up the wall until Wonder Woman). So naturally, when the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie dropped I hopped in the car with my little sister and we scuttled off to the theatre.
I’m going to pause here to tell you that I absolutely hated Sony’s marketing for this film. I saw two trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming prior to seeing the full film in theatres, and those two trailers spoiled nearly every action sequence. Seriously, I’m trying to think of an action scene that wasn’t in one of those two trailers and I’m drawing a blank. The trailers also misled me about the amount of screen-time certain characters would have. Based on the trailers, I really thought the character Michelle would have a more significant role. Instead, I learned that they’d crammed all but one of her scenes into the trailers. I guess they were trying to capitalize on Zendaya’s name recognition, maybe? I also feel like they gave away too many of the movie’s best jokes, and I’m forever salty about the scenes that were in the trailer that weren’t in the movie at all. I know studios do that sort of thing often, but I still hate it.
So, now that I’ve sufficiently griped about the marketing, I’ll go ahead and say that this is my favorite version of Spider-Man thus far. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Sam Raimi films. As far as storytelling goes Spider-Man 1 and 2 are top-notch. When I talk about capturing the essence of Spider-Man though, Homecoming just gets it in a way that Sony’s previous renditions didn’t. Tom Holland plays both sides of the character beautifully, making for a believable Peter Parker and an endearing wall-crawler. Director and writer Jon Watts gave him plenty to work with, and Homecoming is rife with moments that are so quintessentially high school I felt a few twinges of second-hand embarrassment on behalf of the characters.
I think the next thing I really liked about this movie was the villain. Michael Keaton does a bang up job as the Vulture, and I like that his character isn’t just some monstrous megalomaniac. He’s not trying to destroy the world, take over the world, or go on a journey of mass destruction. He’s a little guy that got stepped on one too many times, and I genuinely felt for the guy. Honestly, I think he’s one of Marvel’s better villains. He’s got motivations that make sense and aren’t grounded in a disproportional quest for power (of the world-domination scale) or revenge. If Sony does move forward with a Sinister Six movie and Keaton’s Vulture is in the line up, I’m going to have high expectations. The plot for Homecoming is also a lot less convoluted than Captain America: Civil War (which, lets be honest, had kind of a wtf? villain), and it keeps things small in scale without losing gravitas. Spider-Man and the Vulture have their final climactic battle over one plane, but it still feels like a really big deal, proving yet again that conflict in a superhero movie doesn’t have to be fate-of-the-world big to make an impact.
So, lastly, I’ve seen some complaints about the decision to go with a teenage Spider-Man, which I kind of understand, but not really. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in it for the long haul. As long as Sony and Marvel can keep playing nice, there’s a good chance Spider-Man will grow up and move on from high school and fans will get their grown up Spidey. It’s just going to take a little patience. Honestly, I won’t be surprised if Marvel starts introducing more young heroes over time. The contracts for RDJ and Co. have got to be nearing their end, and unless Marvel wants to reboot the whole universe they’re going to need new heroes that people like to carry the franchise once their heavy hitters move on.
All in all, I was really pleased with Spider-Man: Homecoming. I’d definitely recommend it, with the caveat that you avoid Sony’s trailers like the plague. It’s a fun film that balances high school drama and superhero action nicely, while presenting one of the best MCU villains to date and the most compelling version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man so far.