They say, “third time’s a charm” and the latest Spider-Man movie might just be the ultimate testament to that. This is the third attempt at a series reboot for the neighborhood friendly superhero, and so far the reviews seem overwhelmingly positive!Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up where Captain America: Civil War left off; Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been recruited by the Avengers to help the cause. Once that mission was completed he returns to his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in New York to navigate his new identity as Spider-Man and as a high school kid. As a sophomore all he wants is to impress his senior crush, Liz (Laura Harrier), and to show his value to his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Before any major action picks up we are introduced to a new villain, The Vulture (Michael Keaton), who is just a man trying to support his family in an economy that only benefits the government and criminals…which are pretty much the same thing. After his construction company loses a large project to a government contract, Keaton weaponizes some alien technology & thus begins his pursuit into a life of crime to pay bills. The film is an all too familiar battle between Spider-Man wanting to grow up too quickly by taking on responsibilities far beyond his years, everyone one pleading with him to accept the fact that he’s a kid, and him realizing he had the strength, judgment, and maturity within himself the whole time.
The first thing I love is the meaning behind the title of “Homecoming” being three-fold: Peter Parker returns to Queens after the big battle in Berlin, it is the third return to the silver screen for the first movie in a Spider-Man franchise, and finally, there is literally a homecoming dance in the film. The next thing I love is the casting choice of Peter Parker because Tom Holland ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A 15 YEAR OLD! I understand that in Hollywood most actors are cast in roles much younger than their actual age but the previous Spider-Men (Maguire & Garfield) look like creepy college students, or worse, loitering around a high school. “Holland not only looks the part of a 15-year-old but portrays the needed vulnerability, immaturity and jocularity of his comic-book counterpart that was sorely missed in previous movie incarnations,” says USA Today. Holland does a great job of keeping the movie scalable in reference to the other big budget Marvel Universe films, while still remaining an asset to the overall Avenger collective. Finally, my absolute favorite thing about this film is the representation of ethnic minorities in leading AND supporting roles, portraying an accurate representation of what high school in America would look like today, especially in an ethnically diverse area like New York.
For all the things I loved there were, of course, flaws as well. In my personal opinion, I’m over the “your mom is so hot” jokes that I feel went over the top in regard to Aunt May. The fact that, to my recollection, you never hear Michael Keaton’s villainous character actually called The Vulture, but just referred to as the “flying wing guy”. Another thing I didn’t like but I’ll get over is that this isn’t an origin story; all you get is one line about him being bitten by a spider and then we just accept that it may have given him some super strength & killer reflexes but not much else without his suit and gadgets.
At the end of the day, any movie could be picked apart for finite details a critic could hate but overall this movie was entertaining, enjoyable and a much-needed lift for fans of the friendly neighborhood hero. A great summer feature, it’s a promising start to a new series of Spider-Man films and will hopefully bleed seamlessly into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
**This film review was originally written for The Barbershop Show**