Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming
The joint efforts of Marvel and Sony have finally hit the big screen in their newest adaptation of the beloved web slinger. Spider-Man: Homecoming is opening to an estimated $117 million, and it’s expected to remain a presence in the box office for the next few weeks. It stars Tom Holland as the titular character and also features Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey, Jr. The film’s younger cast also features Jacob Batalon as Ned, Zendaya as Michelle, Laura Harrier as Liz, and Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson.
Spider-Man: Homecoming begins with introducing the aftermath of the New York attack in The Avengers. After Tony Stark’s U.S. Department of Damage Control displaces the local contracts procured by Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, Toomes resorts to stealing the alien tech left over from the attack. Meanwhile, Peter Parker struggles with returning to regular life after helping Iron Man and his team during the events of Captain America: Civil War. When his friendly neighborhood activities lead him to discover the alien technology, he sets out to find the one behind the dangerous weapons. This leads Peter to be put to the test as he balances his secret superhero identity and the regular life of a high school student.
Before I get too far into this review, I have to say that the actors’ performances were superb. Michael Keaton has come back onto the scene with pictures like Birdman and Spotlight over the past couple of years, but he truly shines in this as the villain. Robert Downey, Jr. is the Tony Stark that we all have come to love, and Marisa Tomei is a young, hip Aunt May that we’ve never experienced before. All of the younger cast make the high school mindsets come to life, and Tom Holland truly does encapsulate the character of Spider-Man.
One of my favorite aspects of this iteration of Spider-Man is that it feels so true to the young character. I read at one point that part of their inspiration came from John Hughes’ films, and I can see that tone set throughout the film. Michelle is the awkward, smart girl. Flash is a nontraditional bully but a bully nonetheless. Liz is the beautiful, popular girl, and there are a ton of other classmates and teachers that make these high school interactions feel genuine. His best friend, Ned, is another great example of a typical high school student. He reminds Peter of Spanish quizzes and competitions while having a million absurd questions about being a superhero that we would expect from someone that age. He wants to be Peter’s “chair guy,” as he calls it, who coordinates all of Peter’s movements.
Ned’s character alone is great, but Peter Parker does steal the show. He’s fifteen years old, and he’s been thrown into the world of superheroes and villains. That would be a lot for anyone to process, and I can see how it would be difficult for a fifteen-year-old to remain grounded after such an experience. Everything about this reminds us how young he is and how much growing up is needed. He whines about Happy not listening to him and Tony Stark not treating him like an adult. He has a crush on a senior girl, and he has to be dropped off at a party because he cannot legally drive yet. He often acts without thinking through the consequences of his actions, but he is driven by a good heart and a strong conviction between right and wrong. It’s Peter’s naivety and inexperience that make him such a heartwarming character, and it’s his journey that makes the movie what it is.
Overall, this film is a lot of fun, and that’s a point that cannot be overlooked. The humor is consistent throughout, but it doesn’t take away from Peter’s journey or the heart behind it. I have only seen it once so far, but I’m sure that will change in the coming weeks. Sony and Marvel have done a fantastic job bringing our “friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man” to life, and I am already looking forward to the next installment.