Spider-Man: Homecoming is an enjoyable web of fun, bringing entertainment and humour to all ages. While the movie does introduce a whole new cast, it does so bringing in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) unique brand of hilarity as well as throwing in a few plot twists nearing the end.
As with almost every good film, Spider-Man: Homecoming does well to ensure that its central characters undergo a substantial amount of character growth.
In the beginning, Peter was an overly ambitious Spider-man who wanted to prove his worth to Iron Man and join the ranks of the Avengers. In doing so, he neglected his personal and school life; pushing away loved ones and potentially ruined his future. However, after his solo stunt almost hurt people, he was reprimanded by Tony and had his suit confiscated. This was a pivotal point in his life as it taught Peter humility and it was then that we were able to see Peter shine as the hero he actually is.
Aside from our webbed protagonist, his avian villain also went through quite a bit of character development. At first, he resorted to criminal ways in order to support his family and fellow colleagues but things took a grim turn when he resorted to killing to keep the business going. However, even after being saved and having learnt Spider-Man’s identity, Vulture was grateful and did not give it up to other potential villains.
Even minor character Tony Stark experienced a bit of character development. The last we saw of Tony, he was a rather broken spirit from the Civil War saga, and was initially cold and indifferent to Peter. Over time, Tony proved to have a soft spot for the spider, stepping up as a father figure for Peter and ultimately growing out of his “too cool for you” billionaire playboy persona.
The Right Balance
As with almost every MCU movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming has certainly struck the right balance between story, character development, and action.
We get a simple enough plot for everyone to follow, yet it is succinct enough to tie in previous events with future ones such as that of Civil War and the moving of the Avengers Headquarters.
As aforementioned, the film does justice to developing its characters and does not force them to take drastic action with little to no substantial motivation. Their development is subtle yet naturally occurring.
Lastly, the movie has some brilliant action scenes especially the Washington monument one as well as the ones featuring Spider-Man vs Vulture. They are not as thrilling and climatic as the Civil War or Avengers‘ action scenes but they were definitely thrilling enough to keep audiences on their toes.
Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man
Tom Holland’s interpretation is a fresher take on the title character but his version of Spider-man is much more human and makes adorable mistakes with his powers; bringing many laughs to the audience.
Tom Holland, in my perspective, is a perfect Spider-man and Peter Parker. As Peter, he embodies the struggles of a teenager and tries to break the mould of being seen as a ‘child’. As Spider-Man, Holland unleashes his family-friendly, witty humour onto his enemies, all the while doing his best to look out for the little people.
Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is much more realistic and relatable as a teenager as compared to the more sympathetic Tobey Maguire’s Peter. Holland’s Peter is also much more humble and nerd-like as compared to the more dashing, charismatic and confident Andrew Garfield’s Peter.
Overall, Tom Holland gives a more human and comic-book accurate portrayal of Peter Parker and Spider-Man as compared to his two predecessors who, regardless, have also done an amazing job as the web-crawler.
Michael Keaton as Vulture
Michael Keaton returns to another superhero-related film (remember him as the dark knight?) but this time he takes on the role of a treacherous villain.
Keaton is much more intimidating and memorable as a MCU villain, given that many of them are easily forgettable or turn out to be rather disappointing (Thor 2 villain who? Ultron, why?). Keaton is intimidating both in and out of the Vulture costume — in it he has the gravitas of a villain, proving a real threat to all who cross his path. Out of it, he is ruthless and would do anything to protect his family, even resorting to killing and issuing death threats.
Even though he was originally a comedic actor, Keaton’s acting chops and prowess are certainly top tier as he balances the role of Vulture as both a criminal and a family man perfectly. He brings a layer of depth to the role as well, especially after sparring Peter’s life even though he was privy to his real identity.
All in all, Micheal Keaton’s Vulture was a compelling and menacing villain with a conscience, giving Spider-man: Homecoming the layer of depth and complexity it needed.
Subtle References to Spider-Man’s Origins
As most movie-goers are more or less familiar with how Peter became the web-crawler, there is no need to have an entire origin story dedicated to it. The movie merely hinted at Spidey’s origins in the beginning and middle of the story, a good move on their part, sparing audiences a gruelling 2 hours of extra footage.
Recurring Minor Characters
In this film, we see more than just Peter and the characters important to him; we also get to see a few characters from Iron Man’s posse making an appearance.
Happy who, is ironically unhappily, is given the role of a “caretaker” to the young Peter, and has to reluctantly keep track of his actions for Tony (like in the previous Iron Man movie). He also helps connect the dots between the last Avengers film and the current universe by assisting in the moving of Avengers’ equipment and possessions from the Avengers Tower to the new base.
Pepper also makes a minor appearance, much to the delight of many audiences. She has been absent since the last Iron Man movie and the last we heard of her was in Civil War whereby she was on bad terms with Tony. Judging from her appearance and a very sweet kiss on Tony’s lips, the fact that the pair are back together again is solidified.
This aspect of Spider-Man: Homecoming reminds us that theMarvel Cinematic Universe is an expansive one and certainly does not forget its minor characters.
As with every MCU movie, the writers find glee in planting Easter Eggs throughout the film for Marvel comic fans to catch.
For Spider-Man: Homecoming, they certainly brought on the nostalgia by playing an instrumental version of the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon theme song during the opening scene.
As the movie continued, we came across Eugene “Flash” Thompson (who would later become an incarnation of Venom), Ned Leeds (Hobgoblin), and Michelle (Mary Jane Watson) — one of Spider-Man’s most prominent love interests.
Other Spider-Man villains that were also referenced were Shocker and Scorpion.
It is also hinted that Miles Morales, another prominent Spider-Man, exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as his uncle, Aaron Davis, the minor criminal who wanted to buy weapons from Vulture and gang, mentioned that he has a nephew who lives in the neighbourhood.
The movie also gives a nod to older related movies such as the famous upside-down kiss from the first Spider-Man movie as well as Captain America’s hilarious cameos.
Weird Interpretation of Minor Characters
While no reasonable fan would expect a 100% accurate interpretation of a character, it is also very jarring and obvious when a character veers too much from how they are originally written as.
This complaint comes from the interpretation of Eugene “Flash” Thompson and Mary Jane Watson. While I do agree that racial diversity is a good step up from the traditional predominately white character trope, the problem stems from the personalities and looks of these characters.
Flash is supposed to be an intimidating stereotypical jock, but he is instead portrayed as a nerdy try-hard who is part of the decathlon and does not have the physique and presence of a traditional jock bully.
Mary Jane is supposed to be a loose party girl at first, however, she is portrayed as a very unconventional, intelligent, and confident loner, teasing Peter throughout the film. While this Mary Jane is rather entertaining and interesting as a character, the way she was written is lightyears away from the lovable Red Head.
The Post-Credit Scene
It was a colossal waste of time. Marvel was trolling us and I hate wasting time waiting for nothing. Patience is a virtue but I am nope-ing that post-credit scene.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is truly deserving of the high praises it has amassed and even with its minor flaws, it is still a movie that all audiences, avid fans of Marvel comics or not, can truly enjoy.