I’ve always liked Spiderman. Sam Raimi’s take on the web slinger some 15 years ago was a well realised and exciting adventure that was at the boom of the superhero genre making its mark on dominating the box office. For the most part, it was a well told story with such charm and sentiment that never down played the stakes and heart of arguably the most relatable superhero there is.
Andrew Garfield’s Spidey was a somewhat twitchy but very much appealing take whose exploits were slightly more sinister than of Tobey Maguire’s. All in all, both his movies were somewhat forgettable and wasn’t that long after Sam Raimi’s trilogy closed in 2007.
Now we have Tom Holland’s interpretation and while many would roll their eyes at the idea of yet another Spidey over a course of over a decade, many can actually take a resounding sigh at what just might be the best Spiderman movie since 2004’s Spiderman 2.
Very much at home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is a much more fresh faced, idealistic Peter Parker who’s aspirations to become a do-gooder/Avenger is carried by Holland’s infusion of boundless enthusiasm and winning charm. He’s fantastic in the role, emphasis on the word ‘fan’ by the way, Holland is as excited to be Spiderman as Peter Parker is as excited to be Spiderman. Holland’s brings the similar gentle nature Garfield and Maguire brought to their roles and like Parker, he’s still fairly new to the game.
The story begins in the aftermath of the fight that took place in New York when the Avengers fended off against the Chitauri fleet. Michael Keaton’s Adrain Toomes is part of a salvage company to clean up the mess when Tony Stark’s Damage Control swoops in uninvited and takes over, putting Adrian and his colleagues out of business. Ticked off, he vies to use the technology left behind to build and sell their own weaponry.
Thankfully this isn’t an origin story as we’ve been burdened with that twice already, instead this is some months after Peter is afflicted with superpowers and the giddy wonderment of defending his neighbourhood. Marvel Studio’s president Kevin Feige assures us that there’s still more to Spiderman and that no superhero is more relatable. That’s probably why this take on the web slinger is younger and more identifiable to the millennials of today.
This is a blockbuster disguised as a coming of age story as Peter’s internal struggle lies in his dependence on Spiderman making him cooler or more self sufficient. You feel his pressure in becoming a responsible young adult as well as being a worthy superhero.
The MCU has long been troubled in delivering complex and intriguing villains, with a few exceptions like Loki, Wilson Fisk and Kilgrave. Homecoming gives us one of the MCU’s more sympathetic and well-rounded villains as this is someone who has been hard done by Stark and has a family depending on him. There’s motive in his menace. Keaton is understated yet menacing and considering the comeback streak he’s been on since his Oscar nominated turn in Birdman, I’d expect nothing less at this point.
The dynamic between Toomes and Parker is pretty palpable and personal. It perfectly compliments the personal dilemmas shrouding Peter’s journey, it also speaks to how relatable he truly is. Taking much inspiration from the coming of age teen dramas of yester year (Watts got his young cast to do a John Hughes marathon), Peter is
Marisa Tomei (who plays a rather attractive Aunt May) describes Homecoming as a ‘big movie with an independent spirit’. I’d have to agree, director Jon Watts enables Homecoming to be fairly small scale and stand apart from the rest of the MCU. It of course makes references to earlier efforts in the franchise like ‘Civil War’ but the danger with that threatens the movie’s identity as a Spiderman movie first and foremost, fortunately that’s treated with care. The set pieces are thrilling but much of the danger threatens Spidey’s hometown in Queens rather than the entire world.
One of the most sought after composers in the industry, Michael Giachinno crafts a score that supports light hearted, whimsical nature Watts is going for that I found reminiscent of his Oscar winning work on Pixar’s Up.
The suit given to Peter by Stark is pretty great, there’s one sequence that has Peter using ‘interrogation mode’ on Donald Glover’s Aaron Davis that’s pretty hilarious. Glover’s presence is welcoming considering many speculating on appearing as the African American counterpart; Mile Morales which given how young Morales is, Glover is now in his mid 30’s but does mention his interaction with Peter about a possibility in seeing Morales in the future.
Two aspects that are highlight among the entire MCU involves Stan Lee’s cameo and a post credits sequence that directly addresses the audience in a way that speaks on the tradition of us waiting till the very end to see what bookend sequences serve the over arching narrative. They’re both comic gold.
Homecoming is a really good Marvel movie and a delightful and mature Spiderman movie, one that offers promising potential in the next 2 instalments of this generations Spiderman in the MCU.