Where to begin?
Spider-Man: Homecoming is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU): we have seen Spidey before, making his debut in Captain America: Civil War for 2 brief scenes. After his debut performance was a huge hit with the fans, it was time for Tom Holland (who portrays Spider-Man) to step up his game. This film is not your typical origin story, meaning Uncle Ben does not die and Peter Parker does not acquire his Spidey sense, but rather has already taken on the role of your ‘friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’. It stars the incredibly charming Tom Holland, along with Michael Keaton who takes on the quite literal role of Birdman, that being the villain Vulture. In addition, we have Robert Downey Jr. as his mentor/Iron Man/Tony Stark, Laura Harrier as Liz, his temporary love interest, Jacob Batalon as his buddy Ned, Zendaya as observant Michelle “MJ” Jones and Jon Favreau as “Happy” Hogan. It was this incredible cast that brought you perhaps the best Spider-Man film yet.
Even though rebooting this famous franchise for the second time seemed unnecessary for some people (and unfortunate for previous Spider-Man Andrew Garfield), it finally means that Spidey partakes in the MCU. His style also differs from the previous films: Kevin Feige, producer of the film, stated “We want to play with Spider-Man in the high school years because frankly there’ve been five Spider-Man films and… there are so many things from the comics that haven’t been done yet.” While many did not have much faith in it, this film did not disappoint, and in fact starred what is arguably the best Spider-Man to date.
Besides the charming coming of age-like story, the film also included several nods to the comic books. Donald Glover was featured as Miles Morales’ uncle, a possible foreshadowing to the sequel and a nod to the die-hard comicbook fans. Moreover, despite initially known as “Michelle Jones”, we get to meet MJ, although Marvel is trying to steer fans away from that idea. Yet another reference to the older films is the elevator scene, in which Spider-Man attempts to save his friends, dangling upside down while vis-à-vis with his crush. And finally, fans were quite delighted — and even emotional — when presented with an opening that featured the classic Spider-Man theme from the 60s. Besides this song, the rest of the score was yet another masterpiece by Michael Giacchino. The new Spider-Man theme is definitely catchy and also, as fans have pointed out, the Vulture’s theme is quite clever — being a darker version of the Avengers’ theme.
Spider-Man: Homecoming has also been praised for its ethnically diverse cast. Besides two of Michelle’s passing comments about a protest and slavery, the cast was not used to “make a point” but rather to accurately portray the diversity of New York and its people.
Overall, Tom did an amazing job, and has been compared to the likes of Marty Mcfly from Back to the Future, with his endless, energetic nature: he’s cheeky and living the life of a teenager (“This is my chance to prove myself!”, “I’m sick of Mr. Stark treating me like a kid!”), attending “lame parties”, asking the perfect girl to prom and having boring classes, while all with a special Spidey-twist; he’s incredibly funny and genuine (“I don’t understand, I’m intimidating”) and very quick on his feet (he can do flips as a result of his ballet role as Billy Elliot in his younger years). Tom Holland epitomises Spider-Man, exceeding all expectations and the world looks forward to see more of him. The film was funny when it could be and serious when it should be (“If you’re nothing without this suit, you shouldn’t have it”) – it embraces the idea that Peter Parker is just a 15-year-old and has no intention of even hurting a fly if he doesn’t have to (“Karen, stop it with the instant kill already!”).
Every film does have its flaws of course, and Spider-Man: Homecoming has a few in terms of physical accuracy: no ordinary person would have survived the last battle Spider-Man had with the Vulture, yet they both came out without a scratch, and Peter appeared in his high school corridor the following day as if nothing happened. It might be a superhero film, but that is no excuse for the unnecessarily unrealistic lack of bruising after the roof collapsed on his shoulders. Finally, one could say that Liz’s character lacked depth, although this could have been intentional as her character would depart and most likely not return to the MCU. Besides that, the film was quite successful in its portrayal of the younger Peter and his superhero alter-ego.
Prior to the film coming out, the film had been advertised all around: Tom Holland and Spider-Man were in every product, from M&M’s to Dell. He obtained his driver’s license (at age 15) while driving the newest Audi, and simultaneously catching bank robbers. He attended the NBA finals party hosted by Mr. Stark, also starring DJ Khaled and your favourite NBA players, including Michael “MJ” Jordan. The Nerdist even created a parody music video to Bruno Mars’ That’s What I Like called That Spidey Life that gained massive attention. And if that was not enough, Sony Entertainment published an app in honour of the film, allowing you to take photos in real time with a Peter Parker hologram, as well as to “access” Peter’s phone. So, in addition to the film, there is lots of other material to enjoy featuring our beloved Spidey.
So, to wrap up in Peter Parker’s words: “That was AWESOME”. The film’s witty humour and likeable characters, combined with its tense scenes and unforeseeable plot twist are likely to grasp any audience. No matter if you’re expecting a high school teen movie or an epic superhero film, Spider-Man: Homecoming is not here to disappoint. Before you get your tickets though, do make sure to watch the other MCU films, since they make this one much more enjoyable, and don’t forget to stay until after the credits for a(n amazingly disappointing) post-credits scene.
– Femke & Catalina