Welcome back to Second Union’s coverage of the MCU films! Avengers: Infinity War releases in a few days, and to celebrate the arrival, we’ll be taking a look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, following the web-slinging superhero (Tom Holland) after his debut in Captain America: Civil War. He must attempt to maintain a balance between school and crime-fighting, all while trying to prove himself to Tony Stark. When he discovers an underground weapons manufacturing ring, he has to try to dismantle it and take down the leader, a supervillain known as Vulture.
Marvel’s solo film formula has kept the studio going for a decade now. As seen in prior films like Iron Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange, the studio’s formula consists of a selfish character who must come to terms with their actions. By the end of the film, they’ve learned important lessons and saved the world from a threat. As you can expect, the best Marvel films are the ones that break that mold, and Spider-Man: Homecoming does just that. It impressively acts as a superhero film while masquerading as a coming-of-age flick reminiscent of the ones made famous in the ’80s.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is not a movie without flaws. Like all superhero films, it has trouble balancing certain aspects. What was marketed as a solo outing for the hero is mostly spent with him trying to live up to his mentor’s legacy. It’s not that elements like this aren’t important to have in a film. It’s just that the movie spends so much time focusing on this aspect that it begins to feel boring in parts, as well as a bit repetitive. That being said, Robert Downey Jr. is always great, and this is no exception. Stark is as entertaining as he is in any of the other Marvel films, and his presence is most certainly appreciated.
Tom Holland’s performance as Spider-Man is quite possibly the best one yet, but his performance as Peter Parker is even better. In the other two Spider-Man franchises, there wasn’t much room for high-school antics, as those focused on the superhero aspect of Parker’s life more than it did on his school and home life. This film definitely favors the latter, spending lots of time focusing on Peter’s relationships, as well as the general troubles of being a high-schooler. Coupled with the fact that he’s close to becoming an Avenger, the smaller-scale elements really make this movie special and different than others before it.
In a universe where very few superhero villains can be labeled as “memorable”, Vulture / Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is one of the best. Keaton gives one of the best villain performances simply because of how the film focuses on him as a human being with thoughts and emotions. Up until this point, there really hasn’t been that many relatable villains, but Toomes is great because of how you see him. He isn’t corrupted by power. Behind his villainy, there’s a serious and believable driving force. This makes him one of the greatest and well-developed antagonists in Marvel’s library.
In terms of action sequences, Homecoming‘s are exciting and enjoyable. They serve no purpose other than entertaining and do just that. While they aren’t as visually stunning and fast-paced as others in Marvel’s library, there’s no doubt that they’re fun. The best is by far the Washington Monument scene. Not only is it tense, but it’s also funny. The ferry scene is a close second, that one being even more engaging. The only issue with these scenes is that they’re way too short. None of them have to be long like the airport battle in Civil War, but they definitely could be a bit more lengthy.
One of the film’s best aspects is that it doesn’t feel like a step backward for the film version of the character. There’s no Uncle Ben subplot, no exposition as to how and why Peter started crime-fighting. This is good because we’ve seen those twice before. However, it also feels a bit too much like a set-up. It isn’t as bad or as obvious as other films before it, but could we do without the introduction of something new at the end of these films? Just once. Did we really need the introduction of the Iron Spider suit? No. The film could’ve also done without Michelle (Zendaya) dropping that her nickname is M.J. The references feel out-of-place in a movie that fits in snugly with the rest of the MCU.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of the most delightful entries in the MCU. While not without its flaws, it chooses to “stay close to the ground” instead of going for a massive-scale blockbuster. Tom Holland proves himself more than up to the task of portraying both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and the decision to focus more on his daily life was very much so important, paying off nicely. Timeline errors aside, this is one of the most enjoyable entries in the MCU, and also one of the best.
Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts.