I’m just going to get this out of the way early on that way I can actually write about the movie itself and not get hung up on trivial things:
I don’t understand why it had HOMECOMING in the title?
Because it had a Homecoming dance in it?
Because Spidey’s in the Marvel Universe, thus home?
Because he’s finally understanding his place in the world?
God’s honest, that is the one thing I wanted to understand from this movie. I didn’t care about why Uncle Ben wasn’t referenced, any explanation on where Parker’s “Spidey sense” went or even why MJ’s first name was, Michelle. I just wanted to know the meaning behind “Homecoming.”
Other than that issue, I thought Spiderman: Homecoming was a very funny, action-packed and story driven venture for both the Marvel Universe and Sony Pictures that retells an already well-trodden story in a new way. It was incredibly enjoyable to see Parker in high school attempting to navigate the perils of life as a sophomore trying to find his place amongst others in the same predicament. His attempts at being cool alongside with his guy in the chair, Ned, were some of the funnier parts of the film and provided a great change of pace for the more action-filled and serious moments of movie. I would have to say that the pacing was my one and only (aside from the title business) gripe from Homecoming. At times, it felt as if the story was dragging slightly, choosing to linger longer than it needed to on moments where Peter is still figuring out how to use his powers to fight bad guys or is working through a situation in school that could be easily remedied by shorter cuts, etc.
My gripe is a dual-edged sword because on the other side of it I could easily make the case for those same scenes being necessary in order to show that Peter Parker is still just a 15-year old kid who fought alongside the Avengers and is easily in way over his head. Some of those scenes do a solid job of visually explaining his naivety and helping support his struggle to rise to the challenge that Tony Stark has laid before him. A perfect example of this was when Peter was stuck inside the weapons silo and as result used his time to test some aspects of his suit which then resulted in him missing his debate finals. Again, it’s a minor gripe and nothing that would deter me from watching it a second time.
What did work with Spiderman: Homecoming first and foremost was its cast. Tom Holland is a wonderful Spiderman/Peter Parker, encompassing all of the qualities that the comic book hero was; nerdy, sarcastic, witty and kind. He did an excellent job and I’m excited to see him in future Marvel ventures. I had made mention of the high school setting being a smart choice on the story’s part to place Parker because it was a part of his life that was easily overlooked in previous installments. While with Raimi’s versions it was present in the first film, it still was far from believable because MacGuire looked well into his twenties. I could go on about what it got right, however, the single most important aspect that this movie got right was its villain. Hands down, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes aka Vulture is one of the best villains ever put on any form of screen. He was grounded, believable and correctly motivated to the point where his villainy actually made sense and didn’t serve as a secondary advice to introduce another hero, side-story spinoff or Infinity Stone. His purpose was something that an audience could get behind and even in the right circumstance could empathize as to why he is doing what he’s doing, which is very new territory for any Marvel villain. Aside from Toomes, I would say that Kilgrave from Jessica Jones is the next closest villain that is worth anything onscreen. People might make the argument for Loki, however, upon a rewatch of Thor he comes across as cheesy and forced and it isn’t until Avengers where he grows into something beyond that. Personally, I gravitated towards Toomes vulnerability with his family and the relatability with his motivations in providing and protecting them. This storyline helped served as a nice break from Parker finding himself and once the two ultimately clash it’s an amazingly action-packed sequence that ends in a great place for both characters.
In the end, I cannot say enough good things about this outing of the Spiderman saga. I love the direction that Parker is following and hope that it only leads to more and more stories involving this Spiderman. Oddly enough, the villain is the true reason to see this movie as it is an amazing sight to see Marvel actually get one right on the big screen. There are several key subtle moments that made me actually cry with laughter in the theater and have been ones that I’ve actively tried to see in conversations with others if they were noticed or not. Needless to say, the humor in Spiderman: Homecoming was top notch and served as great in-between moments for the action. I loved it and am excited to rewatch it in the next several months. For now, I plan on going on an internet deep-dive for the meaning behind the title. This mystery must be solved!
SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING – 4 GARYS