Spider-Man: Homecoming opened this past Friday and marks Sony’s sixth Spider-Man solo film and third attempt at a Spider-Man franchise. Spider-Man has had a bit of a sketchy history when it comes to big screen adaptations of the character, so where did this latest crack at the story of Peter Parker rank among the rest? Well, it may be far from perfect, but the film winds up being the best and most faithful adaptation of the Spider-Man mythos to date.
[WARNING – SPOILERS BELOW]
There are two things that Homecoming truly excels at: staying true to the source material and not taking itself too seriously. It borrows heavily from the comic books the film is based on when it comes to certain aspects of the film, and this only makes the story that much better. Not only are those traits presented up front in the film, such as the characters Ned Leeds, Liz Allan and Adrian Toomes, but there are also many hidden references to the comics in the film as well, everything from a tease for the Scorpion in the mid-credits scene to a small cameo by Betty Brant.
In addition to being reverent to the source material, Homecoming also does a great job of keeping the tone of the movie light and carefree. Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man films were often remembered for ending with somber funeral scenes, and when audiences last saw Spidey on the big screen in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, they saw Peter blaming himself for the death of Gwen Stacy. In short, the last five Spider-Man films weren’t exactly happy movies.
Homecoming aims to fix that. Director Jon Watts gives the audience a brightly colored, action-packed movie that never feels too gritty, while also not feeling overly campy. Watt’s also does a good job of telling the story of Peter Parker. Part of the charm of this movie is that it portrays Peter Parker not only as a superhero with great power and great responsibility but also as an ordinary teenager living in Queens. The bright, optimistic personality of Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland in the film) makes the film much more digestible and more fun to watch. Seeing the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the eyes of a 15-year-old kid from New York gives the film some much-needed innocence. Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s biggest strength is its bright tone, and does a wonderful job of telling the coming-of-age story of Peter Parker.
That said, Homecoming does have a few issues, mainly related to the script. At times, things happen in the movie just because it would be convenient to the plot (like when Toomes’s secret base just happens to be where Peter’s academic decathlon team is competing) and at times some dialogue feels a bit awkward (such as when Spidey finds himself talking to himself out loud while spying on some bad guys at times just so the audience knows what’s going on). There were also some moments and behaviors from certain characters that felt a bit out of place at times. One of these instances is from Michael Keaton’s character, Adrian
There were also some moments and behaviors from certain characters that felt a bit out of place at times. One of these instances is from Michael Keaton’s character, Adrian Toomes, when he threatens Peter that he will “kill you and everyone you love.” This moment feels out of place for Toomes, especially since up until that point, his whole motivation was that he was not an actual supervillain, just a man trying to provide for his family. Another instance that felt strange was the ending when Peter’s primary love interest Liz Allan moves away to Oregon, and Peter still doesn’t tell her the truth about his secret identity. The idea that Peter would reveal himself as Spider-Man to Liz was foreshadowed throughout the entire movie, and it was strange not to have any pay off for that tease. One final issue that the film has is the constant use of Tony Stark/Iron Man as an ex
One final issue that the film has is the constant use of Tony Stark/Iron Man as an ex Machina. While it is nice to see major aspects of the MCU crossover into a Spider-Man movie, it would have been nice to give Spidey some room to breathe in this film and not be overshadowed by Iron Man (although that is sort of the plot of the film). Overall, the plot felt a bit awkward and disjointed at times, but the parts that didn’t work wound up being covered up by Watt’s wonderful directing.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was not a perfect movie. However, it was an extremely carefree adventure and really wound up being a touching coming-of-age story.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters now and is rated PG-13.
8/10- See it in theaters NOW.