Ever since I was a kid, my big three favorite comic books were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The X-Men, and Spider-Man. Since Michael Bay has forever ruined my memories of the former, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine made a mockery of my favorite mutant, Gambit, I have been left with only Spider-Man to look forward to. And every time a new film about the webslinger from Queens came out, I liked it, despite the critics always seeming to hurl shit all over it. Needless to say, I was cautiously optimistic about Spider-Man: Homecoming for this very reason. He was great in Captain America: Civil War, but would the critics respond favorably to a full feature-length film? Having watched it last night, I can conclusively say this:
Fuck the critics. No matter what they say, this movie was fucking awesome!
The film opens by introducing us to the big bad, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Vulture, and how he became the airborne villain after losing a major city contract to salvage Chitauri wreckage from the battle for New York at the end of the first Avengers film. It does a decent job setting up the motive for Vulture to despise Tony Stark, although they also attempt to lay the framework for his choice in turning to a life of crime to support his family. We’ve seen this in a previous Spider-Man film in the form of Sandman from Spider-Man 3, a film most of us have tried to mind-bleach out of our heads. Needless to say, seeing a similar origin story for Vulture was a little worrying.
The film foregoes the origin story for Peter Parker in favor of a more en medias res type of opening for the hero, and it is done flawlessly. The introductory shots for Spider-Man are a series of selfie videos made by Peter Parker as he meets Tony Stark and is given his spider suit before the iconic Civil War scene where he snags Cap’s shield. The shots even cover him as he’s fighting in Civil War, and Tom Holland delivers such a perfect immature excitement about his mission that is a breath of fresh air from previous installments of the character’s films.
I’m going to say this right now: Tom Holland is a perfect Spider-Man. His execution of the character is pulled straight from the pages of the comic books and gave me such strong feelings of nostalgia from my childhood. He is funny, immature (as you would expect a child to be at 15 years old) but also strong, and very capable of leading his own feature-length film. Both Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield brought some good things to the spider-verse, but Tom Holland nails it.
As has been made painfully obvious in every trailer, Tony Stark does have a significant role in this film a la Iron Man, but don’t worry; it’s still Spider-Man’s movie. There were plenty of fears online that Robert Downy Jr. was going to steal the show, but I am very happy to report that while he does play the mentor role for Peter Parker exceptionally well, he does not take over the film by any means. His appearances are meaningful, have solid impact on the plot of the film, and are not just excuses to flash CGI-porn on the screen.
As any good Marvel fan knows, there are Easter eggs a’plenty in every film, and this one is no different. As to not post any spoilers, I will leave them out and encourage you to be extra vigilant during the film. Also, don’t get out of your seats too soon; there are two post-credit scenes, and both are well worth the wait.
In all, Spider-Man is easily the best film to come to theaters so far in 2017. I say this having seen Wonder Woman, a film that is already getting Oscar nods from news outlets and The Academy. And yes, Wonder Woman was a great film, but Spider-Man is both a fun, hilarious, and action-packed ride, but also as perfect a representation of the character as has ever been shown on screen before. The title is absolutely fitting. Now back with his friends at Marvel, Spider-Man is finally Home.