How wrong we were!
When it was announced that Tom Holland would be Spider-Man, I didn't think much of it. But, if you read my Captain America: Civil War review, you'll remember I said I can't wait to see more of Tom Holland's Spider-Man. So I was really excited when I heard it was out. I only just got a chance to see it this weekend with my girlfriend – hence this late review – but by golly it was awesome!
Oh and if you're wondering why it took Spider-Man so long to reach the MCU – well it's because Sony still owns the movie rights to him. However, Marvel has reached a deal to allow him to be used in the MCU, probably a wise move considering how bad Sony's recent Spider-Man films came out. So, now we have Spider-Man in MCU, we're probably gonna get another origin story, right?
In what I think was a great move on Marvel's part, we don't focus on the origins of Spider-Man, considering he was already “established” in Civil War. Instead, we get a continuation of Spider-Man's story after the effects of Civil War. He's still doing Spider-Man things, but waiting to be called again, not realising that Tony Stark is trying to keep him out of the big picture. As Peter Parker, he still has to content with normal everyday school life – which includes hiding his feelings for his crush Liz Allan. However, Spider-Man sees his big chance to make a name for himself when he discovers an illegal arms deal going on with stolen alien technology (left over from the Incident from Avengers Assemble). Spider-Man must now fight the Vulture and his gang of cronies and try and save New-York – whilst also proving to Tony Stark he has what it takes.
As mentioned, not going for an origin story was a clever move on Marvel's part. Spider-Man is such a beloved hero that I think everyone knows his story – about how a spider bit him and gave him his powers, then his Uncle Ben died as a result of Spider-Man neglecting his responsibilities This I think helped the story move along and focus more on the character of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Of course, they make references to his past here and there, and hint towards what might have happened to him, but it instead feels more like a sequel – the film felt it did the ground work already and now it's ready to move forward.
I'll just get right to the point about this film. Tom Holland is (if you pardon the pun) amazing as Spider-Man! Holland's performance proves what made Spider-Man so popular in the first place with the younger audience. It wasn't just his powers, or his heroic nature, it's the fact that he was a bit more relatable than other heroes at the time. He's not a rich billionaire, or an alien from another planet – he's a regular kid that has responsibilities to take care of. And being Spider-Man often effects his real life in ways that can't be imagined. Tom Holland portrays Peter as a kind natured and shy boy, but also brave and somewhat arrogant. But that makes perfect sense – Spider-Man is only 15 in this film after all and he wants to prove himself, having got a taste of the big leagues. Sure he makes some mistakes along the way, but it all helps towards him maturing as a character.
Tony Stark makes a cameo return as a sort of “father figure” to Spider-Man. Sure he's kinda brash with him and gives him a hard time – but let's not forget that Tony is still suffering from guilt as a result of Sokovia. He doesn't want Spider-Man's death on his conscience – although we all know Tony isn't really one for letting his feelings out most of the time. He is a really a key player in Spider-Man learning his life lessons and it's always great to see Tony on screen.
Moving onto the other key player here – the villain of the piece, The Vulture AKA Adrian Toomes. Here he is played by Michael Keaton, who makes a full fledged circle from hero (Batman) to villain. Now I must confess I know very little about the Vulture outside of the Spider-Man Animated Series, but here I thought he was an incredible villain. You know how people complain how Marvel don't do good movie villains? Well Vulture is not one of them. He is actually one of the most complete villains I've seen in a while. He isn't inherently evil, what he does he does to try and earn money. Having had his jobs taken away after the Incident, he and a few friends managed to scavenge some Chitarui technology and make weapons of it, selling it to the highest bidder. Spider-Man just happened to be in their way.
A big twist (and this is a huge spoiler so skip ahead if you want) is when Peter Parker asks Liz to the Homecoming ball, only to discover that Adrian Toomes was her father. That was a twist I didn't see coming and it added a WHOLE new dimension to the Vulture. He was just doing what he was to keep his family in credit – making his actions somewhat noble to an extent. But boy was he scary at times! All in all, Michael Keaton was just brilliant – I might have to say the Vulture might just be on of the greatest MCU villains so far! Yeah, I really mean that.
Other Spider-Man villains that made a cameo was the Shocker – played by two characters, seeing as one of them was killed earlier in the film – and a quick appearance by Mac Gargan, who as fans of the comic might know is the Scorpion. The after credits scene even teases his future involvement with the series later on.
In what some thought was a controversial move (I dunno, Marvel just can't get ANYTHING right when it comes to casting their characters), some of the other characters from Spider-Man mythos – such as MJ, Liz Allen and Flash Thompson, who were originally white in the comics – were recast as different ethnicities. I had no problem with this casting – considering these were characters that never really bothered me in the comics. Plus they were all really fun in the movie – even Flash Thompson with all his smug, wanna-punch-his-face actions. I still have kinda a problem with Aunt May being portrayed as a “MILF” (and yes I know she isn't Peter's Mum) mostly because I always saw Aunt May as the heart of Peter Parker. I don't have any objection with her being younger than in the comics, I just think they could have got someone better. However Ned, Peter's sidekick (who I am not sure was an original character or one based on the comics) was a loveable sidekick that was funny to watch.
This movie was fun to watch – and actually quite light hearted when compared to the other MCU films. Sure it has some darker moments, but Tom's Spider-Man spews forth witty lines that keep the humour going. There's even some funny moments involving his suit (yes he has a mechanical suit here – kinda) that were funny to watch. That's not to say there wasn't any real drama, infact when there was it kinda made you feel glad for the humour. There was one scene in particular when Spider-Man had to lift up a building rubble (based on a famous panel in Spider-Man) that had fallen on him and you could really feel the struggle he was going through. And the ending felt like a kick in the stomach with Peter. But that's always the curse of Spider-Man – Peter's life will always suffer because of it.
The only small nitpick I would say is this – how the hell did Adrian Toomes and his cronies stay hidden for so long? I can understand that the Avengers had their own stories, so they were focused on those – but why didn't S.H.I.E.L.D. go after them? I guess they were compromised after Hydra invaded them, but if you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D then you'll know they were still operating in some way. It just felt a little odd to me. But then I guess New York is a pretty big place.
Funniest moment of the film for me has to be the end credits scene. During the film, the school Peter is at show many PSA's of Captain America, telling kids the usual stuff like “Work hard,” “Stay in school,” you know. At the end, we have Captain America come in front of a blank screen saying “Patience is a key virtue. Because sometimes you wait around for something only to find it's a disappointment.” Clearly Marvel are making fun of themselves for the large amount of after credits scenes they do, so this was a nice touch!
So far we've had brilliant superhero films in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Wonder Woman and now Spider-Man Homecoming. This must be the year of the superhero! Spider-Man Homecoming mixes energetic performances, great humour, interesting characters and twists and, most of all, it's fun to watch! It doesn't try to cram the film with too many storylines, but at the same time leaves some open to explore later. Plus it doesn't suffer with the usual “origin story” pacing issues, delivering a tale that will keep you enthralled. Tom Holland has really made Spider-Man his own and I am more and more excited to see him in future films. It also helps that it's a bit lighter in tone, making it fun for the family to enjoy.
Spider-Man Homecoming gets 5 out of 5, making it a hat trick of excellent comic movies. Let's hope that Thor Ragnarok is just as good!