Here is how all of our recent Spider-Man movies have fared in my mind, in chronological order. Great Spider-Man movie, great Spider-Man movie, bad Spider-Man movie, mediocre Spider-Man movie, bad Spider-Man movie, and finally, good Spider-Man movie. They really nailed it with the title because this is a homecoming to an actually enjoyable Spidey film.
Peter Parker (A fresh faced, actually high school looking Tom Holland) is a nerd from Queens. A nerd from Queens who just fought Captain America but doesn’t get to tell anyone about it. Already about a year into his abilities, Homecoming does away with the normal Spidey stuff we’re used to: Uncle Ben dying, Great power comes great responsibility, and the creation of the web shooters. Spidey knows he’s a hero. He just needs everyone else to know it too. Especially Tony Stark.
The chance to prove himself shows itself with the arrival of The Vulture (Michael Keaton), a stepped on contractor who decided that a life of crime making and selling weapons based on Chitauri tech, was the best way to provide for himself, his crew, and his family.
What this Spider-man movie does best all has to do with Tom Holland and Peter Parker. Tom is a great choice for Peter. Nerdy, voice-cracking, confused, funny, going through puberty, he is fantastic in the dual nature of Spider-Man. This actually feels like a high school, instead of 30 year olds pretending to get pushed into lockers.
What it does well is connecting it to the entire MCU without shoving it down our throats and beating us to death with references. Of course bad guys would try to steal alien tech, that’s awesome and great motivation. Of course Captain America would make PSAs to be shown in public school, that’s hilarious. Oh, you threw in Hannibal Buress as a gym teacher? Goddammit, you’re making amazing choices Homecoming.
But it fails in ways that are probably only peeves of mine. I loved that Spider-Man was the only hero in New York at one point. The MCU is getting so big and bloated and why doesn’t Iron Man just make everyone Iron suits, and what’s the point if Spider-Man just gets rescued by Stark every time he efs up? And he efs up a lot. Tony has this weird motivation where he wants Peter to train up as a friendly neighborhood superhero, right after having him fight the most powerful people in the world. You gave the kid a suit, Tony, of course he’s going to fight dangerous people. Tony gets mad at Peter for biting off more than he can chew, and then in the climax, congratulates him for it. I see no difference except that Tony didn’t need to rescue him the second time. And now he’s ready to be an avenger?! Bull-shit.
Nit-picking. I know. But it’s the life I chose. Homecoming has great moments. Keaton is great as the villain, and very relatable, unlike other Spidey villains. Peter’s best buddy is the man. There’s a fantastic twist and there’s a part I almost cried because Tom Holland sold the pain so well.
So, go, enjoy a Spider-Man movie again and thank god he’s not in Sony’s dirty hands anymore.
3 out of 4 stars.