Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Spider-Man movie we’ve been waiting for, for far too long. Marvel’s mischievous web-slinger finally gets a realistic high school vibe, the sense of humor he deserves, and a place to shine in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe. We catch up with Peter Parker (Tom Holland), who enjoyed a rollicking turn in Captain America: Civil War, at the beginnings of the trip that led to those antics. He’s using his phone to document his secret mission, and let’s just say that the lo-fi production value gives that incredible fight scene quite a different flavor. This opening montage tells us everything we need to know about Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This movie isn’t concerned with shoving another iteration of the origin story down our throats. It wants to show us Peter as the old comics and cartoons presented him to us. Young, awkward and very imperfect at the superhero game. Yes, he’s got some sweet moves, but he’s only just learning how to control them. And it’s no contest that his crime-stopping skills are developing with more success than his romantic skills. Still, he’s got a dream girl to dream of (Laura Harrier), a nemesis (Tony Revolori — good ol’ flash is now on the academic decathlon team!), a trusty best pal (Jacob Batalon), the girl he never notices (Zendaya), a handler who ignores him (Jon Favreau back as Happy) and the coolest Aunt May to ever grace the screen (Marisa Tomei). That’s more than enough for a teen to navigate, but our pal Pete earns himself a deadly enemy (Michael Keaton) when his neighborhood crime busting puts him hot on the trail of illegal weapons manufacturing.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a Marvel film that brings us back down to earth. Peter knows the people in his neighborhood. When things go wrong, he takes it personally. He’s not at risk of becoming a globally hunted war criminal, but he does have to live with what he perceives as his mistakes and limitations every single day. And in that, this is the perfect launching pad for the fast-talking, web-slinging, upstart’s career within the MCU. Peter reclaims his space in the canon and makes an immediate impact in this joyful, colorful romp of a movie. Yes, there are lessons to be learned and battles to be won, but above all else, this movie is fun. More than that, it’s a hoot.
Tom Holland unites both sides of his character and rises to some very big expectations (surpassing quite a mountain of fatigue on the way) with incredible grace. He commands the screen, but more than that, he supports his co-stars. As a result, scenes that find Peter sharing dinner with his aunt or building a Lego Death Star with his best buddy Ned are rendered as memorable as any moment when Tony Stark turns up with a bag of tricks. With Spider-Man: Homecoming, we get the return of a beloved character in his best cinematic showing yet, and the best Marvel entry since Captain America: Civil War. And that’s a very good sign for phase three, which has stumbled (as much as it’s possible to stumble when quite a good movie can be called disappointing) since Cap and Co kicked things off.
Welcome to the MCU, Mr. Parker, keep it weird, will ya?