Sony and Marvel Studios have joined forces to bring us the third incarnation of Spider-Man in 15 years. Yes, you read that right, Spider-Man is happening again and regardless of any apprehension one may have, it is going to be better this time right? Peter Parker has now been brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they are skipping the origin story. We don’t have to watch Uncle Ben die again, and we don’t have to spend a half hour watching Peter get bit by a radioactive spider. A joint effort by two major movie studios that have proved they are both capable of telling incredible stories of the heroic variety. That has to make this third time around the lucky charm right? They will get it right this time won’t they?
Peter Parker is back, and following the events of Captain America: Civil War, he is clamoring to be an Avenger and will do whatever he has to do to prove his worth. As we follow Peter’s fight for, I guess you could say, superhero equality, he’ll learn along the way that it is not as easy as throwing on spandex. Due to his curiosity and eagerness to prove himself, Peter will get thrusted into a world that goes further beyond just his neighborhood. Peoples lives are at risks, Peter’s own relationships are at stake, and in the end, it’s about doing what’s right whether or not you have an illustrious title.
Spider-Man: Homecoming does what no other previous film has done and that’s nail the character of Peter Parker. He has always been portrayed on screen by a 30 old man as a recent high school graduate. While half of the prior films are enjoyable with redeeming qualities, I have never felt we got the best Peter Parker possible. This time around he is taken right off the comic pages, and we are finally treated to the aspects that make Peter Parker such an intriguing and incredibly relatable character. He’s a 15 year old kid, with high school problems, homework, a curfew and yet bestowed with unbelievable powers. What teenager wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to tell everybody and swing through the city all night? Homecoming treats us to those struggles, spinning a web of instability within Peter’s life, bringing us his best on screen portrayal to date.
One of the major problems in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as I’ve stated in my reviews many times, is the villians. They are weak, dull and often times boring antagonist who are resorted to nothing more than a mustache twirler. Michael Keaton playes Adrian Toomes, The Vulture, a blue collar worker scorned by the suits like Tony Stark. He runs a low profile operation that was interesting to watch and ties back into prior events of MCU seemlessly, making it feel relevant and provided him a realistic agenda. With the limited screen time, Keaton made Toomes menacing, believable and at times made you empathize with him. Chucked into his arc are a few twists, turns and easter eggs that makes Adrian Toomes the best villian in this universe since the debut of Loki.
As with any film, regardless of any lifelong love one may have for the title character, there are issues that no bias can ignore. A huge part of Peter’s life and what makes him so relatable is his internal struggle of balancing teenage life with the heroic side. Peter could never make the dance, go to the movies or go to the parties because he was needed elsewhere as Spider-Man. Homecoming has instances of this and makes it a point that Peter is struggling to balance, but they made a major flaw in never making me feel like Peters “friends” really cared about him in the first place. He had one close friend Ned and the girl he liked Liz, but aside from that everyone either made fun of him, ignored him and some never even shared the screen with him. This at times made those internal struggle scenes fall flat because I didn’t believe any of the kids cared about Peter or his well being. I was never sure as to whether or not he had a relationship with anyone else other than his one friend Ned and his crush.
In the end Spider-Man: Homecoming is another stellar edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the best adaptation Sony has done to date. Holland is the Peter Parker we have been waiting for. We’re finally treated to a high school story for Peter and get to see the struggle he faces daily come in many forms but in an Avengers populated world. While those struggles at times fell flat in terms of his relationships they still provided a weight to his story. Keaton as the antagonist was pure gold and his character helped introduce us to story threads I can’t wait to see come back around in future installments, especially with this perfectly cast Peter Parker front and center.