Marvel Gets It Right With Spider-Man: Homecoming

After fifteen year and five movies, another Spider-man has landed. Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-man: Homecoming takes place after the events of Capitan America: Civil War. Peter Parker has been in the in Berlin, fighting side to side to some Avengers and Iron Man against team Cap. Now, back in New York, Peter lives with this aunt May and is under the protection of Tony Stark trying to lead a semi-normal life. Regardless, he wants to develop his Spider-man alter ego as much as possible and prove to Iron Man that he is more than a ‘friendly neighbor.’ However, his plans change when a criminal, the Vulture, emerges as a new threat in the city.

At first the newest Spider-man reboot seemed  unnecessary after five movies and two actors; however, the Sony-Marvel partnership succeeded by not making the public feel exhausted with this fresh-out-of-the oven Spidey. One of the key factors behind the success is that Homecoming scratches out some of the overly used Spider-man tropes for the better.  So, in Watt’s version there isn’t an origins story; we don’t see the radioactive spider bite, nor uncle Ben’s death, the making of the costume among other familiar tropes.  As a result, we have a Peter Parker trying to adjust himself to his role of superhero and find his place in a world of so many mighty beings.

Instead, Homecoming focuses on Peter Parker, the teenager. Played by baby-faced Tom Holland (The Impossible), this Spider-man, according to fans of the comic, is pretty much like the character in the pages. As a person who hasn’t read the comics I can only say that the whole movie feels like a more youthful version.  Not because it adds drama or unnecessary romance, but because it focuses on someone who is looking for their place in the world; which define what adolescence is about.  The story of Spider-Man: Homecoming is that of a Peter Parker eager to prove to the world that he can fight alongside Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America. But at the same time he is learning to protect people from his city and neighborhood. It’s the story of the Queens’ hero.

It’s also great the fact that the movie doesn’t try to present a nerd Peter Parker just by saying “look how clever he is”. Instead there are small elements throughout the film that reinforce the fact that he is a loser. And that, combined with his sense of humor, gives rise to a character who is very charismatic and endearing.

Of course, Peter is not the only one that shines. Robert Downey Jr is back as Tony Stark, becoming some sort of a father figure to Peter at the lack of uncle Ben. Luckily, Homecoming didn’t become Iron Man 4, as Tony has a minor (but relevant) role in the movie. There’s also Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), the loving and ever worried aunt, alarmingly young in the film.  The chemistry between her and Holland, although scarcely captured on the screen, was strong enough to make me want to see more of her in future movies.

About the rest of the young cast, I can only say that Ned, played by Jacob Batalon (North Woods) is the only one worth to mention. Ned, Peter’s best friend is the charismatic side kick or “guy in the chair” who delivers plenty of laughs.

Finally, the Vulture (Michael Keaton)  didn’t fall in the “lame supervillain” basket Marvel is so famous for. He wasn’t someone obsessed with world domination but a businessman who took advantage of his resources to make a profit. Keaton (Birdman) plays a villain that might not be at the level of Loki or Fisk but is decent enough.

Despite all its good points, Spider-man: Homecoming isn’t perfect. The action scenes, although entertaining and well executed, were not as memorable as the ones from the 2000’s trilogy (especially Spider-Man 2) which were packed with amazing visuals. It was also devoid of emotional resonance, – not much of “with great power comes a great responsibility- something which made the previous movies charming. This clearly aligns Homecoming with the other movies in the MCU and perhaps, not necessarily a bad thing.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fun a refreshing reboot of the arachnid hero and another Marvel win; it places Peter Parker in a solid place in the MCU and leaves many doors open to future sequels.


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