Are you reading this review to know if you should go watch Spiderman : Homecoming? If yes then I’ll just say it at the beginning – yes it’s the best Spiderman movie ever made. Yes, despite there being a million versions before it.
Marvel really knows how to make funny, human and spectacular movies and that’s a formula no one else has been able to crack yet. Homecoming takes on an especially difficult task – how do you retell a story that’s been told so many times on screen? This movie’s success lies in sticking to the essence of the original character – Spiderman aka Peter Parker is a high school kid with superpowers. It takes that aspect and weaves the entire movie around it.
Parker is dropped off at home after the events of Captain America : Civil War since he has to still stay in school while the ‘grown-up’ superheroes take care of things. He remains extremely optimistic about being called up by Tony Stark and in the meantime tries to balance his high school life and his urge to discover and utilize his powers for the greater good.
Parker’s optimism is balanced by the extreme pessimism of Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture. In the Vulture, Marvel has created one of the best antagonists of the Marvel universe. The Vulture isn’t out to destroy the world or take over the universe, he is just trying to make a living. Homecoming keeps both its hero and villain close to the ground, telling a story of people in a world where the Avengers are like Gods. Parker is someone who benefits from the Avengers and the Vulture experiences the downside. I felt this movie handled this aspect much better than Captain America: Civil War (which had Zemo, also an antagonist created due to the causalities of the Avengers’ activities). The hero and the protagonist are human and vulnerable and because of this Homecoming is smaller in scale but is a story with much more heart than the more recent Avengers films.
Another great aspect of this film is the humour. Even on its own, this could be a really funny high school movie. It’s relatable and funny and portrays Parker’s high school life and teenage angst without being patronizing. It makes you care about the characters despite not having an Uncle Ben moment. In fact this isn’t an origin story at all. And why should it be? If you don’t know by now how Spiderman became who he is, just read a comic book or Wikipedia.
Last but certainly not least, Homecoming is led by an incredible cast – Tom Holland is refreshing and manages to pull off a unique performance despite taking on a role previously portrayed multiple times on screen. Michael Keaton is a star. His performance is nuanced as Toomes who is menacing, jaded, angry and yet composed and caring towards his family and friends. It is definitely the most complex character in the film and Keaton as Toomes rather than the Vulture, is exemplary. Robert Downey Jr comfortably reprise his role as Tony Stark. Stark’s presence keeps the film connected to the Marvel universe and adds an interesting angle to the story. Jacob Batalon as Peter Parker’s best friend Ned is critical to the core atmosphere of the film and is absolutely hilarious.
Spider-man: Homecoming isn’t perfect but it’s an enjoyable watch and it strikes a great balance between being a huge superhero flick, a nice high school movie and a Spiderman film. Director Jon Watts must be given credit for letting this film be light and intimate allowing us to take a break from the universe-shattering theatrics of the Avengers.
Also, the opening sequence which is shown as a video made by Parker is pure genius. It set the tone for the entire film.