Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) directed by Jon Watts

After a brief try-out as an Avenger in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is cooling his heels in Queens, New York, hoping to get back to the big time. Tony Stark's advice was to get some more experience on the streets of New York. Peter has parlayed that into "I'm working on a Stark internship" as an excuse for his nighttime crime fighting. But basically he's busting bike thieves and helping old ladies with directions. Things change when he stumbles into an ATM robbery where the crooks have high tech weapons, as in alien tech. He starts to trace the weapons back hoping this will be his ticket into the Avengers.

Meanwhile, he suffers through the angst of high school--being bullied, having unrequited love, trying to keep from being bored in the easier classes. To be fair, some of the teachers are just as bored and uninterested. The high school experience is made more painful when Peter acts on his duty to be Spider-Man, especially at key moments when he'd rather hang with friends or impress the girl. The movie effectively shows the hardness of Peter Parker's dual life, a central theme in the comics.

The movie also does a great job of villain-building. In the comics, Adrian Toomes/The Vulture (Michael Keaton) is a second-string and unimpressive villain. Here, he's a working class family guy who runs a salvage operation and was supposed to hit the big time cleaning up after the alien invasion at the end of the first Avengers movie. A federal department, in conjunction with Stark Industries, took over the job. Toomes kept some of the alien tech and turned into a weapons supplier for bad guys. He's made a good living for himself and his workers, though he's not bothered by hurting people who are trying to stop him. Like Spider-Man. Toomes is a well-rounded, well-acted, and understandable villain.

Marvel continues in its tradition of taking a genre picture and throwing a superhero in, in this case the high school comedy with touches of angsty drama (like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which they directly reference and then directly acknowledge). Peter goes through a lot of torments but he also has a best friend who gives great comic relief. The movie has enough quirky yet real characters to make it light-hearted for most of the time and dramatically satisfying in necessary moments. Marvel has a good track record of casting good actors in roles that suit them well.

Overall, the movie is a great return to form for Spider-Man (those Amazing Spider-Man movies were hardly amazing) and a very entertaining comedy action movie. Highly recommended.


  1. Hope you stayed for the post-credits bit . . . still laughing about that one!