Movie Review: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Sony)

In the early 2000’s, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 set the bar for superhero films. At that time, Superhero films were in their infancy, The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t exist yet […]

In the early 2000’s, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 set the bar for superhero films. At that time, Superhero films were in their infancy, The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t exist yet till 2008, The Dark Knight as a film had yet to change the game even further.

There wasn’t a lot of expectation for what would become the Superhero movie boom that people are witnessing today. After Marvel Studios made a hit with Iron Man (2008), had a successful slew of films received by critics and fans alike, people were always wondering, “Will we ever see Spider-Man join the Avengers?”. For a time it was just a pipe dream, until 2015 when Marvel Studios reacquired the movie rights of Spider-Man (as part of a shared deal with Sony).

After the tanking of Sony Pictures Amazing Spider-Man franchise, Spider-Man began his cinematic return from the depths of cinema doom. Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is thriving into it’s third phase, and warm reception of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man performance in Captain America: Civil War, the question is does Spider-Man: Home Coming live up to the hype? Does it actually surpass Spider-Man 2? Is it the best Spider-Man movie by far? And is it the best MCU film by far?

The answer is simple, Yes. This movie actually lives up to the hype. It actually has a lot of the heart and charm that the Raimi films had, and pays a lot of homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in all the right ways. It manages to take a lot of the Spider-Man mythos but adding a fresh contemporary take on it that sets it apart from prior movie attempts (such as the Raimi and Webb films).

The plot is centered on Peter Parker, who is just trying to balance out his life as a high schooler, maintaining his grades, trying to provide for his Aunt May, maintaining his internship funded by Tony Stark aka Iron Man and fighting crime as Spider-Man. A new villain arrives calling himself the Vulture. While the big heroes are off fighting the big threats, no one is doing anything about the local threats such as The Vulture. It’s up to Spider-Man to prevent The Vulture from stealing Stark Tech. Should Stark’s technology fall into the wrong hands, it’s a heap of trouble not just for New York, but for the world.

In regards to the story, the story is actually well done and the.dialogue and character interaction between Peter Parker, Ned Leeds, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson, Aunt May, Iron Man, etc all feel believable and real. Every character has a believable chemistry thanks to good performances carried out by the actors, the script, and director.

Tom Holland has proven that he is THE Spider-Man. He nails the personality and character of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, displaying Parker’s sense of humor, his intelligence, and his conviction to do the right thing even when it’s easy not to. That is something that the Raimi trilogy and the Webb films had difficulty doing because To Maguire was a good Peter Parker, but lacked as a humorous Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield was a decent Spider-Man, but his Peter Parker lacked responsibility. Holland’s portrayal is much more in tuned to the classic  Stan Lee/Ditko and Brian Bendis/Mark Bagley stories, where no matter what Peter tries to do, things go bad. But when things go bad, he doesn’t give up, he doesn’t ignore responsibility, he takes account for it and pushes forward when things get tough. Holland has channeled the essence of Spider-Man and shows true dedication and care for the role.

While there have been concerns about Robert Downey Jr ‘ Tony Stark/Iron Man stealing the show from Spider-Man due to the trailers have nothing to worry about. This is very much Spider-Man’s own movie,  Iron Man is barely in this movie. It’s great to see how much has changed for Iron Man throughout the course of the MCU and to see Iron Man play the role of a mentor is nice to see. Marisa Tomei plays a solid and believable Aunt May. By that, I mean she feels like an actual aunt to Holland’s Peter. She gives lectures but understands that Parker is just a kid and has patience with him. But she’s very much a cool and understanding parental figure that feels real to this iteration of Spider-Man.

There are some notable changes in this film such as Flash Thompson, Michelle (played by Zendaya), Betty Brant, Liz Allen’s characters etc, but it’s nothing major that would ruin this film. Or the personality of the characters that inhabit this movie. It’s got a diverse cast that feels like an accurate depiction of New York high school students.   While some people may be put off by the ethnic changes, it doesn’t really harm the movie at all, and the film makes some clever choices with how characters are used. Each character is portrayed in a very believable way that makes audiences feel as though they’re really seeing real high schoolers having real conversations and behaviors that most high schoolers tend to have.

Without giving too much of the movie away, I’ll focus on the villain The Vulture. Michael Keaton plays Adrian Toomes, a guy who specializes in construction and clean up. The Vulture in the comics was never too intimidating, or as convincingly as menacing or as awesome as a villain. But thanks to the script and directorial decisions for the character, The Vulture is a solid villain that the MCU definitely needed. His motivations for why he commits crime is simple: a working father trying to provide an education and his stability for his kids. No matter who you are, that is something that anyone, parent or not would understand. The intensity between Keaton’s Vulture and Holland’s Spider-Man is believable and the movie makes great effort to build that intensity while having a sense of self-awareness. Keaton’s Vulture is willing to anything, by any means to protect his family, and does not hesitate in doing that. Keaton’s performance as The Vulture was so solid, that you’d think he would have made a good Norman Osborn.

The CGI is good, especially when it comes to The Vulture and the fight sequences.

The movie is very much a teenager oriented movie and has teenager humor. Some of that humor may or may not rub well with some parents, but keep in mind, that this film is a. Accurate portrayal of high school students, teenagers who tend to say things that teenagers tend to say. So it all depends on parents and their sense of humor or comfort level. But none the less, that shouldn’t steer parents away from bringing their kids to see this movie. It’s very age appropriate for teenagers and adults at least. Personally, I feel it’s fine for kids, but that’s a minor thing to worry about.

This movie makes tons of references and is as self-aware about things in a lighter way than Deadpool without suspending the tension and conflicts that occur in the movie. Tons of references to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Deadpool, and John Hughes films abound.   There are some very humorous cameos and for Spider-Man, humor and comedy work since that is part of his schtick. The approach for this movie in the style and tone is perfect for the film. In truth, this beat out Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 (which is a good movie) in my personal opinion. This movie has a lot of heart and shows what makes Spider-Man such a lovable and iconic character.

Overall, it’s a great movie and has finally surpassed Spider-Man 2 as the gold standard for Spider-Man movies. This could possibly be the best Marvel Studios film of the year this far. It’s definitely one of the more stronger MCU films for sure. It’s a good film to see with family and friends, and it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

About Anthony Andujar Jr.