Written by Dashiel Bove
Illustration by Ashton Carless
Sam Rami’s 2002 film Spider-Man signaled the beginning of a new and better era for superhero movies. While Spider-Man is certainly a fun film from its era, it is not one that has stood the test of time. Spider-Man 2 improved on just about everything the first movie built and also signaled the end of the initial wave of good Spider-Man films. Then came Spiderman 3, a film which was universally loathed and ended the initial attempt at making the web slinger a film star. In 2012 we got The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot that, while containing improvements on the action of the original trilogy, proved to be a rather poor adaptation of the source material, an issue which became horrendously apparent in its 2014 sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Now, three years later, it finally happened. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fantastic piece of superhero cinema. With frenetic fight choreography, a love of bright colors, and an emotional depth that blows most other superhero movies out of the water, Homecoming is a must-see for fans of the comics, of the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for anyone who just wants to watch something good.
Homecoming picks up in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War. The Avengers aren’t assembled, Cap and a large portion of the other MCU superheroes are off in hiding, and Tony Stark is being Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy attempting philanthropy through fighting crime in a flying metal suit. Peter Parker (Tom Holland), having been brought into the Avengers, is eager to engage in more serious superhero work and break out of the friendly neighborhood persona. This pursuit brings Peter into conflict with Adrian Toomes: The Vulture (Michael Keaton). What follows is a well-crafted story of growing up, high school, and heroism.
What makes Homecoming stand out from its fellow Spider-Man adaptations is its balanced portrayal of its central lead: Peter Parker/Spider-Man. An often uttered complaint about the previous two Spider-men, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, is that neither quite fits the role of both the awkward Peter Parker and cocky Spider-Man. Where Maguire was an excellent Peter Parker, Garfield was a better Spider-Man. Tom Holland has achieved that much-needed character balance. Holland captures the social anxiety and adorable nerdiness of Peter Parker while also exemplifying the easy charm and friendly humanity of Spider-Man.
Opposite Holland is Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes. Keaton, a veteran of the superhero genre, brings a potent emotional counterweight to Spider-Man’s optimism as he portrays a man pursuing crime to support his family. Keaton comes across as both loving and ruthlessly terrifying as he becomes one of the best acted and written MCU villains.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is an exemplary superhero film. With excellent performances from the entire cast and a charming visual style perfectly blended with, this is certainly a must-see in theaters.