At the Movies with Jason: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I have been waiting for THIS movie for ages it seems, and oh man, it’s just what I needed.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?  We’ve NEEDED a Spider-Man reboot with a younger Peter Parker.  As much as I love the first two Tobey Maguire movies, they simply started him out too old.  I never once believed that 30 year old was a senior in high school.  Double that for the Andrew Garfield movies; they were horrible, and I’ll never speak of them again.

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is as close to perfect as I could have hoped.  He’s awkward & shy, while still brilliant & intuitive.  However, once he pulls on the mask & starts swinging as Spidey, all of that shy awkwardness melts away.  It’s truly wonderful to see it realized on the big screen, and I’m glad that Marvel Studios was able to broker this deal with Sony Pictures to make it happen.

As usual, I like to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, so I’m not going to touch on any of the plot points beyond what we’ve seen in the trailers.  I would like to say that I’m really happy with how they handled the amount of “extra” Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff that surrounds this solo film.  As you most likely realize at this point, I’m a HUGE geek for this stuff, and I love that Spidey is finally home in the MCU where he truly belongs.  I can see how that might be intimidating though…

Talking with a good friend of mine last night, she brought up that it might be difficult for someone who has NOT taken the time to watch all 15 of the other movies in the “series” to just drop in on this brand new Spider-Man movie & keep up with all of the events that happen.  I feel like they do a pretty decent job of keeping everything contained & explained, but without seeing both Avengers & Avengers: Age of Ultron, plus Captain America: Civil War (and Iron Man 3 for a bit of background on Tony Stark’s mentorship role in Homecoming,) I can see how it might be a bit confusing…

My friend RJ says that it feels like the MCU is evolving into an elaborate “inside joke” where if you’re in on it & you’ve seen all the movies for the context that they all provide, you’re solid… BUT if you haven’t, you’re left out.  I agree, to a point.  I do believe that you can go into Spider-Man: Homecoming having never seen any of the other movies and enjoy it, but how Marvel Studios fixes that bigger “issue” is beyond me.

As far as the story goes, I am ridiculously happy.  It’s pretty simple really: Spider-Man vs The Vulture, hijinks ensue.  They avoided the ”too many villains” trap that so many superhero films have run into in the past, and introduced a really wonderful supporting cast.  Marisa Tomei is fantastic as Aunt May, Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend & unlikely confidant Ned, while Michael Keaton plays the Vulture with a truly spectacular ferocity.  He’s both clear in his purpose and terrifying at the same time.  Donald Glover’s role was small but awesome, and Tony Revolori’s Flash was a really great spin on that character.  Finally, Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as Tony Stark with all the panache we’ve come to expect over the past 9 years.  His mentorship of Peter/Spidey is pretty cool to watch, and I’m glad that he doesn’t overshadow the entire movie.

Now…  I know I harp on this a lot, but I refuse to apologize for it.  I’m disappointed that the women in this movie are once again relegated to supporting roles that do nothing but prop up the main character.  Laura Harrier’s Liz is wonderful on paper.  She’s SMART, she’s the captain of the Academic Decathlon Team, she likes Peter, and is constantly disappointed when he disappears to go “be Spider-Man,” but in the end, she’s merely a love interest.  Zendaya’s Michelle is another fantastic character, with some really great lines, but she does nothing to drive the plot forward.  You could remove her from the movie entirely, and it wouldn’t change ANYTHING.  Hell, Aunt May’s screen time is divided between being “Peter’s Hot Aunt,” “Peter’s Chauffer,” or “The person Peter needs to avoid in order to go be Spidey.”

I just want those characters to have as much agency as the men in the supporting cast, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  The movie is great, I just know that they can do better.  That said, I do want to commend the amazingly diverse cast.  It was really great seeing a high school full of kids that actually represents what the country actually looks like.

As I said at the open of this review, Spider-Man: Homecoming was just what I needed.  Seeing one of my favorite characters finally swinging around & fighting bad guys at the very start of his heroic career is super fun, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

If you haven’t seen Captain America: Civil War, do yourself a favor & look up the “Airport Fight” to get a glimpse into Spidey’s FIRST appearance in the MCU, so you have that tiny bit of context before going into Homecoming.  Otherwise, GO SEE IT & ENJOY!!

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