After so many attempts at a successful transition from comic to film, critics say that Marvel has finally done it with Spider-man: Homecoming. The New York Times calls it “likable and amusing” and The New York Daily News calls it a “very happy return to fun.” So how exactly did Tom Holland’s Peter Parker hold up against Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield?
Homecoming finally focused on a younger Spider-man, but, while it was a coming-of-age story, it was not an origin story. After his brief introduction in "Captain America: Civil War," this movie picks up where that one left off. Audiences see an overzealous Parker interacting with his mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), eager for a spot in the Avengers’ team. Stark, however, does not believe Parker is quite ready, being just a sophomore in high school. The entire movie revolves around Parker proving himself, trying to get the girl, Liz (Laura Harrier), and struggling, as any 15-year-old would, not to flaunt his abilities.
The movie opened with a flashback to The Battle of New York, the major battle in the first "Avengers" film. We see the aftermath, a clean-up crew salvaging pieces from the alien ships, until a federal agency outlaws their work and takes control. One man on the job is particularly bitter about his livelihood and investment being taken out from under him. Those resentments evolve over eight years into an underground, illegal alien weapons black market, led by Vulture (Michael Keaton), one that Spider-man wants to shut down in order to prove himself to Stark.
The writing and comedy seemed more realistic and relatable than any previous Spider-man film. Peter Parker was finally represented at the correct age and it could be seen throughout his high-school antics: a school dance, gym-class, barely knowing how to drive and building a Lego Deathstar with his friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), after school. Holland presented the nerdy, boyish and charming Parker quite well. The setting, in Queens, provided a diverse and vibrant neighborhood for Parker and in multiple scenes he can be seen riffing with the locals, at the sandwich shop or on the street corner.
Perhaps one of the best things about the Marvel franchise is the incorporation of all the characters in each other’s movies. Obviously, that included Stark but a pleasant, and rather funny, surprise was Captain America’s made-for-school videos seen throughout the movie. The soundtrack featured some classic rock, including the Ramones and The Rolling Stones, as well as a number of original scores, but didn’t stand out.
The movie itself was not very memorable and lacked that distinct heroic feel characteristic of the Marvel universe. Keaton’s character was perhaps the most stand-out, aside from Holland, which is not surprising as he is the most experienced of the cast. Donald Glover’s appearance as a rather complex bad guy came as a bit of a surprise. Zendaya’s part, and this is probably the unpopular opinion here, seemed really unnecessary to me. They introduced her outcast character, Michelle, as the new MJ but her role seemed premature in this film and as if the producers were just trying to sign another big name to the movie for publicity.
Despite being seemingly lackluster in the wake of D.C.’s box-office hit of the summer, Wonder Woman, and Marvel’s last film, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, critics are raving about Spider-man: Homecoming. It currently has a rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and made over $100 million in revenue on opening weekend.
Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.