Here’s a short-and-sweet review of one of my favorite movies of the year. I had high hopes for Spider-Man: Homecoming from the start, mainly because I was overjoyed at the prospect of Marvel finally casting an actual teenager to play Peter Parker. For a long time, that’s all the reason I needed to see this movie. I went into the theater without knowing much more than that SMH starred Tom Holland as our age-appropriate Spidey. I thought Holland gave a great performance in Civil War, providing a much needed youthful contrast to the expert heroes of the Avengers. Spider-Man’s excitement and naivete stood out against the Avengers’ comparative jaded-ness; every once in awhile, it’s fun to have a new face in the crowd.
SMH reminded me of Marvel’s heyday, and its humor-to-gloom ratio was second to none. This is a really, really funny movie, but it isn’t afraid to go to dark places as well. Although it wasn’t an origin story (definitely a refreshing change from the reboot status quo) (+ nobody wants to see Uncle Ben die again), it definitely felt like a sort of coming-of-age tale, as Peter is introduced to the world of professional hero work, with ridiculous gadgets and high-stakes missions that a friendly neighborhood vigilante could scarcely even dream of. Seeing Tony Stark, of all people, adopting a paternal role in Spider-Man’s development as a hero (and Peter’s as a person) really reminded me why I love Iron Man.
(It’s also worth mentioning that TS isn’t the only Avenger that makes an appearance in SMH. Captain America shows up briefly, in various educational/instructional videos shown in Peter’s high school, and it’s amazing.)
Something I noticed about this movie is that Marvel seems to be going the way of DC a la Batman v. Superman (in a good way, if that’s possible), in that it’s using MCU films to address the insane amount of collateral damage its heroes have been racking up over the years. But rather than just showing the aftermath of the carnage, SMH shows us that the Avengers are running their own cleanup operation. Actions have consequences in this world, and that includes the consequences of city-leveling destruction brought about by battling aliens and minor gods. Thank you for that, Marvel.
Spider-Man: Homecoming would have been a good standalone, but I’m game for sequels. I get the feeling that Spider-Man 3.0’s not done telling his story just yet. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s kind of nice to have a teenage superhero movie in theaters again. Overdone as it is, I guess I must have missed it.
GRADE: solid A
P.S. I feel like Tobey Maguire could have had an excellent cameo as the Academic Decathlon coach. Just puttin’ it out there.