The struggle of a new beginning is evident in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It cannot be ignored that there have already been five movies preceding it (or four, as I would like to remember), and two beloved Peter Parkers under their tow. We have seen our friendly neighborhood web-slinger struggle numerous times to keep up with its famous adage. What justifies Homecoming’s existence?
The film immediately begins where the first Avengers movie left. Throughout the entire movie, Peter Parker’s origin story serves as an interesting counterpoint to the Avengers’ timeline. To be able to introduce Spider-Man in this way, alongside his struggle to fit in – in school, and as part of the Avengers – is neatly told. Peter Parker literally has to earn everyone’s (the audience included) approval.
This burden is conveniently masked by the joyful vibe Homecoming gives off. It wears its coming-of-age story on its sleeve, and is proud of it. It’s almost like a John Hughes movie. Tom Holland as Peter Parker brings this youthful energy that isn’t annoying. We see Peter Parker tongue-tied with a girl, cut classes, get nervous about school dances, and hang out with his best friend and partner-in-crime, Ned (portrayed by the charming Jacob Batalon), between building Lego Death Stars and beating up criminals. Add to this the songs of The Ramones and Michael Giacchino’s fresh take on the 1960’s Spider-Man theme, as well as Tom Holland being joined by an ensemble of high school students who are finally believable.
In Homecoming, Director Jon Watts makes sure we see Peter Parker at his most flawed. He is not entirely in control of his abilities yet. We see him chase after criminals not without collateral damage. He trips and bumps his way through. He still harbours a fear of heights. Just like any other teenager, he is reckless, stubborn, and infinitely curious. The burden of responsibility is still far removed – until it involves people close to him. However, Peter remains resilient each time he falls.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is full of wit and its humor comes in the most unexpected moments. Its villain, the Vulture, is even part of it. The meta-joke is Michael Keaton’s casting. Michael Keaton is deliciously frightening and realistic as the Vulture. There is this brilliant and funny scene where he shines as everyone’s nightmare. It would be a spoiler to elaborate further.
Homecoming remains a superhero movie, and is not without its action-packed scenes. It does not disappoint. The visuals are amazing. Michael Giacchino’s traditional approach at scoring these scenes made them all the more superb. Everything felt full-bodied.
Personally, the only thing that distracts this movie is the presence of Iron-Man. The protégé arc they were trying to achieve feels a bit forced.
As it premieres this week, it will be easy to rediscover our love for Spider-Man. It is charming, the funniest Marvel film to date, and the most grounded. While we still hold some of the previous Spider-Man films close to our hearts, there is no denying that Spider-Man: Homecoming – flaws and all – is the best one yet.