Spider-Man: Homecoming Review
By Brooke Bailey
A few weeks ago, we put Spider-Man: Homecoming in our Summer Movie Preview and this week, I’m bringing you my review of the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
To give you some background on my knowledge of the MCU: I like it. I haven’t seen every single movie in the collection but I’ve seen most of them and I’m a fan of the thing. With that being said, I can’t give you super amazing context of how this film fits into the MCU canon. What I can do is tell you what I, a casual fan of Marvel movies, thought of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Ya'll it was really really good.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is both a great movie and a great Spider-Man movie. I grew up on the Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies, which I really enjoyed; but even then, it felt like something wasn’t quite right. I never knew exactly what that something was until I saw Homecoming. What this movie gets right is its lightness and its comedy and its youth. By setting this movie in a high school, with teenage (or almost teenage) actors, Homecoming brings a youthful energy to the MCU, which is something it definitely needed between all of the building smashing and dramatic middle-aged men (@ Tony Stark).
I love that this movie gives us high school-aged characters. Most movie-goers can relate to the high school experience, but it’s a bit harder to connect with fighting Nazis, being frozen in ice for 70 years, and trying to readjust to modern life (looking at you, Cap).
I found Homecoming to be very relatable; as a college student, I find myself occasionally pondering whether or not I can go out with friends the night before an 8 a.m. final, which is not the same thing as Perter Parker deciding between catching bad guys and taking a Spanish quiz but, you know, similar.
I LOVED the casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man. He fits the part so perfectly, playing a very convincing American teen when in fact he is 21 and British. He plays a Peter Parker who is very genuinely excited to have these powers and to put them to good use; a refreshing change from most of the other Marvel superheroes who act like they would rather not have powers. The rest of the casting is also fantastic: Jacob Batalon as Ned is so wonderful and silly and the perfect sidekick who's not really a side-kick, Zendaya plays that one kid that everyone knows – they act like they're too cool for school but could probably use a few good friends (which was definitely me in high school), and Michael Keaton as the Vulture is like a whole, multi-level, inception thing.
As several other reviews pointed out, the casting in this movie is “effortlessly” diverse. While I don’t know if I would go all the way to effortless, it was nice to see casting that made a high school look like a high school. I think that people were so ready to call a major movie like this one "effortlessly diverse" when they saw more than two people of color in it. I struggle to call any film made by mostly white people "effortlessly diverse" because they clearly had to think about who they were casting. That being said, effort is not necessarily a bad thing – diversity shouldn’t seem forced (and it doesn’t here), but knowing that filmmakers are making intentional choices to cast actors who are representative of the real American population is good.
One thing I was worried about after Captain America: Civil War was Tony Stark. To be honest, I am not a huge Tony Stark fan and I never have been. I didn’t like how he recruited Peter to fight for a cause that he didn’t know the details of enough to support in Civil War and then basically dropped him like a used tissue. I was concerned that this feeling would carry over into Homecoming, but I didn’t find that it did. Tony was more palatable for me here than in any of the other MCU movies he’s been in and I appreciate that a lot. He's not perfect as a character and there are still some times in this movie when I wanted to punch him in his smug billionaire face, but overall it was much better than the other movies.
Now, I’m going to list some of my favorite things from the movie:
He doesn’t play a super huge role in this movie but he’s an American treasure and he should be in every movie.
It was wonderful to see that, in emotional points, Peter actually got emotional – tears and everything. It's refreshing to see this in a huge superhero movie and it helped bring the whole film down to earth and remind you that first, Peter is 15 and second, superheroes have emotions just like the rest of us.
A+ villain with a fabulous costume and an awful perception about how to right the world’s ills AKA the holy trinity of super dope super villains.
The villain twist
As soon as Peter walks up to Liz’s house I thought “we haven’t met her parents yet” and then I thought “oh SHIT no way” and then it was everything I could do not to get up and run up and down the steps a few times to calm myself down.
Zendaya is great and this character is great. We don't see much of her, but she has a cool mini-arc as she starts to embrace the people around her as her friends. Also, when she says “my friends call me MJ” I almost jumped out of my chair.
High school bullies
The kid who plays Flash was great and helped deflate Peter’s ego exactly when he needed to. He’s not a beat you up and take your lunch money bully – because this is a giant school for nerds – but his default taunt (Penis Parker) is an A+ teenage bully taunt.
Spidey suit + yellow jacket
And here are a few things I didn’t love about the movie:
I know that the whole point of this character is to shut Peter down at every point but I just don’t love him and I thought he was annoying throughout the movie.
When Peter ditches the decathlon trip
There were a few points during this part that were a little bit off – like how there seemed to be no immediate consequences for Peter ditching the group. Yes, he gets detention, but I’m pretty sure they would have literally called the national guard if I ditched the group on a high school field trip.
The Washington Monument save
Don’t get me wrong, I think this scene is really cool. But Peter fell all the way to the bottom and there’s not a clear transition from that to him being reunited with Aunt May and it’s all a bit confusing. Assuming that he wasn’t passed out when he reached the bottom, how did he manage to sneak out somehow but how did he do it without being seen? The entire place must have been swarmed by police and people so I don’t think it would have been easy. But, you know, movie magic and things.
The destroyed sandwich shop
I just felt like this was being set up to be more than it turned out to be 🤷♀️