Look, let’s be clear. This isn’t the greatest Spider-Man film ever. It’s also not the greatest MCU film ever either. But while it’s not a Spider-Man 2 or a Winter Soldier, it’s still a pretty damn fun movie to watch.
Ever since his first appearance in Civil War, I’ve been super hyped for Homecoming. The trailers weren’t great, just pretty run-of-the-mill, and there was the lingering fear that Tony Stark would feature way too much in the movie for it to be a standalone. But the movie was much better than the trailers suggest, and this is very much a standalone Spidey flick.
I think the best descriptor I have for the movie is ‘heart’. The film has so much heart. It’s cheerful, funny, heartwarming, and encapsulates what I think every fan of Spider-Man loves about him. Tom Holland is impeccable as the somewhat impetuous, eager, anxious to please teenage boy always with a funny quip in hand. He’s always trying to help, never wants to really hurt anyone even if they are trying to kill him.
While Spider-Man 2 dealt with how Peter struggled to balance his life and his responsibilities as a superhero, here we have a Peter who’s tasted the big leagues and feels like he can contribute so much more. He comes of age differently in this film, fighting insecurities, smothering his desires to please, and realising that being a superhero isn’t about joining the Avengers and kicking alien ass, but about fighting for what’s right. He takes a momentary breather as his suit gets taken back by Stark, but barely hesitates to skip out on his homecoming and his date with his crush Liz in order to fight. He has great moral fibre underneath that childish ambition, and when he lets that ambition go, it’s just lovely to see.
And the way he ended that final battle was so darn heartwarming, it puts all of the Avengers to shame. Peter Parker is really your average high school kid with everyday worries and crushes and hobbies, and it just feels so right.
Michael Keaton was also a pretty good Vulture, one of the better MCU villains. He’s no Loki, but he has a clear purpose and is both intimidating and powerful. I also love the high school cast around Peter, with the nerdy and awestruck best friend Ned, the quirky and contrary Michelle (aka MJ aka future love interest?), and the annoying rival Flash. It doesn’t detract from the movie, instead adding levity and the human aspect that sometimes we forget.
And Marissa Tomei is the ditzy Aunt May we didn’t know we wanted, and it makes me smirk as they insert in jokes about how attractive she is, with her none the wiser. I sort of like this arrangement; instead of having Uncle Ben and Aunt May delivering the lessons to Peter, it’s he who discovers and learns on his own.
There are so many wonderful moments in the film. The interrogation scene, his conversations with Karen the suit AI…it’s this wonderful balance of childishness, eagerness, cheerfulness, and heart. I can’t stress how much heart this movie has.
So not the greatest Spider-Man film of all time. Not the greatest MCU film of all time. Not even the funniest MCU film of all time. But damn me if it doesn’t hit all the right notes, pull at all the right heartstrings, and offered us the most lovable, true-to-character depiction of Spider-Man ever seen. I’m sold.