Spider-Man: Homecoming is easily the best Spider-Man movie and my new favorite Marvel movie overall. I highly recommend people go see it if they have any interest. I’m just gonna do a quick rundown of why it works so well without going into spoilers besides early setup stuff.
It starts with what a great Spider-Man Tom Holland is. He feels like an authentic New York teenager, which is a testament to what a great actor he is since he’s actually a 21 year old British man. It also has to do with the scripting and story because that allows him to be great. A big thing that this movie gets, that almost no superhero movies in general get, is that it makes being Spider-Man seem fun. There are dangers and risks and sacrifices involved, but having powers and being able to use them seems like a thing that Peter Parker enjoys.
I have my problems with the Wonder Woman movie, but Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the character succeeds in a similar way, in that it seems like she genuinely enjoys fighting. When she shows up in Batman v Superman and smiles during the climatic fight it’s legitimately amazing. My problem with her solo feature is that it doesn’t lean into that enough. I feel like the story let her down. It just wasn’t a fun story. (Not that World War 1 should be a party, but they didn’t nail it down coming from the other side either, it was caught in the middle.)
That’s not the case here.
I really appreciate how this story is built to mirror a high schooler’s life, just on a bigger scale. (Which is a big part of the original run) And so this movie starts with Spider-Man being bored. He fought Captain America, but now he’s helping old ladies cross the street. Time seems to move so slowly for him and he’s ready to do so much but he’s at the whims of adults who don’t have a use for him. He’s a teenager.
Another thing that I like about Homecoming is that it’s not an origin story, and it never even dips its toe into that well because it doesn’t have to. We don’t need to contrive a reason for Spider-Man to do the right thing, he’s just going to try to do the right thing because he’s, y’know, a good guy. If he does the wrong thing it’s because he made a mistake or got in over his head. He is just a kid. But we see the his dedication to “With great power comes great responsibility” through his actions, we don’t need the words.
Instead the movie opens with an origin story for our villain, Adrian Toomes, played by Michael Keaton. The simple story of how a contractor all set to clean-up New York after the first Avengers movie got screwed out of his brininess by Tony Stark and so decided to become a high end weapons dealer. He’s a great counterpoint to Tony, who is Peter’s defacto father figure in this movie. He’s also the first villain in one of theses movie to feel like a real person I think, which is interesting to note. He’s shitty in the way a real person could be shitty. And Michael Keaton is just really great.
A lot of Spider-Man’s best villains are just dirtbag criminals and it’s good to finally get some of that in a Spider-Man movie. Not everyone needs to be The Joker, some guys are just in it for the money. It allows Spider-Man to do what he does best, continuously get in the way of criminals plans and constantly shit talk at them. He’s relentless. Like Droopy but fun.
Frankly the whole cast is great, and there are a lot of characters in this movie. I liked them all. This is a really good script that balances a lot of elements well and manages to be consistently funny.
I had a real good time. I’m hard on comic book movies a lot of the time, because I know they can be better. This movie delivered on what I was looking for. But in a lot of ways this movie just delivers on the best parts of what makes other Marvel movies work, without their flaws.
But it’s about Spider-Man so it’s the best. Because Spider-Man is the best and his movie should be the best. It just took them 6 tries to get there.
TL;DR - Spider-Man lifts a heavy thing 10/10