Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming
By Jaskee Hickman
After the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man crashed as hard as a movie that size could crash, Sony needed to do something to make one of their most coveted properties work. In order to accomplish that, they brought in Marvel to assist while also rebooting the franchise as a whole. This looked to be a risky move with it coming so close to their recent failure, but Captain America: Civil War unveiled what appeared to be very promising. While I personally still wasn’t sold on it, Spider-Man: Homecoming itself made me believe in what they were asking the general public to buy.
Due to his recent experience with the Avengers, fifteen-year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is filled with excitement. He wants to do more, but much to his dismay, the life of a superhero isn’t always filled with action. This level of inactivity forces him back into a normal routine that’s difficult for him to accept, so he resorts to becoming somewhat of a local hero in the neighborhood. With his attempts to be more active, he also has to find time to juggle all that life is throwing at him. That alone is hard, but things become even more insane when he runs up against an antagonist (Michael Keaton) with his own wants and needs.
In what may come as a surprise, Spider-Man: Homecoming feels exactly like the teen movie that it’s supposed to be. I think most filmmakers would be tempted to turn something like this into a typical superhero movie where the protagonist reaches insurmountable heights in a way that should only be described as extravagant and hyperbolic. Instead, Homecoming goes in a direction that could be seen as grounded in an age where sensationalism is to be expected and even required by some.
With this measured approach, it’s important to make a film that shows the audience who Peter Parker/Spider-Man is. Based on what we see, he’s a kid who is learning about life as he grows up in a world that’s becoming more complicated and demanding around him. He doesn’t have a large amount of support and guidance even with his loving and caring Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) trying to be there for him. What makes that relationship even harder is that he can’t allow her to get too close due to the secrets that he keeps from her.
Add to the fact that Tony Stark can’t be around much, this makes the movie all the more reasonable and emotionally honest as accurately replicates a “coming of age” tale to a great extent. With this being his current arrangement, this puts Peter in a position where he finds himself confronting issues that he’ll have to face on his own. As a result, we witness growing pains in a way that we’re not used to seeing in film. Although he’s bright, he doesn’t know everything and he’s still trying to figure most of it out. In this sense, he’s essentially a normal teenager, but he just has the great responsibility of superpowers that he has to carry.
Giving Aunt May, Tony Stark and the other adults around him more to do on a daily basis also stands out as a defining characteristic of Homecoming. With their lives being as hectic as they are and looking at the way they interact and deal with him, it makes the adults feel like adults. In return, this allows Holland’s Peter Parker to appear young, immature and shortsighted. While watching the movie, you’ll feel as if they are much older than he is. And that’s obviously important because they are.
Turning the adults into adults is an aspect of the film also helps in creating a villain that is understandable and even relatable. He’s not here seeking vengeance or trying to achieve anything like world domination either. He simply wants what many grown ups want for themselves and their families. This is something that is established early on as we meet him and learn why he chose to go down this path.
The only thing that bothered me was the obvious CGI in some of the scenes where they’re pretending to be in New York. I know they wouldn’t shoot in New York for financial purposes, but this did get to me a little more than I would have liked it to. Other than that, there really isn’t much to complain about. While this is troublesome, it’s not something that took away from everything else that this gave me as a viewer.
Because of the way it’s all set up and how well they use the characters to build the world that is shown to us, Spider-Man: Homecoming provides more depth and quality than the vast majority of movies regardless of genre that are being released at the moment. And if you want to stick to just its genre, Homecoming is one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. In the end, it just goes to show what can be done when you don’t take the easy route and completely rely on genre conventions.
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