COLUMN: 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' gets it right this time
Trailing right behind Batman, Spider-Man is a character that has been rebooted, rebranded and redone more times than you can sling a web at.
OK, this is the third time, but my point still stands. The beloved character possessing unlimited story possibilities has only been truly realized in comics, video games and the occasional cartoon series… until now. That’s right folks, they finally made a good one!
The previous missteps taken in telling the story of Spider-Man have disappointed fans since Sam Raimi had Tobey McGuire dawn the webbed costume in 2002. That trilogy had its high points for sure, specifically with Alfred Molina’s Dock Ock, but they ultimately failed to capture the character of the wall-crawler because of corny writing (even for the early 2000’s), an over-reliance on love interests and the entirety of whatever was going on in Spider-Man 3.
Then came 2012’s “Amazing Spider-Man” directed By Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield as the web-slinger. Remember those? Yeah, I try not to either.
With these failed franchises crashed and burning in what could be considered the ongoing golden age of superhero films, Columbia Pictures finally shared rights to the character with Marvel Studios for Spidey’s first appearance in last year’s “Captain America: Civil War."
Homecoming picks up right where Civil War left off, for Peter Parker anyway. The heroes had their differences, Spider-Man had lent a helping hand and now all Parker can do is try and survive the trials of high school while awaiting another call to arms from Tony Stark (the billionaire behind Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr.)
“Homecoming” is a blast to watch from the very beginning. The pace is brisk, there’s not a lot of down time between Spider-scenes and even when there is and it never feels unimportant or boring. Instead of being the big super hero he’d like to be, Parker is stuck filling the “friendly neighborhood” role having the movie focus in on his personal life as on ordinary high school nerd. He builds Lego with his best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, drools over the leader of his decathalon team Liz, played by Laura Harrier and tries to stay out of the crosshairs of immature bully Flash, played by Tony Revolori.
Director Jon Watts does a fantastic job of showing Spider-Man’s classic struggle of trying to fit in at high school while also focusing on becoming the best hero he can be. He wants to impress his peers and The Avengers at the same time, constantly forcing himself to choose between being Peter Parker and being Spider-Man. Instead of Parker having to worry about his job or his dead parent’s secret underground lab (the plot of ASM and ASM2 if you forgot), he is a teenager facing teenage issues, something that has made the character relatable to a younger audience since his inception.
The main conflict of the movie comes in the form of alien inspired weapons and a giant mechanical bird suit piloted by Adrien Toomes, played fantastically by Michael Keaton. The Vulture, a classic Spider-Man villain, was reimagined for the MCU and because of that stands as one of the best villains to date.
Toomes is a blue-collar worker who lost his job because of the Avengers, causing him to turn to a life of crime to provide for his family. Keaton’s intensity and unwavering motive have both Parker and audiences shaking in their seats whenever he is on screen. It’s the almost justified means to the end that Toome’s is aiming for that make the conflict between him and Parker so interesting, but saying any more would be entering into spoiler territory, so just go check the movie out.
There is so much more to say about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but because of spoilers, word-count and the desire to save the best parts for you to see on your own, I will end by saying it is a fantastic movie that you should definitely see on the big screen. Not only does it tie into the MCU in fantastic ways, but it stands on its own as a heartfelt romp that gives justice to the character that hasn’t been seen outside of the comics.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is definitely a must see.