Movie Review - Spider-Man: Homecoming
By Felix Quinonez
August 3, 2017
He not only fit in seamlessly into the MCU fold but was also an instant scene-stealing fan favorite. And Homecoming builds on that goodwill by giving audiences a fresh take on the character that manages to feel both exciting and familiar.
The movie begins during a flashback scene that takes place during the aftermath of the climactic battle from the first Avengers movie. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) had been hired to clean up the city but is pushed out by Tony Stark’s Department of Damage Control. Understandably upset, Toomes and his employees decide to steal some of the alien technology they had recovered from the wreckage and use it to create and sell advanced weaponry.
The movie then flashes forward eight years, to show the crowd-pleasing Civil War airport scene from a very different angle. Although it doesn’t match, the manic excitement of the original, it is still very entertaining to see things from Peter’s eyes.
And more importantly, it establishes the movie’s very distinct point of view and how it differs from the other MCU movies.
While the other movies usually center on adult, confident, fully formed, albeit still flawed, protagonists, Homecoming is about an awkward teenager. Peter still hasn’t quite figured out his new role in life. And he constantly goes from being thrilled by his powers to being completely overwhelmed by them.
And that is a very important part of why the movie works so well. It’s easy to forget now, but a big part of Spider-Man’s initial appeal was deeply rooted in the fact that he was just a teenager. Because of this, it was always a bit surprising how much the movies have avoided this side of the character.
The high school stuff was basically treated as an afterthought or like something they needed to get out of the way. It almost felt as if they were embarrassed by one of Spider Man’s defining characteristics.
In the Raimi trilogy, high school is treated like a brief prelude and although in the Amazing Spider-Man movies, he doesn’t graduate till the second one, it still just feels like something happening in the background.
In Homecoming, it’s the first time where the character actually feels like the teenager he is. The movie captures the excitement and fun in a way that only a teenager’s point of view really could.
It also reminds us why the character connected with so many kids in the first place.
Spider-Man was the first teenage character who was the hero, not the sidekick, and didn’t have the words boy, kid, or something along those lines in the name. And young readers could see themselves in the character.
So it was always a bit of a shame that the movies didn’t embrace that aspect. Although Tobey Maguire captured the nerdy side of the character, it never seemed like he was having any fun as Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield captured the wise cracking aspect of the character, but he seemed a little too cool to be Peter. He felt more like a character that readers wish they were instead of seeing themselves in him.