Whilst I really enjoyed the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War (Anthony & Joe Russo, 2016), I was feeling a little dubious about another stand alone Spider-Man movie.
Let’s just flashback to 2012, when The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb) hit the big screens. After not being much of a fan of the previous Spider-Man (2002, Sam Raimi) or the movies that followed it, I thoroughly enjoyed this reboot. Garfield was cheeky, funny, attractive and seemed to be right combination of both on popular and unpopular. Sadly as we all know, Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of our friendly neighborhood superhero was to be short lived. A sequel was released in 2014, and think most of us will agree that it did not share the same quality as the 2012 release. The planned franchise was cancelled, and that pretty much brings us to last night.
As the opening sequence of Homecoming unfolded before us, I struggled to place where in the Marvel time line we were. As I realized that I was watching part of the aftermath of The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon), I was a little confused. This wasn’t what I expected. This was, after all, another reboot, and another stand alone “origin story”, or so I thought (having avoided reading any articles about it, not wanting to see any spoilers).
As the scene changed, I thought “ah, here it comes. Okay, let’s just get through it and see how the rest of the movie goes.” At this point, you may be wondering what on earth I’m rambling on about.
It feels like the comic book movie cycle is never ending. Whilst Marvel has been on the uprising for some time now, especially the expansive world of the Avengers, DC is starting to try and catch up. There is so much material out there, and each superhero comes with his or hers own backstory. Some of them are widely known, even to those of us that aren’t really classed as comic book geeks; some of them are much more obscure. I think we can all agree that a fair a few have very traumatic, and sometimes similar starts in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s important to see these stories with their own stand-a-lone movie, we need to get to know the individual characters on a more personal basis, than would be possible in the bigger movies. Anyway, I digress. What I mean is, we all know Spider-Man’s very upsetting start to life and did we really need to see all of that again?
What I was really interested in, what getting to know this version of Peter Parker. Not just what kind of superhero he is, but what kind of person is he? This film did not disappoint.
Have you ever noticed that more often than not, after a quick montage of a superhero getting to know their powers, it tends to come easily to them. I guess part of this is the natural instinct that comes with having powers.
What I love about Holland’s Spider-Man, is that he isn’t this perfect, graceful, guy who is in-tune with his powers. Yes, he’s good and he’s strong but he makes mistakes. Not just that, but he’s a kid and even better, he is treat like one. No one is making excuses for him, and the big guys – Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and friends, primarily – are at least trying to look out for him, although sometimes they do kind of hinder him.
In doing so, Stark removes his suit, feeling that he wasn’t ready for such a responsibility. This leaves Peter with two options – he can be a kid again, or he can really prove himself. Is he Spider-Man all the time, or just with his suit?
Whilst I feel like Garfield’s Spider-Man (I’m a little hazy on Maguire’s portrayal of the character) wouldn’t be fazed by this, it takes this Spider-Man sometime to realize that he is more than just a suit. Of course, Garfield’s suit, whilst fancy is missing out on the Stark technology.
This super-super suit opened Holland’s character up to a different way of fighting, and even though he was doing it before he had this suit, it’s like he’s forgotten that it’s a possibility.
Not until the reveal that the bad guy (Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes/Vulture) is the Dad of Parker’s homecoming date – something that I’ll touch upon in a bit – does he realize that he can’t let go of his responsibilities.
And whilst I feel that Garfield’s Parker would easily swoop in, save the day and be back to sweep his date off her feet at the dance, the Peter Parker of this film finds his well hidden not to super suit, and runs off to pretty much get his butt kicked a couple of times. In the end though, he stops the bad guy, saves Stark Industries technology (although he destroys a plane) and he saves Vulture’s life.
In doing this he learns that he is both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, with or without the suit, and he proves himself as capable to Stark.
All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. It was quite different to the other comic book movies that I’ve seen. Rather than his personal struggle being about keeping the one he loves safe, or having a crisis about keeping a secret identity whilst in high school, or trying to have a clear vision of what’s right from wrong, his personal struggle is with himself. Is he good enough? Is he strong enough? Is he worthy? Can he make a difference? He is and he can.
Tom Holland portrays Peter Parker as a geeky, happy, funny, kid who just wants to get through and help people. He cares about people, and let’s face it – he’s adorable.
I really liked Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes/Vulture. A bad guy that seems impossible for a kid to defeat, and for all he tries, it is actually the explosion of the technology that brings him to the ground. He was the right level of evil, claiming he is doing it to make money for his family, and not actually planning on taking over the world, or unleashing hell on earth.
It was great to see Peter with a trust worthy friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May allowed Peter a bit more freedom as teen with super powers.
Whilst I wasn’t convinced with Liz (Laura Harrier) as Peter’s “love” interest – I feel that it was quite forced, with barely any screen time together, all he has to do is say that he likes her and ask her to homecoming, and just like that she says yes. Maybe if they had grown their relationship, it would have been different – I did enjoy Zendaya’s Michelle, who later revealed that he friends call her MJ, a clear set up of a future romance.
It was also nice to see some familiar faces in Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), and some of the others from the Avengers universe. Tony in this instance is looking out for Peter, trying to do right by him and keep him safe.
It’s a definite must see, and my favorite out of Spider-Man’s on screen adventures!