Peter Parker’s entrance into the MCU may have been one of the most hyped scenes during Captain America: Civil War but his screen-time was minimal. We got the jokes we deserved from a hero-struck teenager in over his head, some great banter between him and various Avengers, and some great action sequences, but you wouldn’t have been wrong to worry about whether or not his solo film would be something worth watching.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the sixth Spider-Man movie that has been released since 2002, and they successfully avoided wasting an entire movie rehashing his origin for what would have been the third time in recent memory. By giving us a story months after he’s developed powers, we get to see a Peter who is not new to the super hero game, but is still a rookie in comparison to the heavy hitters of the MCU.
The movie starts off with a fresh view of Captain America: Civil War and quickly establishes the joking, but serious tone for the rest of the film. Peter’s interactions here with Happy and Tony let us know that Peter has only one goal in mind right now. He wants to be an Avenger. He wants to be taken seriously.
When trying to solve how street level criminals are getting their hands on Chitauri weapons, Peter stumbles on The Vulture and Iron Man tells him to stay away. He becomes so preoccupied with solving this to prove that he can be an Avenger that he makes mistakes he shouldn’t and puts the lives of the people he’s supposed to be protecting in danger.
For a Spider-Man film, it’s pretty crazy that they don’t say the line “With great power comes great responsibility,” but we can feel it echo throughout the film. When Peter makes his mistake and puts lives in jeopardy, he gets his suit taken away from him, as well as his confidence.
Tom Holland is a fantastic Spider-Man/Peter Parker, playing both roles as they’re intended to be. His awkwardness as Peter is palpable in his scenes with Liz, his love interest played by Laura Harrier, and his relationship with Ned, his best friend and confidante played by Jacob Batalon, is playful and fun like a good friendship should be.
Ned’s character can be closely attributed to the character of Ganke from Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, as he was the best friend of Miles Morales. Morales became the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe when the Peter Parker there died fighting the Green Goblin. Homecoming further ties into this with the inclusion of Aaron Davis, Donald Glover’s character, who is the uncle of Miles Morales in the comics. He does mention his nephew in the movie, so let’s hope that we see Miles somewhere down the line in the MCU. If not, at least we have Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse out later this year, an animated movie focusing on Miles Morales.
Michael Keaton’s Vulture/Adrian Toomes is one of the most compelling villains the MCU has ever had. His goals are relatable and human; He’s a father trying to do what he can to provide for his family after being stepped all over by the government. While he is obviously a criminal, we see that he doesn’t take lives unless absolutely necessary. His interaction with the Shocker, and subsequent murder of the character, was entirely a mistake, as he assumed that he was shooting him with an anti-gravity gun.
We’ve seen plenty of movies where we root for the father who’s been pushed too far and has to do anything he can for his family, but in this instance he just happens to be set up against our favorite wall-crawler. By the end of the film, we see him arrested, but alive (which differs from a good portion of the MCU villains) and his return is all but inevitable since he knows Peter is Spider-Man. It would definitely be interesting to see a take on the Sinister Six led by Toomes in the future.
Homecoming also plays up on nostalgia, with the Staten Island Ferry scene being similar to the train scene in Spider-Man 2, as Spider-Man has to utilize his body and webs to stop a train/hold a boat together. These scenes show how Spider-Man is defined as a character. He may make mistakes but he’ll always put his life on the line for others, no matter the cost. We see this again later in Homecoming, when given the opportunity to spend a night dancing with Liz, Peter sacrifices that happiness to stop the Vulture. It will be interesting to see if the idea of Spider-Man’s tendency for self-sacrifice and sabotage will be explored further in the next film or Infinity War.
We can only hope that Sony and Marvel Studio’s deal continues to be fruitful with the next Spider-Man movie being slated for release sometime in 2019. For now, we’ll have to hope that the wall-crawler makes it through Infinity War without getting too roughed up by Thanos.
[Photos courtesy of Verizon and Entertainment Weekly]