Spider-Man: Homecoming gloriously heralds the webslinger's return to the MCU
Christmas came early, my friends, and my present from Santa is this year in comic book films.
Not only are they consistently knocking it out of the park, both critically and with fans, they are presenting a diversity in tone and topic that is sure to send those using that nasty "comic book fatigue" language to the bathroom to wash their mouths out with soap. The comic book genre is alive and well.
The title Spider-Man: Homecoming (starring Tom Holland), which opened to a weekend box office of $117 million, isn't just about Peter Parker attending his sophomore homecoming dance, but it is also a tongue-in-cheek welcome home for our friendly, neighborhood--well, you get the picture--after the rights were sold to Sony by Marvel in 1999. Five Spider-Man films later, Sony ran into financial trouble, and the union of Sony and Marvel was established, bringing Spider-man officially into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And what a welcome home it was. Growing up, Spider-Man was my favorite superhero, not because he was the strongest or the fastest, but because he was absolutely average in every way...minus the fact he could stick to the ceiling. He was an ordinary, geeky high schooler who dealt with ordinary, geeky problems by day and risked his life every night to save the city he loved. And best of all, he joked his way through it all.
As much as I enjoyed the previous incarnations of Spider-Man, neither Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield were quite able to capture that for me, being both too old and too grim for my taste.
Peter Parker is just a kid. That's his thing. Sure he grows into a man with a mission, but it's that kid that connected with me when I was young, and Tom Holland's Spider-Man radiates the sincerity, hilarity and innocence of the Peter Parker of the comic book page.
Homecoming also manages to be an origin story without the origin. We get it. We know Peter goes on a school trip. We know he gets a magical spider bite. We know that with great power comes great responsibility. We've seen it all before so many times that another second wasted on those plot points would make me punch myself in the face.
But that doesn't mean we meet a Spider-Man who has it all figured out. In fact, ironically, Holland's Spider-Man has it even less figured out than any of the others we've seen, and it's note perfect. He's constantly messing up and falling over and running into things...but that's who he is. It's lovable and endearing, and it's why I fell in love with this character years ago.
Marvel is also well known for it's "villain problem." With the exception of a few, notably Loki, Marvel villains tend to fall flat. But Michael Keaton's The Vulture is anything but one-note. From beginning to end, he is a villain with depth, and he brought the comic book-y flair without it erring on the side of camp.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was the perfect comic book film for fans and general audiences alike, full of laughter and heart. During one of Spider-man's hero moments, someone in my theater yelled "Yeah, Spiderman!" and rather than laughing at him, the entire audience joined in with his applause.
This is a perfect summer film, and you are sure to leave the theater with a smile on your face and a plan to come back for round two.