Technically, I did not have to see this. Homecoming is a remake of a remake of the movies that kicked off this whole thing. Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy set the standard for things to come. The pseudo-serious tone, colorful aesthetic, and sense of heart all came from those three films. Then Jon Favreau came along and perfected the formula to what me know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, because of a lot of studio nonsense that keeps characters like the Fantastic Four appearing alongside the Avengers, Spider-Man remained in the hands of a Sony. After a handful of anal-blowouts at the box office, the company finally allowed Peter Parker to appear in an MCU movie. Did Homecoming surpass the last two abominable remakes or is it only slightly better?
After the events of Civil War Peter, played by Tom Holland, is eager to join the Avengers. When Tony Stark seemingly ignores his advances, Peter takes matters into his own hands.
Right off the bat, Homecoming is great. Ignoring the Raimi trilogy and the rest of the MCU, the film stands on its own. You can watch it as a separate entity and miss none of the canonical details. The only bit you need to know concerns the villain’s motivations and even then it is not a big deal. Before I get into it, you should just buy a ticket and see for yourself.
I am not a fan of the character. Granted, I am fascinated by a psychotic mass murderer like Punisher, but I was never drawn to the “superhero with problems” angle Stan Lee was going for at the start. I read comics to escape real life, not to remind myself it exists. Peter Parker always came off like a whiner that should get over his issues. This time, he had my attention.
Thanks to the heart and soul Marvel puts into their work, you actually care about what is going on with Peter. A lot of time is devoted to fleshing out the people around him and his life. To be honest, I wanted to see more of what they were up to. When Peter skips out on his friends, the weight of his struggle to be a hero and a normal kid really hits you. It gets worse when he stumbles and fails because he is ultimately failing them.
For the first time ever, I actually cared about Spider-Man.
Michael Keaton was one of the better MCU villains as Vulture. On the one hand, he was a real person with relatable motivations. Like Ultron, he had a ton of personality that made him likeable and fun despite being a bad guy. It also helps that Vulture’s costume is awesome. Without hyperbole, it is better than anything I have seen in past movies. Imagine a retro version of Raging Raven from MGS4 mixed with Falcon.
None of this would have been possible if those involved did not have something to work with. Six people wrote Homecoming and it felt like the work of one. The pacing was a little stilled, but the dialog, jokes, and timing were very well done. As per your typical MCU film, it was funny in that pseudo-serious way, coupled with some John Hughes style humor. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is even referenced early on.
One complaint I have is the movie is too dark. Not in terms of tone, but lighting. During the action scenes that take place at night, I could not see a thing. I had to squint to see what was happening and it was still difficult. The last fight was so dark I missed all that Vulture goodness. There was also a scene where the Michelle character was reading Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maughm. Imagine an autobiography written to force the reader into suicide from boredom. Seeing the book on screen was depressing.
If you are like me and lost faith in Spider-Man after the last two films, Homecoming is what you need. It revitalizes the potential of the character now that it is in Marvel’s capable hands. Everything you expect from the MCU and then some is right here. If you are feeling a bit of superhero fatigue after Guardians 2 and Wonder Woman, I think this will do you some good.
My condolences to Stan Lee and his family.