Looking Back at 2010s Films: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

25 Nov

By Tanner Smith

With “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us a lighthearted teenage coming-of-age story in which a charismatic high-school kid wants to become an Avenger and sets out to prove himself by becoming a neighborhood friendly Spider-Man. How did it turn out?

Well, as per my typical response to a really good Spider-Man movie (“Spider-Man 2,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”), I thought it was the best Spider-Man movie to come. The story of Spider-Man has always appealed to me, so I’m always looking for that one movie that not only does it right but also does it differently from the others.

In “Homecoming,” Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) is only 15-16 years old, so he still has a lot of growing up to do as Spider-Boy before he becomes Spider-Man. That itself is a journey I’m interested in, especially for the MCU, in which his mentor is not Uncle Ben but Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

Neither Uncle Ben nor his murder are even mentioned in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” so we don’t really know what drives Peter to help people outside of Iron Man recruiting him for the events in “Captain America: Civil War” and Peter wanting to prove he can still do great things for the Avengers. The closest we get is a scene from “Civil War,” in which Tony asks Peter why he wants to be Spider-Man and Peter replies that he wants to “stand up for the little guy.”

The Avengers ghost Peter, who continues to call and check in, despite no one answering his calls unless he’s about to do something that’s going to look bad for everybody. So, he sets out to prove himself by investigating a series of strange robberies performed with alien technology left over from the attack in “The Avengers.” He tries to trace the source of the weapons and comes across a villain known as The Vulture (Michael Keaton), who is really a blue-collar worker who wants revenge for his job being ruined. Stark wants Peter to stay out of this because it’s too big for him, but Peter insists that he knows something he doesn’t and sticks to it.

Oh, and there’s a Homecoming dance his school is preparing for, and Peter wants to ask his classmate Liz (Laura Harrier) to go with him. Plus a house party run by bully Flash (Tony Revolori), who’s actually more dorky than Peter and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) combined. Plus a field trip to Washington, D.C. that goes awry. Director Jon Watts (“Cop Car”) and his team of screenwriters have taken an MCU superhero movie and included a John Hughes teen formula into it, making for a fresh, funny, very enjoyable Marvel movie.

I mentioned in my original review that I really like Tony Stark’s progression as a character, since he’s made terrible mistakes as Iron Man in a few MCU movies prior before seeking to redeem himself in “Civil War” and then becoming Spider-Man’s mentor by basically warning him not to fall into the same traps he did. Every high-school coming-of-age story usually includes a mentor/student bond–here, it’s between Spider-Man and Iron Man. And it would only get more interesting and even heartbreakingly effective as the MCU would continue in the next two years.

Tom Holland is my favorite Peter Parker, Michael Keaton makes for an intriguing villain (especially when you learn his true identity), many of the side characters are likably goofy in their unique New York way, and when Peter has to rise to the challenge of becoming the hero he needs to be (rather than the hero he *wants* to be), it’s easy to root for him. So, I thoroughly enjoyed “Spider-Man: Homecoming” even more than “Spider-Man 2” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” simply because of how charming and likable it is.

But little did I know that something very special was waiting for me…and I’ll get to that awesomeness soon enough.

One Response to “Looking Back at 2010s Films: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Prepping for My Top 20 Films of the 2010s | Smith's Verdict - November 26, 2019

    […] Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Shazam!,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “22 Jump Street,” “Turbo Kid,” “This is the […]

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