There is a saying about comic books, specifically the super hero kind. After the origin, every story after is all Act II, there are some that have an end-point in mind while others can be canceled unexpectedly. But everything in-between is all just that, our hero’s life may change and the characters surrounding them come and go, but the hero endures and carries on, because we want the story to continue.
Since the boom of the Superhero movies in the early 2000’s up to the now legendary Marvel Renaissance, we have gotten a ton of origin stories. Some more than once, such as The Fantastic Four, Batman, Superman and most recently Spider-Man. Ten years after Toby McGuire pulled on the mask, Andrew Garfield did the same, and we were subjected to the famous spider bite to Uncle Ben dying three different times. Sure these are hallmarks of Spidey’s origin, but it is so well known now, do we really need to see it again? We do not.
Everyone, myself included were blown away by Tom Holland’s performance as the awkward teen/spectacular Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War”. They finally nailed the character from the books from which he was born, from his age to his squinting eyes on his mask. But could this kid sustain that for an entire film?
The short answer is: Absolutely!
Taking place during and immediately following the events of ‘Civi War’ Peter Parker (Holland) is living his everyday boring school life. Watching the clock slowly tick by and constantly checking in with his handler and former Iron Man bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) Peter is anxiously waiting for his next Avengers mission. When it doesn’t come, he continues to patrol the streets of Queens in his Tony Stark made suit. When he encounters criminal Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his crew of high-tech gear cronies Peter may be in over his head as he tries to be the big hero he believes he’s capable of being.
It bears mentioning again that Tom Holland is the perfect Spider-Man, he completely embraces the unpopular kid with the ever present “Parker Luck” and the quippy slightly arrogant web-head. Along with his overly eager yet equally unpopular buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) who is also equally suited for this role as he lands every one of his comedic lines. Together they bring a sense of fun and genuine playfulness to the film.
As the Big Bad in the film veteran super hero himself Keaton is not a Loki or Red Skull type world conquer, he fits the role of street level mastermind with enough flare and attitude to keep the edginess of a villain like The Vulture and not be silly doing it.
We can speculate the level of involvement Marvel had on the film and how much Sony contributed. Either way they all deserve the credit along with the army of writers and director Jon Watts to bring a solid Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They didn’t feel the need to go too big, keeping Spidey in his neighborhood, with his real teenage problems and struggling with his great power and new responsibility. Even the title ‘Homecoming’ something low key and more like what you’d see on a comic cover of a 3-issue storyline. Not an epic crazy crossover, just Spider-Man doing what a spider can.
And with the Superhero Movie Age not even close to dying, both fans and general audiences want something they haven’t seen before but still have that familiar feel. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is exactly that and is the true reward for patiently sitting through all those origins, to finally see this character in his rightful place and in full swing.