The “Homecoming” in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is not just a reference to the long anticipated Homecoming dance which takes place near the major climax between our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the Vulture (A Spidey villain that has never got his due until this film), it is also Marvel Studios’ way of welcoming back one of their own heroes after years of Sony taking over the rights to the famous Web-Slinger, starting with Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy with Tobey Maguire in the red suit, up to Marc Webb’s seemingly gritty, yet poorly received, ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ with Andrew Garfield (of ‘The Social Network’, and ‘Hacksaw Ridge’). It truly has been a long time coming for Spidey to make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU, for short). Fans have been wondering where the wall crawler has been, or where he was going to show up. Yet, in 2016, prayers were answered and fans rejoiced when footage first surfaced of Spider-Man in the trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War’. However, there was something different about the “new” Spider-Man. This Spidey had a new look about him; it wasn’t the spider-covered suit from the Raimi trilogy, or the spandex suit in the ‘Amazing’ movies, this suit had a more simple look and feel to it. The question being: Who wore the suit? Why it would be none other than Tom Holland, an up and coming actor who is quickly becoming a household name and a new Marvel hero that is sure to do what ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Quill/Star-Lord did for Chris Pratt.
I have heard Holland’s appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ was brief, yet left an impression among fans and moviegoers alike. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ gives Holland what Peter Parker says in the movie to his best friend/classmate Ned (Jacob Batalan) “A chance to prove himself”; not just with the suit or cool gadgets given unto him by Tony Stark/Iron Man, but with a relatable depth and humorous charm that compares him more to Deadpool than Spider-Man.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ may seem like a semi-sequel to ‘Civil War’, but need I assure you that one need not see ‘Civil War’ to enjoy it. Like Fox’s ‘Logan’ and ‘Deadpool’ (X-Men spinoffs/sequels), ‘Homecoming’ is our title character’s movie; no strings attached! It even brings us up to date in what looks to be near found-footage territory, introducing us to the character without truly relying on past efforts; just an excitable performance from Holland and non-stop humor! Maguire may be the most beloved actor to have taken the role, but Holland proves, by far, to be the best from what I’ve seen.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is what many would say to be a blend between a high school movie in the style of the late John Hughes (One scene shows footage of – and makes a couple of references to – ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’) and a superhero movie fit for the MCU. I have to say that when it gets into its moments, it barely overstays its welcome, and provides fun, thrills, and drama to keep you entertained. It is the best of both worlds as Peter Parker has to trudge through the trials and tribulations of being a high school sophomore with a nerdy best friend and not-so-secret crush on high school senior, Liz (Laura Harrier), his home life with his caring Aunt May (Marisa Tomei, in a barely miscast, yet entertaining role), and his superhero life; dealing with the over-protectiveness of father-figure Stark (Robert Downey Jr. once again), trying to contact Stark’s assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau, who directed ‘Iron Man’ 1 and 2), and investigating arms dealer Adrien Toomes (Michael Keaton, who has “lived long enough to see himself become the villain.” according to Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’), who is the Vulture.
‘Homecoming’ deals with Parker’s journey with wanting to fit in in both worlds. In high school, he is considered to be a loser (With Tony Revolori of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ calling him “Penis Parker” throughout), while in his superhero life, Stark doesn’t think he is cut out to be an Avenger (Many MCU fans know the struggle and have cried for Spider-Man to be an “Official Avenger”. Damn it, Sony!) and would rather have him stay on the ground while the Avengers do most of the work (Despite them not being in the actual movie, besides Captain America in a spoof of educational PSA’s all kids had to watch in school.)
Ever hear the saying “This is why we go to the movies”? ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ fits the definition of that phrase by being one of the most entertaining films of the year, and the best film of the web-slinger’s career! Also, be sure to stay through the credits for another entertaining scene worthy of any Marvel movie!