Over fifteen long years, Spider-Man found himself tangled up in a web of laughable movies that neither captured the spirit or potential of what could be. Tobey Maguire felt far too old for the part, while Andrew Garfield felt a step closer—but almost every attempt at bringing the web-slinger to life (even in video games, too) was plodded down by an overwhelming amount of characters, subplots, and horrendous tonal issues. But Sony finally shared the rights to Spidey, giving them properly to Marvel—and boy is it everything I’ve been waiting for.
Let’s get one thing straight—Spider-Man: Homecoming is more of a coming-of-age, John Hughes-inspired flick than a super hero one. We finally have a perfectly cast Peter Parker in the form of Tom Holland who embodies him such naivety and charm that you really feel like he’s an actual high schooler.
Smartly dodging the origin story (which we all know by heart at this point), we pick up right before his introduction during Captain America: Civil War. He’s beyond ecstatic, finally getting to do something awesome with his powers, but he is still so young and inexperienced. This forces Tony to sideline him while he gets a hold of his powers with the promise that he’ll let him know when another mission comes up.
The call never comes, weighing down on him. And this is where the movie really picks up steam. With all the tropes of a high school movie, Peter must now balance school, the academic decathlon, and keeping everything a secret with trying to use his powers for good. Being as naive and cocky as he is, he bites off more than he can chew when he finds the Vulture (played by superbly sinister Michael Keaton) hocking alien parts and building weapons of mass destruction.
Keaton’s Vulture, despite not exactly building the same amount of hype or iconography that other Spidey villains hold, is one of Marvel’s best villains since Loki. He’s just an average dude with a powerful suit—but it’s his motives that transform him. He’s a villain born out of our times—an every-man kept down by the so-called “1%” with people like Stark taking all of his riches and glory, leaving him in the dust.
The supporting cast also delivers, making for a significantly more memorable group than any of the others. Jacob Batalon pretty much takes the cake as Peter’s best friend, Ned, who discovers his secret and becomes his closest ally and confidant. Zendaya also has some scene-stealing lines as the quiet, one-line zinging Michelle. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May is also an incredibly welcoming addition, though of all characters she feels underutilized the most.
To say that Spider-Man is back is an understatement. For the first time ever, we have a proper representation of the friendly neighborhood hero from Queens. With a dazzling sense of spectacle, a whole lot of heart, and the feeling that it is more of a high school flick than a super hero movie Spider-Man: Homecoming brings everything and more. The sequels can’t come soon enough.