Spider-Man: Homecoming is a continuation of that story that also provides a look into the experiences of the youngest incarnation of Spider-Man to come along in the 21st century.
In this film, Tom Holland (age 21 according to IMDb) portrays a 15-year-old Peter Parker. He definitely pulls off the look well. His physical appearance shows no signs of adulthood and his character’s demeanor is that of a kid who’s not quite brave enough to use profanity while an adult is present. Of course, Tobey Maguire’s version of the web-slinger never seemed like he had enough of a spine to use obscenities. And he appeared to be in his 30s in those films. Maguire’s Spider-Man oozed with over sensitivity and self-esteem issues to the point that he allowed everyone to walk all over him. So, the idea of a timid Spider-Man is nothing new.
What you get with Spider-Man: Homecoming is a funny, but not brash sort of SpiderMan. Which makes things feel a little odd and illogical. If Spider-Man doesn’t have the fortitude to be a bit of a smart ass in front of his teachers, why would he have the fortitude to put on a suit and bust criminals? This paradox makes it seem as though the target audience for Homecoming is only 13 and under. Even though the newest installment is rated PG-13. As a result, Spider-Man: Homecoming has the campiest vibe in comparison to the other five films.
Perhaps this is because the goal of this movie is to give fans a look at the earliest days of Spider-Man. The bumps, the bruises, and the growing pains of being both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are in full view. Aunt May (who’s also quite young herself this time around) is seen teaching her nephew how to dance and how to knot a necktie properly. When dressed in his crime-fighting attire, you watch Spider-Man struggling to tell the difference between a car thief and an innocent person getting into his own vehicle. As well, he struggles with learning the ropes of a new, technologically advanced Spidey suit.
The amazing thing is, the film manages to show all of this without showing how Spider-Man acquired his powers.
He appears inexperienced in fighting criminals. As though he’s just starting out as a vigilante. His run-ins with these small-time convicts lead him to confrontation with the film’s chief villain, Vulture, played by Michael Keaton. As the film goes on, he adapts to fighting Keaton’s character, but doesn’t do it with a sense of gracefulness or finesse. Even during the final confrontation, he seems awkward and not confident.
That’s not to say that the action sequences are not sufficient enough to hold moviegoers attention, the most thrilling of which involves a calamity at the Washington Monument.
There’s a love interest on screen, of course. And Parker is as self-conscious as ever before when it comes to romance as he watches from afar and fears approaching her until he discovers her fascination with his alter ego. A revelation about his crush and another character adds a nice twist. Also, there’s a hint that another possible relationship may show up in the sequel.
The film’s ending can be construed as anticlimactic depending upon what viewers want. For some, the build up in the film will not pay off or even make sense.
Additionally, there’s irony to be found in Michael Keaton as Vulture. In 2014, Keaton starred in the lead role of the movie, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). In the film, Keaton plays an older actor who was once famous for his role as a superhero named Birdman. His co-star in the film is Emma Stone, who portrayed Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man films from a few years ago. All this put together is more than ironic and makes it as though Keaton being cast as Vulture is some sort of satirical ode to his role as Birdman.
In closing, this is a good film for seeing an unabashed and unfiltered look at the hardships of becoming Spider-Man. It’s not such a good film for seeing the comic hero at his fullest potential. It’s unimaginable to think how much more exciting it would have been if Spider-Man had a little more control over his own abilities.