After having re-booted and reworked the same character over what seems like an eternity I’m glad to say they’ve finally made him feel at home. What’s funny about Spider-Man is that it’s not like the Fantastic Four where Fox has specialized in creating trashy re-iterations of the same characters since 2005, when it comes to Spider-Man we’ve actually had some spectacular wins dating back to Sam Raimi’s first version of the character back in the early 2000’s, it just so happens that things have been messy with the character as of late, forcing every fanboy to cry out in terror about who their beloved teenage superhero is now doomed for eternity after a single bad movie. Well, for all those people out there, you can thank the Sony-Marvel partnership for resuscitating your favorite web-slinger and making him as awesome as he should be.
With an ingenious tactic that thrusts directly into the mind of Peter Parker, Jon Watts intelligently decides to start the film off as if Peter Parker were producing the Youtube sensation, Spider-Man’s Video Diary. With every word, gesture, and mannerism, you can immediately identify Spider-Man to be the sophomore swinging around amongst the hardened warriors that protect our planet from evil. Whilst they’re dealing with whatever the next interplanetary menace may be, Spidey’s out there in the streets of Queen helping an old lady find directions in an exchange for some delicious churros. No wonder Iron Man doesn’t take him seriously, he’s a kid whose fascinations include building Lego Death Stars. If there’s anything this film does right is establish the character well, not just Spider-Man, but especially Peter Parker.
If there’s one constant negative you can single out in a Marvel movie it’s that of the lackluster villains that inhabit them. Marvel has been attempting to improve this as of late and although Keaton’s vulture isn’t as great as Loki per say, he’s a big improvement over all the other forgettable villains that we’ve been offered. What’s most impressive that really shouldn’t be, but is considering a reflection on the lack of it in past Marvel films, is how well they manage to cultivate the relationship between hero and foe. Watts chooses to radically humanize every character in the film instead of treating them like the over-blown legends they’re usually admired as, there’s literally a scene where Spidey and a criminal dispute over what’s the best sandwich shop in Queens and it’s bloody brilliant how resounding the sense that Spidey is just your average high-schooler shines there.
Defining its main players is where Homecoming does a good job, but if there’s anywhere the film excels is in its John Hughes feel. Maybe playing a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a bit too on the nose, but from the moment Peter Parker walks into his high-school hallways all Spider-Man-related preoccupations vanish and are instead replaced with the fear of Peter’s crush finding out he has a crush on her or that dreadful Spanish quiz Peter had entirely forgotten about. Jon Watts does a good job filling the classrooms with funny people ranging from Tony Revolori to Martin Starr and instead of being the least bit distracting, they add to that perfectly fabricated high-school that we’ll hopefully have more of in future installments from the franchise.
Although they might have disappointed me with Guardians 2, an unlikely hero has come to save the day in Sony and their precious partnership with Marvel. Finding a functional collaborative format, there’s equal amounts of fun and charm in the latest version of Spider-Man, one that perfectly captures Peter Parker’s high-school nature but realizes what his untapped potential means for him and for the franchise. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the perfect welcome-back film for the teenage web-slinger, remolding the character under a brand new light that shines both bright and beautifully.