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Sony, as Fox hopefully one day will do with the X-Men franchise, has given into the House of Mouse and let their property into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that, we finally are given the Spiderman we deserve. Albeit one with the PG-13 humor of most Marvel movies, but this is a Spiderman for a new generation. One which, with the way things seemingly will be at the end of the current MCU, will represent the next multi-movie arc for Marvel.
And if the future debuts of Captain Marvel, the legendary Black Panther, and more are similar to Spiderman: Homecoming, we’re in for a ride. One which may seem familiar to long time Marvel fans, but definitely shows the new blood they are letting handle things.
At 15 years old, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has quite a life. He is perhaps one of the smartest kids at his tech school, without us ever seeing him study, he has a best friend who is pretty much down for whatever, and he is Spiderman. He is this kid that fought against Captain America. Peter is within 2-3 degrees of having direct contact with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). But that isn’t enough.
He doesn’t want to just be your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. He wants to be an Avenger, fight aliens, and all that. But Tony rather him just be a kid. Yet, what 15 year old ever does what they are told? Hence him, upon discovery of this gang using alien technology, beginning to try to prove himself to Tony. Something his good friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) helps with when he can.
However, neither of these boys were ready for Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture (Michael Keaton). A man who isn’t like most Marvel villains. He is more so like Loki. A villain you’d like to maybe return, even if just for a cameo. For Adrian’s motives aren’t evil. All he wants to do is feed and provide for his family. Something he does in a twisted Robin Hood kind of way by taking from the rich and powerful, like Tony, and selling the weapons his team makes. All of which come from the various Avenger battles.
But with him selling to the bad guys, similar to what Tony I believe did back in the first Iron Man, Spiderman decides he has to take him down. Even if Tony and Happy (Jon Favreau), Tony’s assistant, don’t have faith he can do it. Especially on his own.
It Has What Many Other Marvel Films Don’t
You’d be hard pressed to find a Marvel film which isn’t funny. So, at this point, that can’t even be a highlight anymore. However, what Spiderman: Homecoming has what other Marvel films don’t is quite a few things. The first, which was already noted, is a good villain.
Unlike 90% of the Marvel films, outside of Thor and X-Men, we are given the type of villain which poses a real credible threat. Much less are given a villain with layers. Someone who isn’t evil because they are psycho, malfunctioning, or even seeking revenge per se. All Adrian is trying to do is provide for his family. Something which, at one time, he had the opportunity to do in a legit fashion. However, thanks to Tony cutting a deal with the government, Adrian lost his city contract and turned over to a life of crime. All so he could make sure his daughter and wife were taken care of.
Which, in the long run, was something I admired. For now if Spiderman or even Tony killed him, there would have been a family left behind. And while in the past we have seen this storyline with how the Green Goblin was handled, Adrian wasn’t rich. He became rich but before that, he was blue collar. And being that Adrian’s daughter is a main cast member, it isn’t like she is this toddler pushed out to make us feel bad. We get to know her, see Peter interact with her, and makes the idea of him killing Adrian, accidentally or otherwise, mean something.
Speaking of death, this also is probably one of the few Marvel films I honestly thought the hero could die. If only because Aaron Davis (Donald Glover) is in the film and talks about a nephew he has and, naturally, you think Miles Morales. So while it was doubtful Sony/ Marvel would kill Peter Parker and swap in Miles Morales, you never know. After all, Marvel is nearly 20 films deep and I’m sure, even with a formula that works, they want to shock their fans a bit.
So every time Peter either has an awkward moment or we are reminded he, like an X-Men mutant kind of, isn’t fully in control of his powers, you wonder if this maybe the end. If he may succeed, but he ends up dying and we see Miles pick up the mask.
About That Suit
I will never make the claim to be a true Marvel fan. If it wasn’t for the movies and YouTube videos explaining a character’s history, I wouldn’t know who any of these people are. So, with that said, I found it so weird how reliant Peter was on his suit and gadgets. Things like shooting web he had stored in a canister or needed his suit to do. He had enhanced strength, but it seemed that a lot of the things Spiderman is known for power wise, without the suit was abnormal but maybe not perhaps superhuman.
Um, How Did All These Blue Collar People Figure Out How To Make Weapons Out of Alien Junk?
From what we are shown, the people who work for Adrian aren’t MIT graduates. They are blue-collar people like him just trying to make a good wage. So how exactly they, for 8 years, craft weapons out of the pieces from Avenger battles is beyond me. Much less how, in those 8 years, there seemingly were no incidents. The fact that they don’t have scars and missing limbs from messing with alien technology I found puzzling. Especially considering this crystal thing they like to use for powering stuff, with enough radiation around it that turns into a bomb.
So the fact they, or their clients, never had a notable incident was surprising. Much less, as Adrian also notes, none of the Avengers, their support staff, or the government ever tracked down this team. For it isn’t like Adrian, again, was working with the smartest of people. Granted, they had high-tech weapons, but they were operating the same way drug dealers do. Hell, they even seemingly were willing to sell to small time dealers like Aaron so I’m trying to figure out how they weak ass cover wasn’t blown?
On The Fence
If You Are Taking A Kid And Their Parents Aren’t Lenient About Them Hearing Cursing, Seeing People Essentially Die, or Innuendo, This May Not Be For Them
Marvel’s style of humor which is often aimed at young adults barely gets changed here. There are the occasional curse words, the first person who plays Shocker (Logan Marshall-Green) is pretty much murdered with an alien weapon, and there is the occasional innuendo. A lot of which should go over little kids’ heads, but I’m getting old. Who knows what they may pick up on that we think they don’t get.
Zendaya as Michelle
Let’s just say she will definitely, without question, be in the sequel. But, as for her outing this go around, I was consistently weirded out. Mostly because MJ, I mean Michelle, was made into a really weird girl. She is “woke” like talking about how the Washington Monument is made by slaves. Also, she is a low-key genius, probably in a similar fashion to Peter. Yet, she is also a low-key stalker of Peter, an observer is her word, and sort of teases him like in a Helga Pataki [note]From Hey Arnold![/note] way. Like insulting him publicly and even flipping him off once.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
The main thing which, for me, made Spiderman: Homecoming standout in the larger MCU universe was it had a quality villain. One which presented a real threat to the hero’s life and, with the idea of Miles Morales looming, made you question his mortality. Something which you’d be hard-pressed to find in any Marvel film.
Hence the positive label for while we get what is expected joke-wise, we finally get the hero we deserve. One who, even toward the end of the film, isn’t so in tune with his powers he seems unstoppable. If anything, he got lucky. But rather than this luck diminish the villain, it just shows you how, no matter how much money, magic, or powers, at the end of the day these beings are still human. They have flaws and vulnerabilities which, if someone put in the right amount of time and effort, may not kill them all, but could pick off one. Especially the tike who is still in a puberty stage when it comes to being a hero.