Heyyy, a delightful blend of small scale superheroism and teenage shenanigans…
“Somebody’s gotta stick up for the little guy, right?”
Grassroots superheroism. Street level shenanigans. When Spider-Man: Homecoming goes small, it makes the whole Marvel Universe feel that much bigger. It’s a refreshing point of access to the (often underwhelming) solo superhero tale – one that’s very relatable to the film’s core audience. Peter’s fanboyish idolisation of the Avengers is an extension of our deep-rooted love for these movies, his apathy towards his day-to-day life reflects our desire for escapist adventure. Largely forgettable ABC shows notwithstanding, it’s the first Marvel property to really dive into an outsider’s perspective of the Avengers’ actions. The concept of living life on the ground looking up at heroes in the sky reverberates throughout the entire movie, from its high school setting to its blue collar scavenger antagonists.
Yet the big set pieces work too. They succeed because they’re few and far between, scattered in amongst teenage angst (that the movie wisely imbues with just as much importance). We’re as eager to watch Peter win over his longtime crush as we are to see him take down a nefarious arms dealer. Jon Watts’ love for Ferris Bueller shines through during one memorable sequence, but the rest of his direction is unremarkable. Any ties to The Breakfast Club are surface level at best – disappointing, considering the supporting cast of kids could’ve done with a little more substance. Michael Keaton plays Vulture with a cool, sinister edge, stealing scenes without ever needing to ham it up. His intensity is reminiscent of Dafoe’s Norman Osborn (minus the crazy), as Toomes blows Marvel’s sub-standard villain roster out of the water. Tom Holland still radiates that youthful energy that made him such a breath of fresh air in Civil War. Here he channels his naivety into creating a new breed of Marvel Cinematic hero – one that’s relatable, incompetent, and as concerned with finding a date to a dance as he is with stopping small time crime. Our friendly neighbourhood Spidey.
I noticed Jake Schreier’s name as a ‘thanks’ in the credits. Curious to know what his role was here (I enjoyed Paper Towns, for what it’s worth).