Length: 133 minutes / 2.22 hours
Of all the superheroes in their respective comic universes, the one I grew up with was Spider-Man. I watched the animated 1990’s television show, and I loved when this relatable superhero made his way to the big screen in Spider-Man (2002). I was even more pleased when Spider-Man 2 (2004) set the tone for future superhero franchises. The first film is the origin film so the second film can dispense with the best villain and not spend all its time in exposition. Unfortunately, I ended up being disappointed by the third entry in this original Spider-Man trilogy, which was a rare miss in my book.
Fast forward to 2012, when Spider-Man was rebooted with Andrew Garfield in the title role. Having to sit through the origin story again, but with a different, green-colored villain as the antagonist seemed like it wasn’t exploring anything new. Around the same time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was exploding with tons of well-done and smartly executed superhero films. Part of me wanted Spider-Man to be in that universe, where he belonged. Fortunately, legal disputes were settled behind the scenes, and Spider-Man made his newest debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016). With Spider-Man now under Marvel’s umbrella, I anticipated a smart and fresh reboot of this classic hero.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), New York City is front and center, which I felt was missing from the previous installments. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is the small-time superhero that any High School kid wishes to be, but he has limitations (like in the suburbs). While the diehard fan in me loved all the little references (as well as overt nods to other media, like Michael Keaton’s Oscar-winning Birdman (2014)), part of me feels these minor details might be lost on the casual observer. At any rate, I was pleased to find that this was not an origin story (again), but instead a character-driven narrative with great lessons and continuity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least Keaton’s version of The Vulture, despite being a “green-themed” villain, was more grounded in reality than the “life force-draining” version from the comics. I look forward to the next installment with the “green-themed” Scorpion as the villain, that’s for sure.
A layered and fun return to form for my favorite superhero, I give Spider-Man: Homecoming 4.5 stars out of 5.