Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Does whatever a Marvel movie can! The title of Homecoming had very little to do with a dance, and a LOT to do with our boy coming home to Marvel after so many years with Sony.
Here are some fundamental truths about Spider-Man: he wise-cracks, he is a genius, he is not a beefcake, he is adorable, and he was bitten by a radioactive spider that one time. Yes, he has special physical abilities, but the thing that gives him such widespread appeal is his relatable humanity, and the fact that his superhuman abilities mix with his personal strengths.
Homecoming’s version of our boy got it right (in my humble opinion). His webs don’t come out of him (*deep sigh* Sam Rami). He’s not dark and brooding (looking at you, Marc Webb). He’s just a 15 year old kid, concocting his web formula in the school lab, and giving old ladies directions on the street.
Is the MCU’s Spider-Man perfect? No. There’s a little too much reliance on Tony Stark and his super-tech-Spider-suit. Honestly, though, Tom Holland is so charming as our young webslinger, that I’ll allow it.
This fellow is Adrian Toomes, a regular workin’ dad, just trying to give his family a good life. After the battle of New York, his company was hired to do clean-up of the alien debris. BUT then Tony Stark stepped in and said that HE would handle clean-up, so Toomes was laid off. As far as villain origin stories go, this one was pretty simple and low-key. He didn’t go crazy from a science experiment gone wrong. He wasn’t trying to take over the world or mass murder. He was just a regular dude fed up with a rigged societal system, and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Relatable? Yes. Sympathetic? Nuh uh, Bub! 8 years later he’s a flying thief called the Vulture, using alien tech to steal more alien tech in order to sell weapons to the criminal element.
This is exactly the kind of villain Spiderman needed for his first solo outing in the MCU. Just a good, down-to-Earth, human quasi-sociopath. Top marks, Homecoming.
Peter’s role in Civil War was adorably recapped in a self-made cellphone video. Then Tony left him with a “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” So for 2 months, Peter was living the life of a normal teen; going to school, being a nerd with his best bud Ned, having a crush on a girl, making web formula in science lab, constantly texting his adult non-friend, eating at his favourite deli, fighting small-time crime after school… you know, normal stuff.
Peter spied a group of criminals robbing a bank machine and was VERY PUMPED to intervene. If this was a regular, run-of-the-mill robbery, Pete totally would have saved the day. HOWEVER, they had wall-slicing alien tech, so this fight did not go well, and both the bank and Peter’s favourite deli were destroyed.
Ned was awaiting Peter in his bedroom when Spider-Man climbed in through the window. This was the best thing to happen to Peter and the movie, because it’s nice to have a confidant, and also Ned is awesome. What followed was a montage of Ned asking questions about Peter’s abilities, and it was DELIGHTFUL. He also blurted out in gym class that Peter knows Spider Man, and thus they were invited to a party at Peter’s crush’s house. Awwwwwww, teens!
Peter was deliberating on whether or not to do a party appearance as Spider-Man when he saw a super subtle blue explosion in the distance. Being the normal teen he is, he went to go investigate.
Fake Tom Hardy was not the smartest minion we’ve seen in the MCU. He was trying to sell weapons to Aaron Davis (hi Donald Glover!), who just wanted something small and subtle, but the Shocker (LOL) just had to show off his big blasters. A fight broke out when they realized Spider-Man was there, and off the minions skedaddled in their van. What followed was a fun Ferris Bueller homage / chase through the neighbourhood.
Just as Peter was about to catch up to the van, the Vulture swooped in (literally), snatched him up, then threw him in some water, where he almost drowned.
Tony saved him with one of his suits (that he was controlling remotely), and told Peter to quit it, obviously not realizing that we were only half-way through the movie.
YUP! Just some straight-up murder from a guy we thought was a nonviolent thief/weapons dealer. The game was officially upped!
On his way home, Peter found one of the weapons, which naturally he took to school and started fiddling with in shop class.
The energy signature had attracted Vulture’s minions, who rocked up to the high-school and walked around with a gizmo, completely unquestioned by any authority figure. Peter happened to see them, and tagged them with a tracking device that scuttled like an actual spider, and just WHY, Tony??? WHY? Ugh. Anyway.
They saw the minions were going to Maryland, so Peter re-signed up for the academic decathlon happening in Washington DC.
I’ve never actually seen a computer. I’m writing this on a wall with crayon, and Ghostwriter is taking my words into the web (yes, that was a Spider-Man internet pun, love me for me). Anyway, what my hilarious and intelligible joke implies, Ned is ALSO a super genius like Peter, but his specialty is hacking. How and why is Ned a super-hacker? Because of his rich and enlightening backstory, of course! (We have no sweet clue, just go with it) He took the “training wheels protocol” off Peter’s suit, so now he has all the bells, whistles, and kill-modes.
Poor Peter. A big part of being a hero is not being able to do normal life stuff, such as following your crush to the pool for some harmless teen rebellion. Instead, he followed some bad guys to a heist, and almost got caught because his suit was too advanced.
Vulture swooped in to steal some weapons from a truck, but our boy was there to stop him, confusing suit enhancements be damned. Unfortunately, he knocked himself out inside the truck and got himself locked in a secure vault overnight.
The suit came with its very own overly human AI, so Peter passed the time bonding with his new artificial best friend, whom he hereby dubbed Karen. She helped him discover that the core of the weapon (“glowy thing”) that Ned has been carrying around in his pocket is actually explosive. He futility tried to get back to Ned, but couldn’t get out until morning, which meant he missed the decathlon, and was too late to stop the “glowy thing” from causing a ruckus in the Washington Monument elevator.
Peter very publicly saved them by climbing up the monument, crashing through a window (using a helicopter for leverage, it was awesome), and webbing them to safety. And NO ONE was like, “why was Spider-Man in Washington when he’s usually in New York, and related – where was Peter this whole time?” Not one single person.
Anyway, Pete was riding the high of being secretly beloved by everyone, so he decided school was sooooooo yesterday (that’s how the youths talk, right?) and tried to skip. He was hilariously caught and sent to detention, because Spider-Man is a teen in high-school and that creates some very funny dichotomies.
Peter questioned Aaron Davis about the weapons he almost bought, and (in a very funny exchange where Aaron had to talk him through the interrogation) found out where Vulture was going to be doing his next bout of illegal activity.
Ohhhhhh boy. Peter busted up the deal Vulture was doing, but during the fight a super-weapon went off and split the ferry in half. Luckily Peter has a substitute robo-dad who swooped in to help with the aid of his robo-gadgets.
Tony was very peeved that Peter tried to stop a weapon’s deal, and laid a disproportionate guilt trip on so thick I thought we accidentally walked into my Catholic upbringing. Then he took away his suit because “if you’re nothing without the suit then you shouldn’t have it,” which was a great line.
So now Peter was just a regular kid, doing regular kid stuff again. He went to dinner with Aunt Mae, he was good at school, a good friend, and he even asked his crush to the homecoming dance.
But guess who Liz’s dad was…
And thus (in the very best scene of the movie, Michael Keaton is a gift to this world) Peter was not-so-reluctantly sucked back into the life of fighting crime. He ditched his date and his clothes, changed into his poor-man’s suit, and went webslingin’.
I guess because Ned needed a heroic moment to solidify his place in side-kick history, we got a scene where it looked as though Spider-Man was going to be foiled by a B-Squad minion (LOL). But Ned showed up and webbed him, and the smile on his face made the whole scene worth it. Sure, bud, you have your moment. You earned it.
Thus our boy Ned officially became The Guy In The Chair as Peter went after the Vulture.
Vulture revealed his
eeeeeeeeeevil sorta bad plans in a monologue, in order to distract Peter long enough to get his wings flying around, causing more damage than a toddler who snuck some of his nanny’s coffee.
So Peter was trapped with no super-suit to help him, and no cell phone to call for help. But then the emotional power of a memory-voice-over of a guilt trip from an inappropriate absentee father figure gave him the fortitude to lift A BUILDING, brush himself off, and go about his merry way.
Luckily, the Vulture had waited for him before taking off, even though earlier his criminal comrades were all, “hurry up, they’re firing up the engines!’ So Peter caught a ride and ended up outside Tony Stark’s plane, which had no humans on it, because Marvel.
Vulture was going about his business stealing all the things, when he spied Peter outside and decided they should have an air fight, which resulted in a plane crash.
Now NO ONE can play with the alien tech on the plane! Ugh, way to ruin it for everyone else, guys!
They engaged in some fisticuffs where Vulture totally could have killed Peter, but didn’t because he saw something shiny, which definitely makes sense on a human level, so maybe just shut your brain up about it, OKAY?
BUT THEN, Vulture’s whatsit was malfunctioning, and it blew up, and Peter ran into the fire to save him (heroically and absolutely without consequence).
So the Vulture was thwarted, the alien tech was either blown up or back in Avengers custody, and Liz’s life was destroyed. Yay!
Michelle isn’t just a sardonic, sassy delight, she’s also “MJ”, Peter’s love interest from the comic books. This was a fun development. I like Zendaya.
Because the movie needed a solid happy ending, a man literally named Happy showed up in a school bathroom to thank Peter for saving the day, and to take him to meet Tony.
Peter turned him down! He wants to stay low-key and be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man for a while. He has growwwwwwwwn, you guys! In a funny moment, he guessed that it had all been a test all along, and Tony was like, “yeah, obvs,” but then Pepper came out looking for him, and Tony decided to announce their engagement instead.
The after credits scene was basically Vulture being all, “I don’t care what Spider-Man says, we ARE SO best friends forever, and I’m gonna prove it by painting a picture of us on the beach, and also not ever telling anyone his secret identity.” Which was cool.
Then we got a clip of Captain America filming the videos we saw throughout the movie. He talked about patience, and being disappointed after waiting so long for something that was a let-down. It was trolling of the highest order, and I LOVED IT.
And that was that! Spider-Man is in the MCU where he belongs, and Tom Holland was a great blend of adorable/ awkward/ wise-cracking/ eager/ heroic and so cuuuuuuuuute. I just want to fold him up and carry him around in my back pocket, he’s such a cute little guy.
What did you guys think??? Who was your fav Spider-Man? Did you like this version, or are you burnt-out on Peter Parker? More importantly – do you want Peter and Tony to hug? Why / WHY NOT, ARE YOU CRAZY???
- The fact that Peter’s origin story was glossed over was so damn refreshing. The MCU knows that WE know how Peter became Spider-Man, and they’re respecting us enough to just dive right in to the meat of the story.
- I want Martin Starr and Hannibal Buress to return for all MCU sequels. ALL OF THEM. Imagine Coach and Mr. Harrington palling around with Bucky? Or Thor? Or catching Captain Marvel up on everything she’s missed? I want a Coach and Mr. Harrington spin-off tv show, and I want it POSTHASTE.
- Those Captain America videos. “So your body’s changing. Believe me, I know how that feels.”
- Miles Morales exists in this universe!!! Speaking of, Donald Glover telling Spider-Man, “you need to get better at this part of the job,” was low-key my favourite part of this movie. I sincerely hope his character recurs.
- While packing, Happy mentions a “prototype for Cap’s new shield’. Do you know what this means????? Tony and Cap haven’t spoken in two years, but he’s still working on a shield for him, which means he still LOOOOOOOOOOVES him! I need this reunion, you guys. I need it so bad.
- Shout-out to the moment when Coach praised Peter in gym class and he was reminded to pretend to look weak. The details in this movie are high-five worthy.
- Bechdale Test: a debatable fail, depending on whether or not you think Betty being named in the credits counts, or if you think a game of “marry, eff, kill” is talking about a man.
- Being a teen is very different now. Why is no one wearing flannel?
OKAY BYE THANKS FOR COMING DRIVE SAFE!