Ever since I heard there wasn’t going to be an Amazing Spider-Man 3, I was dreading the next reboot. Please, I begged, don’t let it be another origin story. Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t an origin story… yet I wonder if it should have been.
In Captain America: Civil War, we get a brief look into Peter Parker’s psyche. Tony Stark (somehow) knows Peter is moonlighting (day-lighting?) as Spider-Man (or was he Spider-Boy?). Peter explains, in so many words, with great power comes great responsibility. Why not just say it? Who cares if it has been done by the original Spider-Man trilogy? It is his mantra. Upon hearing this, Tony gives Peter Parker a new suit and flies him out of the country to go fight professional superheroes.
I thought that was enough until I saw Homecoming. Peter fights crime when he can. He makes his webbing in a drawer in a science lab. When his friend discovers his secret, Peter begs him to be discrete, because of everything that’s happened. Surely we didn’t need to see Uncle Ben die, but that’s it? No flashbacks? No mantra? In this film, Aunt May is a pretty widow who seems to be doing just fine. How long has her husband been dead? Neither of them seems too broken up. We don’t know how Peter got his powers. His main motivation for being a superhero isn’t to save people, but to join the Avengers. This was my biggest gripe with the movie.
Peter Parker’s life has always been plagued with personal problems. This keeps things interesting. Conflict drives story, and Spider-Man’s personal problems always get in the way of fighting crime. Yet Tom Holland’s Spider-Man only wants to be treated like a big boy. He wants to show up the high school bully… and does it. He wants to take the prettiest girl in school to homecoming… and he does it. The movie’s too clean. Sure, he doesn’t get to keep the girl. Sure, the bully will still call him Penis Parker in the sequel. But there’s too little emphasis on the things that make Spider-Man who he is. With no notoriety or money problems, we’re left with the white bread version of the story.
Comparing Homecoming to greatness that is Spider-Man 2 may be unfair, but I will make the comparison nonetheless. In Spider-Man 2, Peter is broke and all by himself. He is not as close with his friend Harry and finds himself penniless. Peter must choose between being Spider-Man and being happy. This is what makes a great movie. This story follows the mantra that the MCU refuses to renew.
It is time for a compliment sandwich, where I will list something good, something bad, and end on something good: Homecoming is without a doubt one of the funniest superhero comedies ever. Unfortunately, it struggles to allow Peter any autonomy (the biggest offender being his AI Karen). However, Spider-Man pulls through when he must lift tons of debris off his body. It is a scene that I would call “pure Spider-Man.”
I will admit that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has its perks. Holland pointed out that Spidey never actually punches anyone in this film, which makes him “kid friendly.” I wonder how many parents appreciated this sentiment after their six-year-olds what “Penis Parker” meant.
For a superhero movie: 8/10
For a Spider-Man movie: 7/10
PS: Did anyone find it strange that Vulture accidentally murdered his henchman? He’s a pretty sympathetic character, yet commits manslaughter with no repercussions.