The second Spider-Man film reboot and the sixteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, sees Tom Holland take the lead as a young Peter Parker who begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home to Queens, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). He tries to fall back into his normal daily routine, until the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain.
After making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man – Homecoming allows Tom Holland to show us what his character is all about. It might not be an origin film, as we don’t see how Peter became Spider-Man or anything of the background story that we all know too well, but what we do get is to see what kind of superhero Peter Parker wants to become.
I was a fan of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man films, but Tom Holland definitely fits into the Avengers much better and a fresh reboot of the character welcomes him into the MCU brilliantly. Whilst we have very briefly been introduced to him before, his first solo film allows us to get to know his character much more personally, as it begins with a quick recap of the events of Civil War told from his perspective. Now, it’s time for Peter to face the threats of the world on his own.
Not only is Homecoming a superhero action, but it also has all the feels of a John Hughes high school drama with its sophomore setting and homecoming context. The younger age of Spider-Man than what we have seen before seems much more appropriate, as Peter battles with the stresses of school, the nerves of trying to get a date for the school dance, and the pressures of fitting in with the cool kids, all whilst he’s trying to keep his neighbourhood safe from criminals.
Holland completely embraces the youth of his character which is what makes him so likeable. We can see his insecurities and weaknesses, but we also get to know a true, honest character, one completely stripped down, which is very rare for a superhero. Most of the superheroes we already know either have an unlikeable quality or a side to them that we don’t know anything about. But not Peter. He wears everything on his web-slinging sleeve, making this a real sincere coming-of-age story as well as an action-packed sci-fi.
And that’s what I enjoyed most about this film – getting to see a superhero who wants to be a friendly, neighbourhood superhero rather than taking on things much bigger than him. With the inclusion of Iron Man and the Avengers context in these Spider-Man films, as well, his character is given much more importance. With Stark also developing a more technically advanced suit for him, we might not get to see Peter becoming Spider-Man, but we get to see him experimenting with his new abilities as he comes to grips with his new skills and capabilities, instead.
Hopefully, the next instalment allows more screen time for Zendaya, for Jacob Batalon to get in on some of the action, and for more comedy between Peter and Jon Favreau‘s Happy, as we don’t get to see enough of him since the end of the Iron Man instalments. I also really enjoyed Donald Glover‘s little role and it would be great to see him return in some way, as well as for Marisa Tomei‘s character to be better used, maybe showing us more of an emotional family bond than just showing us that Peter has a super hot Aunt.