Spiderman Homecoming Spoiler Free Review
The following contains no major spoilers
I'm honestly not sure that this review is entirely necessary considering the level of hype surrounding this film. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will no doubt be seeing this. Fans of the Spiderman mythos will no doubt be seeing this. People who hate Marvel and boycott it will not. Really that's a shame. Spiderman Homecoming is easily one of the best Spiderman films I've ever seen.
When we first saw Tom Holland playing "Underoos" in Captain America: Civil War the fan reaction was really split. On the one hand it was refreshing to have a teenage hero played by an actual teenager. On the other hand, people railed against him as being too young and immature. That he seemed a caricature of today's youth more than a fully realized character. Well we can safely say that that point of view was a direct result of just not having enough time with the character. Holland does a phenomenal job as a plucky young super hero who gets the chance to be seen as a peer by his idols. He is utterly ecstatic about the opportunity he's presented with and what follows is a well done story about a young man taking on a greater challenge than he is capable of. Unaware of the bigger picture in large part because he mistakes his talent for wisdom.
There are no poorly done characters and seemingly one off comments actually give hints to deeper back story beats. Peter often seems like he's worried about upsetting May because she has a tendency to blow things out of proportion but little phrases about her hardships seem to allude to the wider history we know.
I love that the film doesn't treat the audience like we need to be spoon fed details. We know about his powers, his relationships and the history intrinsic to his character. We are just shown Peter and his world and get to explore it by living it with him since, well, we know all this. We don't have to deal with YET ANOTHER death of Ben Parker. We don't have to be told about him pining over the girl he's always wanted to be with or that he's an unpopular but super intelligent kid. Marvel assumes you know all this so we just get to watch him go with all of those characteristics on show. Just as in Civil War you see aspects of his powers on display without the need for exposition as to what they are.
There are several Easter Egg characters sprinkled throughout and rather than just being one off bits for the fans, they sow the seeds for future plot threads and in a couple of cases even link back to previous characters. More enjoyable than this was the cameos especially those of Robert Downey Jr. He isn't just there for a bit of exposition or humour, he out and out chews through two scenes with the same sort of encompassing character acting that has made his stint as Tony Stark so compelling. We see how the flaws in his own upbringing are being passed down as he attempts to mentor Peter and that internal struggle, while only briefly shown, is played to great effect.
I would be utterly remiss if I didn't also give a shout out to Michael Keaton's Vulture. Not since Loki have we had a character with depth, complexity and development and all of it played very well by a talented actor. Vulture is threatening and compelling as a villain. His motivations, a twisted mirror as to those of the hero and the casting could not be better.
If I had to pick out something I didn't enjoy about the film it would be that it has no overall affect on the wider MCU. Nothing beyond the street level threats or characters affect Spiderman Homecoming and so the sense of size that normally accompanies a Marvel release isn't there in Spiderman Homecoming. Additionally there isn't overly much by way of emotional investment in the characters and I feel like more character focused scenes could have really built that out in what is otherwise a plot driven picture.
That being said we are still treated to strong, well acted characters. A film that does not talk down to its audience. One that uses its Easter Eggs to develop potential future story arcs and most of all modernizes aspects of the Spiderman mythology that simply don't function anymore if you kept to the classic set up. You'll know what I mean when you meet Flash Thompson but more than that things make more sense and are a better representation of the modern day these events take place in. I love that Peter's classmates are a grab bag of ethnicities as you would see in modern day Queens and at no point is that played up. It's funny, charming, full of heart and will legitimately make your stomach drop more than once.
A nearly perfect film, Spiderman Homecoming is an absolute delight and if Sony is smart they will sit quietly and let Marvel print money for them.