(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)
There’s no doubt in my mind that Homecoming isn’t the best Spider-Man movie. Between Tobey Maguire’s old man, dated, but still very entertaining trilogy, and Andrew Garfield’s messy failed series that was shockingly cancelled, no movie has really captured being Spider-Man like Homecoming does. This was one of my favourite MCU movies the first time I saw it, and though my opinion has changed a lot during this marathon, it still remains high on the list.
The movie has such a strong confident opening. Flash back to several years in the past during the events of The Avengers, which sparks the villain’s motivation to do what he does, it ties in so nicely. It then immediately to a homemade video shot by Peter himself on his phone during the Civil War airport scene, when the web-slinger was first introduced into the MCU. This movie knows it’s great, and it’s totally just flexing scene after scene.
Homecoming is the first time the Marvel properly succeeded in their themed movies. Winter Soldier was never really that much of an espionage movie, Ant-Man wasn’t really a heist movie, but Homecoming is a coming-of-age, John Hughes type movie more than anything. The studio managed to make a franchise people had gotten bored with so unique, refreshing, and practically re-built it from the ground up (the box-office take for every Spider-Man movie had decreased ever since the original in 2002, and it was barely even worth making the movies by the time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came around)
They’ve done away with the whole origin story. We know it, we don’t need to see it again. They literally cast a kid to play Peter this time. Spidey’ s suit may be the greatest difference between this series and the others. “Kill mode” has to make a return in future Spider-Man movies, and interrogation mode. The suit is basically an Iron Man suit that slings webs. The costume is literally a character itself.
Casting Marissa Tomey as Aunt May is genius, though it may be because the studio wants to escape the trap Spider-Man had fallen in to during The Amazing Spider-Man movies (also, totally different franchise, but props to Snyder for doing that first with Alfred in Batman v Superman.) Who really wants to see Aunt May depressed, widowed, disappointed in Peter again, and so old she’s on the verge of death?
However, it is amazing how much Sam Raimi did for Spider-Man. There’s so much iconography from his movies that is repeatedly copied throughout this movie, such as the American flag and Spider-Man in the Jesus Christ stance, which appears when he is trying to hold the ferry together. Strangely, there are also some bizarre similarities to the Amazing Spider-Man series, such as the elevator scene and Spidey keeping a plane from crashing 🤷♂️
The number one reason why I think this movie is great is because of Michael Keaton, who give the greatest performance out of any villain in the entire MCU. On paper, he’s just another villain; he is menacing, instils fear in to Peter, and believes what he is doing is good for his family, but it has never been done with such intensity and real-ness. With any other actor it might have been just another hammy Marvel villain, but Keaton, man. And that reveal, you know the one I’m talking about, is the greatest reveal in the entire MCU. The whole scene in the car is incredible and more intense than any city-burning battle.
It isn’t just Keaton who brings the movie to life. Everyone comes to play, you really get the feel of Robert Downey Jr. being a father figure to peter, almost continuing the bond he had with the Kid in Iron Man 3 with Peter. Tom Holland proves to be a phenomenal actor with amazing range. Chris Evans was used magnificently. Marissa Tomey is electric. Even Hannibal Buress as the teacher who couldn’t give a flying fuck is great (we all had one of those teachers.)
Spider-Man’s canon is so rich and vast, the many film series the character has had barely even scratch the surface. The best reason Marvel cast the young actor, Holland, is so they can (hopefully) crank a ton of movies out the kid. Spider-Man’s got the best villains, and I wanna see every one of them in this franchise.
Random thought: The scene close to the beginning when Peter goes in to the sandwich store reminded me of the scene in The Room when he enters the flower shop. I swear that’s gotta be a reference.