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Review - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Got off work with just enough time to squeeze in a screening of Spider-Man: Homecoming before hitting the Japan Cuts film festival tomorrow—or later today, I suppose.

And what a homecoming it is! Marvel’s first in-house adaptation of the Spidey mythos takes the character back to his roots—way, way back, drawing inspiration from his earliest adventures. Our teenage protagonist struggles to impress the more seasoned members of the superhero community (like when he tried to join the Fantastic Four back in Amazing Spider-Man #1), fights low-tier thugs like Vulture and the Tinkerer (who both debuted in the series’ second issue), routinely makes rookie mistakes that land him in even deeper trouble (too many examples from the Lee/Ditko era to list), and gradually learns to use his gifts more responsibly (as opposed to, say, using them to show up the Human Torch at his own party out of jealousy and spite—seriously, that was a jerk move, Pete).

Obviously, this is a movie built predominantly on fan service, catering to both devotees of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the very premise of a villainous scavenger invites callbacks to almost every one of the studio’s previous efforts) and aficionados of the most niche and obscure comic book properties (finally, Damage Control has made it to the big screen; now, how long until the spinoff?). And you know what? As a certified True Believer, I’m absolutely fine with that. I could dissect the story further—discuss how much I adore Michael Keaton’s blue collar baddie, or extol the brilliance of Tom Holland’s performance, which emphasizes Spider-Man’s youth to both comedic and chillingly dramatic effect—but at the end of the day, I’m just another easily-satisfied nerd, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Excelsior!

[Originally written July 15, 2017.]

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