Spider-Man: Homecoming Saves The Bodega Cat, Enough Said

  • Superhero
Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in theaters July 7. Marvel

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Peter strips down to his boxers in an alleyway. He gets a deli sandwich from the bodega and knows the cat by name. He ignores the school bully, a DJ who plays the sinful air horn and calls him Penis Parker. He compulsively texts his terribly annoying mentor, Iron Man. He looks out for the little guys in the neighborhood, like when he stops a thief stealing a bike outside a Rainbow store. He swings his way through the backyards of Queens like Tarzan and cries when he gets stuck under a pile of rubble. He takes the subway. He plays with Legos. That pretty much sums up Tom Holland’s ideal take on the 15-year old character.

Spider-Man: Homecoming could not have been packed with any more great moments.  It wouldn’t have felt the same if Peter hadn’t been introduced first in Captain America: Civil War, though. His test run with the Avengers allows the movie to begin in a way we’ve never seen before. Michael Keaton’s Vulture kicks things off by letting us know he’s pissed at Tony Stark, and to get back at the big corporate asshole, he’s going to repurpose all the tech from past Avengers disasters. This timeline tie-in with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe serves as the film’s excuse not to address Peter’s origins. We get no real mention of Uncle Ben and we have yet to find out how Peter actually gets his powers, off the bat making the film stand out from the previous five.  

But there was one aspect of Peter’s origins that was missing, especially if you are a fan of the past: distress. The darker nature and hard-hitting traumatic moments (please never as dark as Spider-Man 3 … ever again) of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s runs as the webslinger were absent. For better or worse, the lighter overall mood lets the movie glide at an expert pace and take on the ‘Disney-fied’ feel of the rest of Marvel’s movie lineup. But at the same time, the lack of opportunity to identify with Peter’s emotional experiences and backstory made the film feel a little bit empty when it comes to the Spidey we all know and love.

Disney, of course, was prepared for this. That’s why this film should really be classified as the franchise’s first teen comedy. That’s exactly what it was. While the action scenes were exciting and a whole popcorn could be eaten during the Washington Monument scene alone, Tony Stark saving the day was the only time the fight scenes actually felt big and epic. This is especially evident in Peter’s first matchup with the Vulture, where he ends up in the East River and later during the incident on the Staten Island Ferry. The lack of bombastic fight scenes was not Spidey’s fault,  though, it’s the consequence of putting a novice hero in an Avengers universe.

The teen focus also made way for a supporting cast that was almost so good, they felt underserved, especially considering we know very little about them except for the fact they are funny. This goes for the supporting villains too, who actually just proved useless. Donald Glover’s role could be eliminated and nobody would notice… except for the fact it’s Donald Glover. Same goes for Zendaya’s Michelle, who gave us an interesting take on the ‘weird girl’ at school. Though it is worth noting Marvel does have something in mind for both of these characters down the line. The long game is clear.

The Vulture’s arc was where things took a personal turn for Peter, and Michael Keaton’s best scenes were saved for the plainclothes side of his character. The down-to-earth, relatable portrayal was actually quite terrifying, especially if you put yourself in a high schooler’s shoes. The final battle took itself all the way to another big New York location, Coney Island. The end result isn’t only one less big bad in New York, Peter’s back on Tony Stark’s good side too.

So, what’s next? That’s really where the film excels. Homecoming isn’t only a nod to a high school dance, it marks the character’s return to Marvel. And if we are grading the film on the platform it created for the future of the franchise, Tom Holland gets an A+. The kid is clearly going to Hugh Jackman the shit out of this role, and if all of this happened during sophomore year, the prospect of continuing this journey with him is very exciting.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming Saves The Bodega Cat, Enough Said
Tom Holland is the Queens hero we always needed.
  • Hilarious from start to finish
  • Spider-Man's place in MCU solidified
  • Underserved supporting characters
  • Tony Stark is an asshole
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