Homecoming, a most apt name to describe Peter Parkers arrival- finally- to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After his surprise appearance in last years Civil War, Tom Holland is the latest to don the red and blue, but unlike McGuire and Garfield, Holland’s Spidey stands alongside the Avengers, so where does Spider-man fit into a world where he isn’t the only hero? Pretty well as it turns out.
First off, we don’t have to see Uncle Ben die for the umpteenth time while lecturing about responsibility, safe to say we are collectively familiar with Spider-mans origin. (Although it’s felt we have to see Martha (WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?!) Wayne’s pearls scatter all over the pavement every time they retell Batman’s origin). Still the more things change, as Aunt May is still Peters legal guardian although in this version Holland’s Peter just calls her ‘’May’’ and here she’s portrayed by Marisa Tomei as a younger and hipper Aunt (well she tries to be hip to be ‘’down’’ with Peters generation and its endearing) and her and Peter aren’t living out of cardboard boxes with May being in constant poor health.
As usual Peter attends Midtown High alongside his best friend Ned (played by Jacob Batalon) who shortly discovers Peter’s secret identity and becomes his confidant and ‘’guy in the chair’ and all around best guy. While Peter has Ned in his corner, he feels under utilized, that he should be teaming up with Iron Man to fight crime and not just street level stuff, and he gets his wish when he uncovers a ring of high tech arms dealers, led by Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture.
Keaton’s Vulture is menacing, in every encounter with Spider-man, he owns and he has the ambition, the means and the motive to make it big, scavenging alien and advanced tech from previous Marvel movies and selling them, which makes for some great Easter eggs for the eagle( or rather Vulture) eyed viewer. Speaking of tech, Iron Man gave Peter his Spider suit back in Civil War and only now are we seeing al of its capabilities. It includes a mini recon drone that becomes his Spider emblem, a virtual heads up display, his own personal AI whom he names Karen (she even gives Peter relationship advice) and a baller ‘’enhanced interrogation mode’’ which features Spider-Man doing his best Batman voice impression, and on the debate of organic webs (a la the McGuire Spidey) versus mechanical web shooters, the web shooters are the clear winner with everything from web grenades to taser webs.
Peter’s supporting cast are good fun, we mentioned Ned and May, but there’s also Laura Harrier who plays Liz, Midtown Highs resident Class A queen of the scene and Peters crush, and SPOILER ALERT Toomes daughter (which leads to some very interesting exchange when Keaton gives Peter the ‘’dad talk’’). Peters rival Flash (a-a, he’s a miracle!) is remained as a smug trust fund rich kid played by Tony Revolori. But perhaps the films breakout star is Zendaya as Peter’s classmate Michelle Jones; she’s snarky, quiet, insightful, a little pretentious but she know it and owns it and we love her for it.
After a trilogy with Toby McGuire that yielded critical acclaim, two outing with Andrew Garfield with mixed reception, Tom Holland had some big onesies to fill and he does so, finding a balance between the above mentioned all the while creating his own identity, and I say we’re eagerly waiting to see Holland stand along side Earths Mightiest Heroes come around Infinity War.
P.S. Stan Lee’s cameo character? Turns out his name is Gary.