No one almost destroys the universe or the planet, or even demolishes a large European city or a sizable chunk of a New York borough, in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.
That’s not to say there’s no significant property damage, but compared to the excesses that have become de rigueur in the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe, Homecoming is a downright low-key affair, entirely appropriately for a hero who’s a high-school sophomore.
Even the villain runs a relatively small-scale operation intentionally under the radar of the high-powered titans who now protect the planet from existential threats. What he’s messing with is something the Avengers would be interested in if it came to their attention, though he might be a little beneath their direct involvement. Is he out of the league of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? That is the question.
Tom Holland, who debuted as the webslinger in Captain America: Civil War, is easily the most winsome big-screen Spider-Man to date — or, rather, the most winsome Peter Parker.
Homecoming doesn’t top Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, pitting Tobey Maguire’s Spidey against Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, as the best Spider-Man movie to date, and one of the best comic-book movies of all time.
But Raimi’s trilogy, whatever else it did, wasn’t very interested in fleshing out the title character in either of his dual identities. Maguire’s Peter Parker was basically a stand-in for Spider-Man fans, down to the gag in Spider-Man 2 where he learns to his chagrin that Aunt May has sold his comic-book collection without telling him. (The horror!)
The rebooted Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 movies, directed by Marc Webb, weren’t as good as Raimi’s films, but the character played by Andrew Garfield was more interesting than the one played by Maguire. If Garfield’s Peter Parker had an oddly stalkerish side, the second film in particular offered the best big-screen realization to date of Spider-Man’s masked public persona and the heroic role-playing it involves.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.