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There is no doubt that Spider-Man is one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time. So much so, that Spider-Man Homecoming is the sixth Spider-Man movie since 2002. The origin story has been told with two different actors each with each who films had sequels. Because of so many movies in such a short amount of years, there are a million reasons to have low expectations. Fortunately, Spider-Man: Homecoming manages to rise above them.
Taking place after the events in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker has come home from his first mission with the Avengers, and after that experience he wants nothing more than to than to become one. Unfortunately, Peter has to return to his boring life and attending high school during the day, until the bell rings so he can become Spider-Man battle crime on the streets of Queens. During his moonlighting adventures, he crosses paths with a villain in a vulture costume (Michael Keaton), who is selling illegal guns to local neighborhood thugs. Peter is also being watched and mentored by Tony Stark, who is still deciding is Peter is ready to become an Avenger.
Spider-Man: Homecoming differs itself from its earlier counterparts with its simplicity. Peter is a 15 –year-old kid who attends a gifted high school, who has had a taste of the good life and wants more. If most 15-year-olds had a chance to fight with the Avengers, that’s all they could focus on. Also, unlike the films, Peter not only looks young he is young. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were both 27 when they shot their first films, and Tom Holland was only 19. He’s a 19-year-old who can easily pass for 15. He is also close enough in age that he can draw back on those young mannerisms perfectly. Although both great actors, Maguire and Garfield had a maturity in their eyes that made Peter Parker a little less youthful than he proclaimed. Tom Holland’s youth brings a freshness and vitality that the role was missing.
Michael Keaton is a great villain: he’s also a villain who has a motive that is not hell bent on taking over the world, which is refreshing. Vulture is introduced in the beginning of the film, his evil motives are understood. The audience can see exactly why he is doing what he is doing, and if given the circumstance would probably make the same choice themselves. Spider-Man must simply stop him from preventing harm to other individuals. And the villain is elevated by a great performance from Keaton.
The biggest flaws with this movie come namely from the supporting characters, namely Zendaya who plays Michelle, and Tony Revolori who plays Flash Thompson. When Michelle is on screen, she literally spits out a sarcastic line for laughs and walks away. She’s disposable, but the writers make it so the audience knows that her character will play a huge role in later films. Honestly, she could have been cut out of the movie completely and would not have been missed. In the comics, Flash Thompson is a jock who harasses Peter Parker throughout high school. Here he is a rich jerk, who makes fun of Peter every now and again. It isn’t funny, and again not necessary.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is wildly entertaining, carried by two good performances from incredibly charismatic leads and despite being firmly implanted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it manages to avoid “this week in the life of the Avengers…” that we have become accustomed to seeing.