I love Spider-Man.
So, let’s just start off by answering the important question: Did Marvel do it again? In my opinion: yes. If you’re interested in seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming, go see it. It’s a very fun movie that’s worth your time. I personally believe it’s the best incarnation of the character, but I don’t think it’s the best Spider-Man movie. That honor still goes to Spider-Man 2. Allow me to explain. Also, some light spoilers.
Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Peter is still riding high on that experience and he thinks his life is about to be changed forever. He’s going to be an Avenger, which means no more boring high school. That is not the case. Months pass and he still has no word on any Avenger business. This frustrates Peter to the point that he actively tries to stop the Vulture, who is the main bad guy of the movie, to prove himself to Tony Stark that he’s ready for the big leagues. That pretty much is what drives Peter throughout the entire film. It’s simple and made very clear, so we as the audience understand why he does what he does. I just don’t think it’s as interesting as Peter giving up to be Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2.
Think about it. The hero of the movie gives up within the first act. That’s almost the last thing you want your hero to do in the movie, but you understand why. He doesn’t quit because it’s too hard. He stops because being Spider-Man made him miserable and he just wants to be happy. Who can’t understand that? And it just adds to the tragedy of the character. You see him carefree, smiling, and doing well throughout a chunk of the second act, but you know he’s going to be Spider-Man again. And that just hurts. It’s great as an audience member because that’s what we want to see. It’s great for the citizens of New York in the movie because they have their hero back saving lives. It’s not so great for Peter though. He’s sacrificing something he wants because with great power comes great responsibility. Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t lose anything. He doesn’t give anything up. He kind of maybe learns a lesson, but that’s about it.
Another thing is Peter in Spider-Man 2 struggles. You see early on how his life as Spider-Man negatively impacts. He loses his job. The rift between him and Harry continues to grow larger. Mary Jane is mad at him because he’s never reliable. Then his powers begin to fail him. Just so much is piled onto the kid you just want him to catch a break. While in Homecoming the only thing he really struggles with is learning the new suit Tony gave him in Civil War. Yes, he also is rough around the edges when it comes to fighting bad guys, but there’s really no internal struggle for the character. Peter’s arc in Spider-Man 2 is overall just much more interesting and meatier so to speak.
All that said, that doesn’t impact the portrayal character. He’s everything I wanted to see from a live-action version of the character in Homecoming. Tom Holland brings so much energy to the character. He’s smart but naive. He’s awkward. He makes mistakes. He’s funny. He has a good heart. He really is just a kid. At one point in the movie, there’s a sequence where you just see him interacting with New Yorkers such as giving an old lady directions. Perfect. He moves as you would expect Spider-Man to move. The suit is great. Those eyes were an inspired choice. He looks and acts the part. If you’re a fan, there’s really not much to complain about.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a good movie. I do think the creative minds behind the movie and Tom Holland nail the personality of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. They keep him in high-school and actually focus on the high-school stuff. That may disappoint some, but it was the right choice in my opinion. Because of that, it has a different feel than the other movies. The Vulture is one of the best Marvel movie villains. Michael Keaton knocks it out of the park with his performance. In fact, the entire cast is excellent. Specifically Zendaya as Peter’s classmate, Michelle, and Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned. I just believe Peter’s character arc in Spider-Man 2 is much stronger than what we got with Spider-Man: Homecoming. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I do think it makes that movie a stronger one.
(Plus, the action is solid in Homecoming, but nothing comes close the train sequence in Spider-Man 2. To be fair not much does but still.)