Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.
And he finds himself facing impossible odds when the remnants of the Battle of New York from “The Avengers” begin to affect his city in unusual ways. After he and his construction team are taken off the job and put out of work, Adrian Toomes and his group illegally seize the alien technology and begin to use it for their advantage. Soon he and his former crew create a team of criminals stealing money across the city. With the persona of “The Vulture,” Adrian is surprised when Spider-Man begins interfering in his operations. Meanwhile, Peter struggles to track the group of criminals, all the while evading his Aunt May, and trying his hardest to win the heart of his high school crush Liz Allen.
“Spider-Man Homecoming” tackles the personal aspects of Peter Parker’s life, where he struggles on a daily basis to find his place in the world, overcoming insecurities and doubts about his future. All the while he spends enormous amount of time trying to carve out his own niche as a superhero. Watts implements the entire cast beautifully, with Tom Holland providing a stellar performance as Peter, conveying genuine insecurity and confusion about his life from the moment we meet him. There are also great turns by the wide supporting cast including Jacob Batalon, Zendaya (a genuine scene stealer), and Marisa Tomei as Peter’s moral center, Aunt May. Michael Keaton is also the best villain from the MCU so far, presenting a menacing and devious version of the Vulture.
He’s the reflection of Tony Stark, presenting the same amount of cunning and relentlessness, but rationalizes his action more radically making him a villain Peter has to battle with a genuine fear for his life. “Homecoming” is a Spider-Man that we’ve never seen in live action form; the writers focus more on the self doubting young man who has to muster up every bit of courage to overcome to battle The Vulture. Behind every bit of sarcasm and banter, there’s also the Peter Parker who isn’t sure about himself, and has to figure out if Peter makes Spider-Man, or if Spider-Man makes Peter. Peter Parker wants to be a titan like Iron Man or Thor, but deep down he is and will always be a regular Joe who takes to the Brooklyn streets to handle muggers and petty bike thieves.
Even though the writers never mention it, either, Peter is someone still healing from losing his uncle, and there are very interesting undertones about how the loss took a lot of Peter’s own momentum. “Homecoming” is a big, fantastic step in the right direction for this character. There’s a lot of indication that Marvel is finally embedding Spider-Man in to the cinematic universe to allow audiences a glimpse at this vast universe through the eyes of someone younger fans can connect with and relate to. It’s not just a great Spider-Man movie, but a wonderful teen drama.