“With great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben
These are the words spoken by Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben that propelled Peter’s desire to help people, the impetus for a young, intelligent, impressionable kid from Queens, who was suddenly endowed with incredible power, wondering how to be responsible with who he was becoming. But ole’ Uncle Ben could have easily been speaking beyond the pages of a comic book and into the real world by defining the Spiderman movie landscape and history.
Beyond a shadow of doubt, Spiderman is the greatest and most popular Marvel superhero and, in 1996, Marvel comics filed for bankruptcy – precipitating them selling off the movie licensing rights to many of their famous comic characters like the X-Men, Fantastic 4, Daredevil, Hulk and their biggest comic hero Spiderman.
Over the years, Sony Pictures made five Spiderman movies – which started off very strong but ultimately fizzled… great power, great responsibility.
After their last movie, it seemed that Spiderman as a big action film star was either dead or at least irrelevant in the minds and hearts of moviegoers until computer hackers changed the blueprint . Sony Pictures, the subject of the attacks, would eventually find themselves in the same bankrupt position as Marvel, so it choose then to share Spiderman’s movie licensing back with Marvel.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the first film venture from a shared licensing agreement between Marvel and Sony and, as excited as fans were that Spiderman was back in the MCU, there was still some trepidation about what this version of Spidey would look like.
Well Spidey fans, your spider senses can stop tingling because “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a great film! It’s on par with some of the better Marvel movies without truly feeling like one. MCU themes bracket the beginning and end of this film, but sandwiched in-between is a wonderfully told narrative of Peter Parker.
In the past, Sony Pictures provided us with good incarnations of Spiderman, but never have we been privileged to this great of a characterization of Peter Parker and the world to which he inhabits.
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman was incredible, as he was able to capture Peter’s innocence while also exhibiting his courage with and without the suit. Holland was engaging & forceful, drawing you into his beliefs and the world around him.
Inspired by the films by John Hughes, (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Breakfast Club, Weird Science) “Homecoming” saturates itself within the youthful exuberance, adolescent angst and growing pains of teenagers with a modern sensibility towards millennials and cultural diversity, all wrapped up in a superhero movie. “Homecoming” delivers large action set pieces without becoming a slave to them, weaving a beautifully woven story between the of growth of our hero and peace for the villain.
The main villain, portrayed expertly by Michael Keaton, has an adroit motivation for his actions. Keaton provides a warm presence for a bad guy and you feel for his plight.
The looming presence of Ironman/Tony Stark presents the gravitas the picture needs to erase other Spiderman incarnations, and the legitimacy for Spiderman’s entrance into the MCU. Without Uncle Ben in the picture, Peter needs a role model and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) provides the perfect mentor for Peter in a world that is growing fast around him.
Perhaps a quiet stand out star is Jacob Batalon, who plays the best friend of Peter Parker, Ned Leeds. Batalon is funny and grounds the teenage world of Peter, and in the real sense, he embodies the voice of the audience, often acting and saying the things that we would do and say if our best friend was an Avenger.
In the end, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the portrayal of our friendly neighborhood Spiderman that adorns to comic book readers who grew up with a high school Peter Parker, while reaching out to an adolescent audience, who grew up in a computer age, experiencing Spidey for the first time.
We are witnesses to him growing into his power, life and into the MCU where he fits right in with Captain America, Thor, Hulk and the others. Spiderman is the future of the MCU, and I believe that somewhere Uncle Ben is very proud.