The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Spider-Man: Homecoming

| April 22, 2019

For better or worse, a generation is now growing up with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whatever that says about the direction of Western Civilization will be left to history depending largely on who writes it.  Avengers: Endgame brings the hammer down on this series on April 27th, so for the next few weeks I am going to take a look back at the films that have built a massive phenomenon.  Are they any good?  Let’s take a look . . .
Image result for Spiderman Homecoming screenshots

By this point, I have come to approach a new Spider-Man movie with the same dread that I do with Superman and Batman.  Am I going to have to sit through their origin story yet again!?  At this point, I’d bite that damned spider myself!

When Spider-Man: Homecoming came out in the summer of 2017, I wasn’t too hot about yet another Spider-Man reboot.  Here is a character whose story has been told in three iterations and two reboots by three different actors in the short span of 15 years.  Given this, no one would blame you if your knee-jerk reaction was to roll your eyes and exalt “Again with this guy?!”

Fortunately (some would say mercifully) Spiderman: Homecoming moves past the patterned origin story and at least tries to deal with some other aspect of his character.  For this film, it is the fact that Peter Parker is, first, a teenager.  Personally, I’ve always found the contrast between Peter’s adolescence and his superhero obligations to be kind of fun.  Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent can manipulate their off-hours with a much more freedom because they are adults, but Peter’s youth keeps him chained to the world of adults, school and the trauma of being a teenager.

For the post part, Peter battles with the limitations of being “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”  In other words, Tony Stark has sectioned him off from the Avengers galaxy-saving adventures for his own safety.  In the meantime, Peter is also forced into the normal course of being a kid.

For once, I feel as if I’m watching a Spider-Man movie that feels like an original screenplay.  The movie has a lot of balls in the air but it never feels like it has obligations.  Yes, there’s a villain, Adrian Toomes (played with cool menace by Michael Keaton) but he’s not another Space Hitler, rather he’s a bitter guy who was screwed over by Stark and plans his revenge when a bit of alien tech falls into his hands.  Toomes has a reason to be angry that we actually understand.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a lot of fun because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor is it frivolous; it keeps Peter mostly within the arena of adolescent problems and allows him to make mistakes – this red and blue suit, he finds, has a very steep learning curve.  Unlike the Sam Raimi trilogy, this Peter Parker is allowed to be a kid, and we feel the tug at wanting to be something more but being left behind because he is wet behind the ears.  He’ll get there.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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