Synopsis: Peter Parker navigates high school while looking for adventure as Spidey. A villain, the Vulture, emerges to test his mettle.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters with a new Peter Parker, English actor Tom Holland. Our new Spidey, who is supposed to be fifteen years old, actually gives off a teen vibe with his fresh face and kid limberness. I suspect the non-teen star was subjected to aggressive manscaping throughout the shoot.
The movie catches up with Peter after Tony Stark drafted him for the Avengers’ Civil War. He’s left him with a new high-tech Spidey suit and some laissez-faire monitoring by Stark assistant Happy (Jon Favreau). It’s just as well that Stark isn’t keeping tabs on Peter for a number of reasons… 1) he used Peter as a child soldier, 2) Tony has an obnoxious personality, 3) Stark makes inappropriate sexual remarks about Aunt May to Peter, 4) the allure of his jet set lifestyle is a distraction from Peter’s studies, and 5) the child soldier thing!!
In Homecoming, Peter is bored with his high school options and hungers for Spidey action. After Stark pulled him into the Avengers’ warfare, derailing petty crime in Queens is pretty dull. So Peter texts the disinterested Happy, assuring him that he’s ready to suit up for a Stark assignment. He also bides his time working on science and Lego projects with his best friend, Ned. And he pines for pretty schoolmate, Liz.
Peter clearly suffers from Adolescent Male Restiveness (AMR), typically self-treated by high school boys with vigorous physical activities, attempted hook-ups and some recreational drug use. Our hero’s kinda clumsy with the girls and partying would mess with his Spidey acrobatics. He does expend a lot of energy with his leaping and swinging and crawling across buildings, but Stark has set up Peter with a new level of frustration. Not even living in NYC gives him enough outlets.
Enter a villain, the Vulture (Michael Keaton). Without giving anything away, I will say that this nemesis is more grounded in reality than past villains, with less worldwide ambitions. He’s a regular working class Joe who wants a piece of the pie. He ambles around, sneering and fixing people with a penetrating gaze. He also wears a jacket with what looks like coyote fur trim. This made me dislike him more than his actual agenda.
Just like Peter, we crave plenty of Spidey adventure, and we get our wish when he has to save lives at the Washington Monument and on the Staten Island Ferry amidst lots of Vulture-induced mayhem and destruction.
Alright, so it turns out that Peter Parker does have a lot to tamp down his Adolescent Male Restiveness. But there are a lot more hormones headed down the pike for this teen, so I think he’ll keep Spidey-ing around Queens and wherever else the malefactors of the Marvel Universe take him.
Cut to the Chase: Tom Holland turns on the charm offensive as the new Spider-Man. The action scenes take you along on a virtual drone ride
Comedy Highlight: Ned, Peter Parker’s loyal and ingenuous friend