Spider-Man: Homecoming may not be the best movie in the franchise (since my favourite Spidey villain is Doc Ock, I have a soft spot for Spider-Man 2) and may not even be the best superhero movie of the summer (Wonder Woman is undeniably great). But the fact that those were the conversations the assholes were having after we saw Spider-Man: Homecoming last night shows that Homecoming is a great movie in its own right.
Most importantly, Homecoming GETS Spider-Man. This is a movie that is fan service from start to finish. The Marvel Cinematic Universe features prominently in the story as the events in the Avengers and Civil War are built on (and Iron Man plays a pretty big role). There are also a ton of familiar names for fans to find, from Ned Leeds to Flash Thompson to Mac Gargan, and one or two more that I’ll let you discover for yourself.
Even better, the story calls back to several classic comic moments, including this one from Amazing Spider-Man #33 (1966), which is a defining moment for Spidey:
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Spider-Man finds a way to succeed even when it seems there’s no chance, and the final battle in Homecoming is a great display of what I love about Spidey, from start to finish. The conclusion of that battle especially reminded me of the first Spidey comic I ever read, and really, every Spidey comic since. Spider-Man’s desire to do the right thing is what makes him my favourite and I was extremely happy to see that made a focus of the film (“with great power comes great responsibility” is never actually said, but it’s the movie’s underlying theme and that’s a far better approach than giving us another depiction of Uncle Ben’s death).
Fittingly for Spider-Man, the hero who can’t stop saying corny one-liners as he fights the bad guys, this may also be the funniest superhero movie ever made. It captures the light-hearted, good-natured awkwardness of Peter Parker and the awkwardness of high school in general. There are a lot of laughs from start to finish, and like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy before it, Homecoming always finds a way to entertain the audience in between the action (often at our hero’s expense, as it should be with Spidey).
(SPOILER: sometimes the humour even comes at the audience’s expense, as you will find out if you stick around to the very end.)
Spider-Man: Homecoming met my high expectations, and then some. This is how you make a great superhero movie, by staying true to the character, and when that character is your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, you’re in for a treat.