The very beginning of this movie sets everything up nicely. We are immediately introduced to our villain, Adrian Toomes, and his motivation within the first ten minutes.
I have to say, it's great to get a villain with this relatable an end goal, and the actual execution was a perfect and natural circumstance I could totally believe would happen after an alien invasion that destroys half a city. Seriously, it gives us insight into what goes on after all these battles are done and how it affects every day people. Genius.
Immediately after, we're treated to a fan film by Peter Parker throughout his trip to Germany during Civil War. I thoroughly enjoyed these scenes as it really drives home that "outside looking in" feeling a fledgling super hero like Peter would feel. After all is said and done the film beautifully returns to a normal camera view right to the end of the action, and Peter's motivations are immediately laid before us. Tony Stark says he'll give Peter a call when he's needed again, and of course, months later he's still reporting to Happy Hogan after saving people from Grand Theft Bicycle and locking themselves out of their own cars (excellent Stan Lee cameo here). I loved that we aren't instantly treated to Spider-Man, and for a good chunk of time we follow Peter through his school day. He's constantly waiting for the bell to ring, like the audience is waiting for Spider-Man, and it really makes him relatable, and they finally nailed how high school actually is.
Peter's first moments as Spider-Man in this film made me giddy with excitement, I nearly fell out of my seat when he first started moving on screen. Seriously, the movement of Spider-Man is spot on in this film, and although it's not anything we haven't seen before, having it in a movie that's actually good at what it's trying to do is special.
The character development is so great in this film, particularly with Spider-Man, however not so with some other characters. Tony Stark's turn around in support of Peter towards the end of the movie is pretty jarring, and although it was warranted considering all that Peter did by himself, it felt like too quick a judgement on the part of this more cautious Stark. I will say I was glad Iron Man did not overstay his welcome, he was very seldom seen in this film, and when he was it was needed for progression. I did really like his lines though ("Heyyy, Spider-Man...").
I feel like I'm rambling...
Let me wrap this up, web pun intended.
- Loved the inclusion of Karen as a humor element, very funny.
- I feel the love interest of Liz Allen wasn't contrived, but it didn't feel as important as Mary Jane or Gwen in the earlier films, but perhaps that was because she was basically thrown away at the end.
- I'm excited to see a Spider-Man that knows how to use his suit.
- Peter hides his old Spider-stuff underneath a row of lockers only he can lift. That's fantastic!
- The Vulture is terrifying and relatable, such a great villain and a great version of him!
- The inclusion of the Shocker and the Tinkerer was so natural, having them be a part of Vulture's gang! I didn't even know the one guy was the Tinkerer, but it was great that he was named so in the credits! I also instantly knew the Mac Gargan reference was a set up for the future, loved that!
- The action scenes in this movie actually hold weight and value. Very very little of that lame bathos they always use in Marvel movies, even when it's so easy to do with Spider-Man.
- This story just flows. Every scene is a natural progression of the last, excellent writing.
- Spider-Man without buildings? Totally shown. Poor kid has to run! Web line too long? He faceplants into a roof. So many Spidey questions answered.
- Cheeky super hero intimidation joke, using the altered deep voice and everything then totally making fun of it twice.
- Spidey is fifteen and he drives a car at one point. Kid hasn't learned to drive, such a great moment! Though why does he need the car? He can web swing...
- Vulture reveal was spectacular. 'Nuff said.
- MJ reveal was a surprise for me, but I don't care because I see it as more of a reference than a "THIS IS MARY JANE, GUYS!" moment. She's her own character who may or may not fill that role. There are plenty of other girlfriend characters for Spidey to chase after.
- Iron Spider was a yes.
- Spider-Man lifting rubble scene. Everyone loves this from the comics (he even had the water dripping down), and it was perfect here. I could feel the helplessness Peter felt, and it was so powerful, as was the half and half face bit. Spider-Man's just a kid, he gets scared, but his moral strength and perseverance make him more of a man than anyone else.
Is it better than the original trilogy? I honestly couldn't say. Trying to compare the two is a losing battle. Spider-Man from 2001 is a classic, no doubt, but it hasn't aged too well. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an all around fantastic movie, but it felt too much to me like just another Marvel movie than a Spider-Man story.
It's still a great Spider-Man story, but it still feels too rooted in the MCU to be compared to the stand-alone Raimi films. They're both great at what they do and what they are, I think they serve two different purposes and can't really be compared in that sense.
That said, Tom Holland is still my definitive Spider-Man.
Yea, that was long. Like everyone else said, go watch this, you won't regret it!