Spider-Man: Homecoming recently swung its way onto our screens and while there have been many, many versions of the familiar tale, this was by far the best.
Tom Holland as Peter Parker was perfect. He brought awkwardness to the role, a lovable, charismatic young superhero who is smart, caring and attentive to the needs and pains of those around him. Not only did he bring the character to life, but Tom Holland himself is an incredible actor and person. He made Peter Parker the fumbling yet trusty the character we’ve always wanted.
He’s the underdog, the one usually picked on or shunned and for that reason, I related to him a lot more, as I do with Steve Rogers. Both of them come from humble backgrounds where they were lucky to find loving friends, i.e., Ned and Bucky, thrust into unknown worlds with super powers that suddenly overwhelm them, yet, they can finally help the little guy. One from Queens, the other from Brooklyn, two unknowable people amongst a sea of people, overlooked, until the world finally started seeing them as human beings.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens up with a team of workers who clear up after the Avengers until they are shut down by government officials who take over and put them out of work. It is then that the team decide to band together and decide that they won’t be pushed around – a lot of them have families and need money to sustain their ways of life – and steal weaponry left behind by alien attacks and so on, to build up their own underground suits, guns and bombs.
Skip to years later, we find Peter recording his first mission with the Avengers which was the showdown with Steve during Civil War. All seems to be picking up for Peter, he’s helping the people he wanted to, he’s part of a team but then reality comes knocking on his door in the form of Happy and Peter finds himself back at school. Here, he battles with the troubles of teen-hood, classes, exams, friends and crushes.
The most people are stressing over are their exams, homecoming and competitions, but Peter knows that there is more to worry about, there are worse things to witness and lose. He tries and tries to push himself, to showcase his abilities for Tony and Happy but they, of course, want him to be an ordinary teenager. He deserves to have the normal bringing up of a young person without worrying about everyone else.
It’s what happened to Tony. It’s what happened to Steve.
But Peter doesn’t yet understand this. He thinks Tony is treating him like a child. Tony only wants to look out for him, he didn’t exactly have the best father and he wants Peter to be better than him, to be more. But Peter, innocent, naïve Peter, looks up to Tony and how can you be better than Iron Man?
And then one of Peter’s missions goes wrong and a lot of people could’ve been hurt and Tony comes to help him. It also happens that Peter has been tailing the men taking the weapons, a man named Vulture and his rag tag team, but his quest to stop them goes terribly wrong and Tony takes his suit away. In a heart-breaking scene, Peter is forced to give up the suit, not because Tony is being particularly harsh, but because he wants Peter to be safe.
Peter of course, still lunges into dark waters and saves the day in the end. Liz, a smart and down to earth girl in Peter’s classes, is everything Peter wishes he could have, or at least get to know. She’s confident and caring and academic, and while he shares those qualities, his confidence is often pegged down by his bully, Flash. What was great about this fresh new cast was the diversity among them – Flash, Liz, Ned, Michelle (who was literally amazing), Aaron and The Shocker. And each of them brought their own stance to known characters.
Flash, sure was a bully, but he wasn’t an evil guy. Liz wasn’t your typical popular person. Ned was more than just a ‘side kick’, he was a best friend and a brother to Peter. Michelle was strange and witty and intelligent and protests in the name of the little guy. Aaron, who was one of the bad guys, turned good and gave Peter intel on the whereabouts of the bombs. The film showed that each character had different sides, as all people do. They all have an input into Peter’s life – Ned is Peter’s safe place, a friend who knows him for being him, rather than just the superhero. Liz sees him as more than the loser Flash paints him as, Michelle notices the small things – the strains on Peter’s mind, the way he runs off and jumps to push himself into something, she also grounds him, stops him from getting ahead of himself.
And then, when Peter finally finds out who the Vulture really is, it was the shock of the film. Or at least, one of them. But that reveal wasn’t the one that had me clutching my heart. No, no.
It was one of Michelle’s last lines.
“My friends call me M. J.”
God, I loved this film.