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Katherine is the Managing Editor at The Hudsucker. She has been working in libraries for the past 10 years and holds a B.A. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. In her free time, the Seattleite enjoys writing fiction, going to brunch, taking long walks with her roommate, and playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends. Katherine is a huge fan of the Seattle Mariners and has probably seen every Marvel movie at least five times. She loves classic rock and can quote even the most obscure lines from The Simpsons. Follow Katherine on Twitter: @thethingiskat.

Movie Review: There’s a Lot To ‘Larb’ About ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

While Spider-Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans were eagerly anticipating the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, many casual moviegoers viewed it with skepticism. The abundance of superhero movies that come out every year have lead to some inevitable fatigue in regards to the genre, and the third incarnation of Spider-Man in 15 years wasn’t doing anything to help that. For those who gave it a chance, though, it ended up being arguably the best Spider-Man movie to date. The jokes were fresh, the high school setting felt believable, and Tom Holland’s expert portrayal of Peter Parker carried the movie. Even if you’re not normally a Spider-Man fan, there are a lot of reasons why Homecoming is worth a watch.

Peter Parker

While Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were definitely worthy Peter Parkers, Tom Holland really hits the role out of the park. He plays Spider-Man with the imperfections and clumsiness that an actual high school student would have if they were trying to be a superhero. He nails the humor and personality of the character without taking it over the top and becoming annoying. And Holland also perfectly channels Peter’s vulnerability, which hasn’t been shown in past Spider-Man movies like it is in Homecoming. In this movie we see Peter falling and failing, and while it’s played for laughs, there’s also a sadness and vulnerability that Holland brings out in those moments. During the final confrontation with the Vulture, when he brings the building down to crush Peter, he’s shown as being scared and crying, not something we typically see from superheroes. While the writing really added layers to the character of Peter Parker, Holland was able to bring out the subtleties of the character and portray a realistic teenage Spider-Man.

Peter’s Friends

One of the strengths about Spider-Man: Homecoming is that it’s a superhero movie with some of the sensibilities of a classic teen movie. From his best friend Ned to his crush Liz and the moody Michelle (or MJ as it’s revealed at the end), Peter’s friends and classmates round out the ensemble film and add interesting elements to the movie. The fresh take on Flash Thompson as a spoiled rich kid played by Tony Revolori, who is constantly trying to catch Peter in a lie about his connection to the Avengers, is another highlight of the teenage characters. They are played by a very diverse group of actors, which adds realism to the setting since Peter goes to school in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in America. As Peter’s best friend and “guy in a chair”, Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, features most prominently, and he even gets a brief moment to play hero. Batalon and Holland have a great rapport, and their friendship and interactions are honest and some of the best parts of the movie. While Liz and Michelle are intriguing, they weren’t given much to do in the film, although Zendaya’s Michelle/MJ is bound to feature prominently in Spider-Man movies going forward.

The Vulture

Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Michael Keaton’s Vulture is definitely the highlight of the movie, and one of Marvel’s best villains to date. Keaton’s portrayal of Adrian Toomes ranges from incredibly sympathetic to absolutely terrifying. Toomes is a bad guy who in a lot of ways really isn’t all that bad; his livelihood was taken away by billionaire Tony Stark so he illegally sells and salvages weapons and technology leftover from the Chitauri invasion in The Avengers to provide for his family. But at the same time, he’s also willing to kill his teenage nemesis and anyone else who tries to interfere with his plans. While he and Peter go head to head as their alter-egos, it also turns out that Toomes is the father of Peter’s crush, Liz, and Toomes deduces Peter’s identity as Spider-Man in a very tense car ride on the way to the homecoming dance. Holland and Keaton are absolutely riveting in that scene, which is arguably the best in the entire film, and the tension was palpable throughout. Like all Marvel villains, the Vulture is bested in the end, though he ends up surviving the final battle, thanks to Peter, and while he’s currently imprisoned, hopefully we’ll see Keaton’s Vulture in future Marvel films.

Tony Stark

Anytime Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark the audience is in for a treat, but he’s particularly special as Peter’s mentor of sorts in Homecoming. There are a lot of call backs to the first two Iron Man films and Tony’s tense relationship with his father mirroring the way he interacts with Peter at times. While early in the film it appears that Tony is kind of aloof towards Peter, the scene where Tony lectures him after saving the ferry that Peter nearly destroyed shows how much he actually does care about him and wants him to succeed as Spider-Man. While many people worried that Tony Stark would take over the film, he’s actually not in it much, and the parts he’s in are some of the highlights. There’s also a nice scene with him and Pepper near the end of the movie after Tony invites Peter to join the Avengers, which he turns down, that reminds us of what we loved about Tony in the first place.

The Jokes

Image Credit: Sony Pictures

There were so many great jokes in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s hard to decide exactly where to begin discussing them. Marisa Tomei is given some of the best ones, from the “larb” conversation she has with Peter over dinner to her end of the movie reaction upon discovering that he’s Spider-Man, with an offending expletive cut out just in the nick of time. The teenage characters get some great laughs too, with Ned’s hat and his obsession with being Peter’s “guy in a chair” to Michelle’s drawings of people in misery and her humorous observations. Peter’s AI, Karen, voiced by Jennifer Connelly, has some hilarious moments as she bonds with him and teaches him about his suit. Some of their interactions become hilariously Her-esque, and her encouraging him to use different features of his suit such as “enhanced interrogation protocol” and “instant-kill” mode were some of the funniest moments in the film. Arguably the best recurring joke in the movie, though, is Captain America’s appearances. Steve Rogers appears in costume as Captain America in a number of educational videos shown at Peter’s school, including for P.E. class and detention, which garnered some of the biggest laughs. His post-credits scene where he essentially mocks the audience for staying and waiting for essentially nothing is up there with Iron Man 3‘s Bruce Banner cameo as one of the funniest in the MCU.

While Spider-Man’s exact presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward is a a little unclear, his introductory film was a breath of fresh air for the character and for the MCU. Mixing humor and teen drama with a traditional superhero movie format produced something different and exciting that ended up being one of Marvel’s best. For fans and non-fans alike, Spider-Man: Homecoming is arguably the most enjoyable Spider-Man film and definitely worth watching.

What did you think of Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let us know in the comments!

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One Comment on “Movie Review: There’s a Lot To ‘Larb’ About ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’”

  1. techmicrosoft123 July 22, 2017 at 5:51 am #

    Thank you for sharing.

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