A Millennial’s Spider-Man


Tom Holland debuts as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Spider-Man.

Marianna Bacallao, Staff Writer

Marvel’s film canon has survived off of the portrayal of superheroes as rich and famous upstarts, fighting wars of cosmic importance while remaining severed from the people they affect. Even in “Civil War”, where accountability to the public drives the story, our heroes still remain separate from the people on the ground.

Their plots are always complicated and the collateral damage is always massive, but there has been a distinct lack of consequences for our heroes, and a lack of depth for our audience.

The plot and characters of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” exist, literally and metaphorically, in the shadow of Avengers Tower. This angle explores what happens to the buildings that tumble and the people whose lives are ruined by the extravagant fight scenes prior movies shrug off.

It gives this Spider-Man a unique sense of world building; living in a world where, not only do superheroes already exist as an accepted part of life, but those superheroes have money, experience and a monopoly on heroism.

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker enters, and by following his perspective, this world Marvel has spent multiple motion pictures creating starts to feel like a real place.

They take time to show Peter’s relationship with the people of the city, and his role within his community. It highlights the fact that, although this world is filled with reality-bending weapons and costumed miracles, the people are still people.

The Vulture is no longer a cackling, evil-for-the-sake-of-evil villain hell-bent on revenge. He’s a family man whose ability to provide for his family is compromised.

His vendetta against Spider-Man isn’t personal, and this allows him to deliver the first “We’re not so different, you and I” speech to actually have some substance behind it.

Flash Thompson, classically portrayed as the hulking bully, doesn’t steal lunch money or give swirlies; he acts like every kid you didn’t get along with in high school; occasional jabs, passive aggressive comments here and there, but nothing so unrealistically violent, something that seems harmless when Peter puts it in perspective.

And the notorious MJ. While the first cinematic Mary Jane was known for the famous Spider-Man Kiss, this MJ will be remembered for her own character. Although she spends the movie taking a backseat on the action, her scenes are definitely memorable, and her role to play in future sequels will undoubtedly be just as fun.

Not all new character iterations can be seen as an improvement, of course, swapping Aunt May out with a newer, younger model has uncomfortable, sexist undertones, especially when the script goes out of its way to remind you that men are attracted to her.

Tony Stark is also there to tug on heart strings and deliver a couple of one-liners, although the movie could have easily survived without him. He shows up almost as a reminder that although he doesn’t plan on making amends to his shady business practices that created the Vulture, he is still a good guy because he gives Peter quasi-helpful advice and makes casual passes at his aunt.    

Being the third Spider-Man reboot, and the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming had some big shadows over its release, but it’s able to shine both on its own, and in comparison to its predecessors.