Spider-Man: Homecoming

(Columbia Pictures / Marvel Studios)

 

Pumped up by his adventures with the Avengers, Peter Parker keeps his neighborhood safe from crime, until Vulture rocks his world.

 

Rated PG-13, for sci-fi violence, some language, and brief suggestive comments.

Genre: Sci-fi Action

Viewer Appeal: Kids of all ages

 

If this was a game of Jeopardy, the answer might look something like, “Toby McGuire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland.” And every good movie buff would know the question is, “Which actors have portrayed Spider-man?” Yes, we've had Spider-man, and the Amazing Spider-man, and now we have the newest movie portraying the adventures of your friendly, neighborhood superhero.

 

We were first introduced to Tom Holland as Spider-man in Captain America: Civil War, when Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) adds the young high-schooler to his team of heroes warring against Captain America (Chris Evans), where he added a fresh innocence to the band of heroes. In a genius of continuity, Spider-man: Homecoming begins with a homemade movie, shot by Peter during the “war” at the airport. His comments and playfulness are perfect for the 14-year old who is being plunged into the best dream of his life.

 

This joyful excitement continues throughout the movie, as Peter tries to show Tony Stark that he's worthy to join the Avengers on another mission, as he daily tracks down petty thieves after school, and then calls Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to leave a voicemail update. In school, Peter endures classes with his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), attends practice for the high school Decathlon (which isn't a sporting event), is mercilessly teased by the school bully, and  tries to get on the radar of Liz (Laura Harrier), on whom he has a crush. All pretty boring for a kid who swings from a web and looks for danger.

 

Until the day when Spider-man happens upon a group of men dressed like the Avengers and robbing an ATM. Thinking he can easily overpower these thugs, Peter runs in and starts cracking jokes and shooting webs. Until the robbers pull out a powerful weapon which not only blows up the ATM, but the deli across the street. Peter now has a mission of his own: find information about the weapons and who is making them.

 

What Peter doesn't know, is that for years Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), has been scavanging/stealing remains of the Chitauri attack, when the Avengers defending New York City from alien attack. He has discovered that they can make powerful weapons, and has been making and selling them on the black market. As part of his operation, Adrian created a Vulture suit he uses to gather the material needed. Peter first encounters the Vulture as he's tracking Adrian's henchmen. When his cell phone goes off, alerting them of his presence, the Vulture swoops in, grabs Spider-man, and drops him in the river. An event that is life-threatening enough for Iron Man to swoop in and save Peter from drowning.

 

Spider-man: Homecoming is full of action, but it's different than other Marvel movies. Peter is a geeky, nerdy 14-year old, who happens to have super strength and a cool suit that shoots webs. He's not adept at fighting, so much of the action is Peter swinging and shooting webs, as well as avoiding bullets and saving his friends from death. It's certainly entertaining, and comic at many points, as Peter learns to use his new suit and the features Tony has built into it. Which is probably one of the funniest scenes in the movie, as Peter is tracking the Vulture's accomplices and learning about “taser webs” and “Interrogation mode.”

 

This movie is also different, in that every character is relate-able. Peter is a snarky kid who wants to do something great with his life, while also trying to fit in with his peers. Toomes/Vulture is a hard-working family man who makes some wrong choices in an effort to support his family. Those choices lead him to becoming a hardened criminal, but one who loves his family. He's not a god or mutant, but a guy with a suit and some powerful weapons. The characters make this movie, and will make audiences want to see the next Spider-man, whenever it comes out.
 

 

Let's Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What is a choice you've made that didn't turn out as you expected?

 

• Tony Stark is a mentor to Peter, albeit a mostly absent one. He is someone Peter wants to impress and who's input he desires. Who is someone you look(ed) to as a mentor? How have they affected your life?

 

• How did Tom Holland compare as Spider-man to Andrew Garfield and Toby McGuire?

 

--JW

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