Countdown: El Comercio presents a series of special articles about the upcoming premiere of “Spiderman: No Way Home” (“Spider-Man: No Way Home”), the most anticipated movie of 2021, starring Tom Holland, zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Benedict Cumberbatch; etc. From Monday December 6 to Wednesday 15, we publish reviews of every movie that the hero has starred in the cinema. On this occasion, it is time to see the first movie of the arachnid in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was achieved after a negotiation between two giants.
Until 2017, it was the best Spiderman movie made since “Spiderman 2” (2004). With “Spiderman: Homecoming” (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), director Jon Watts takes the reins of a co-production never seen before: Sony Pictures and Disney welcome Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the bad experiences from the previous ‘reboot’. The third time the charm? This version of the character first appeared in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016).
Previously in “Civil War,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) recruits rookie hero Peter Parker / Spiderman (Tom Holland) to capture Steve Rogers, but the plan fails. In “Spiderman: Homecoming” Peter, in his new suit, does everything possible to prove to Stark that he is a worthy hero to join the Avengers. When he tries to stop the dangerous Vulture (Michael Keaton), he discovers that it is one thing to want to be a hero and quite another to be one.
A school comedy
Tom Holland’s character represents a balance between a studious boy and a confident Spiderman, without this meaning that both are so different from each other. Peter has only been a hero for a short time, he makes mistakes because he’s growing up. He grows up in a world of superheroes, where Iron-Man is his role model. Peter Parker is solid as a character and has moments where you can clearly see how his heroism works, as he sacrifices his own happiness to help others. What you lose in the process doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s death, but rather the loss of experiences: whether it’s not spending time with the girl you’re in love with or missing a school competition.
In Peter Parker we find something not seen until now in the MCU films, the masked hero who helps people on a day-to-day basis. Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, and others have public identities. With the entrance of Peter, the classic is integrated into the modern. In this new ‘reboot’, Peter has the support of Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), the typical great high school friend who has your back when you need him. There is also MJ (Zendaya), who appears very little and is comic relief, but in the end it is revealed why she is always around Peter Parker: she has feelings for the teenager.
The decision to keep MJ in the margins, not to give him a weighty role, is fitting for the film. Not all good supporting characters need constant exposure, even less when their relationship with the protagonist is just in its infancy.. Something similar occurs with the character of Liz Toomes (Laura Harrier), Peter’s classmate and love interest; which contrasts with the role of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in the saga “The Amazing Spiderman”, whose character development was unsatisfactory.
“Homecoming” has to be one of the older Spiderman movies because of how it shows causes and consequences in an organic way. It also presents coincidences, it forces a little the meeting of two plots (that of the Vulture with that of Liz), but the result is so satisfactory that it does not alter the final product. It is also a film that appears to be longer than it actually is; I say it in a good way, this because of the narrative density: many things happen, at all times, try to show cutting-edge technology (almost always with humorous reasons), character development or clues for the future of the plot.
Michael Keaton’s Vulture is an undaunted character, with clear objectives. He is not in the tradition of Spider-Man villains who are victims of circumstance, he is a thief who watches over himself and his colleagues. Keaton portrays him with a pragmatism to be admired, even though his villainy is clear. He is the best antagonist of “Spiderman” in the cinema since Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. The clash of his will with Peter’s brings the film to life.
“Spiderman: Homecoming” has two main plots: on the one hand Peter tries to lead a normal school life at school and, on the other hand, he strives to be a hero. When both lines cross, there are problems because he does not yet have the tools to handle both sides of his life. And when the Vulture discovers Peter’s identity, when he threatens him and his loved ones, the teenage hero has to choose: sacrifice the stability of his personal life or face danger. Choose the latter, as Spiderman, be it Holland, Garfield or Maguire, finds the strength to stand up when life hits him.
I insist that the keyword in “Spiderman: Homecoming” is balance. As the origin of the hero had already been explored in previous films, this time we do not know how the spider bites Peter, or how Uncle Ben dies. What’s more, the hero’s father figure is Tony Stark. A Peter who does not languish for the past, but lives the present as best he can and that means trying new things: Spider-Man does not always have tall buildings nearby, he has to take the subway and even run to stop a catastrophe.
Bad things in the movie? The excess of jokes about the beauty of May Parker (Marisa Tomei), Peter’s aunt who acts more like a best friend. Repeating the joke is part of the Marvel Studios formula, but three towns passed here. Music and photography are utilitarian, but fall short of the brilliance of the Raimi era.
But in general, this is a very good movie that focuses on the fight between hero and villain, where the other characters and plots are satellites. It is the film that offers the viewer something more, something that, hopefully, is repeated in “Spiderman: No Way Home”, which could be at the same time the climax of the Tom Holland stage and the last 20 years of Spider-Man in cinema.
4 stars out of 5
- “Spiderman: Homecoming” is available on Netflix.
- “Spiderman: No Way Home” hits theaters in Latin America on December 15 in preview, the 16 in regular premiere.
Read all our reviews of the saga
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The Road to “Spiderman: No Way Home”: Why was “Homecoming” the first major movie in the series in 13 years?