MCU Ranked: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Release Date: 2017
Director: Jon Watts
Heroes: Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
Villains: Adrian Toomes/The Vulture (Michael Keaton), Herman Schultz/Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine), Jackson Brice/Shocker (Logan Marshall-Green), Phineas Mason/Tinkerer (Michael Chernus)
Support Cast: ‘Happy’ Hogan (Jon Favreau), Michelle ‘MJ’ Jones (Zendaya), May Parker (Marisa Tomei), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Ned (Jacob Batalon), Liz (Laura Harrier), Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson (Tony Revolori), ‘Karen’ (Jennifer Connelly), Betty Brant (Angourie Rice)
Cameos: Chris Evans appears as Captain America in a series of public announcement videos used in Peter’s school. Kerry Condon once again provides the voice of FRIDAY, Iron Man’s AI. Gwyneth Paltrow sullies the screen with her presence as Pepper Potts. Kenneth Choi, who played Jim Morita, a Howling Commando, in Captain America: The First Avenger plays Peter’s high school principal along with a photo of his ‘ancestor’ in his office. Donald ‘Most Talented Man Currently in Entertainment’ Glover plays criminal Aaron Davis, uncle to alternate reality Spider-Man Miles Morales. Stan Lee, naturally, as an angry New Yorker.
Damn, that’s a lot.
Plot: Following his involvement with the events of Civil War, Peter Parker returns home to Queens. He doesn’t feel as fulfilled being a street level superhero and grows frustrated that Tony Stark won’t include him in the Avengers. When Spider-Man discovers a criminal network stealing alien tech and reselling it he takes the case on himself.
Review: There was so much that could’ve gone wrong here.
Rebooting the character for the second time within a decade was already a stretch, but making him feel unique in the crowded MCU is doubly challenging. Plus there’s the increased reliance in responding to marketing and franchise building that had sunk two Spider-Man franchises already.
But at the heart of this movie is Spider-Man, the emotional centre of the Marvel universe, and writers who understand that what they really needed to do was to strip everything back to this character. When Spidey is done well he can be the most relatable and sympathetic figure Marvel has to offer and it’s clear that the film-maker’s goal here is to tap back into that core appeal.
Centre to that is the casting of Tom Holland who I increasingly believe was somehow genetically engineered for the role. He’s seems so completely genuine in his portrayal of Peter Parker it’s impossible to imagine him in another role. He’s charming, good natured and noble while at the same time being naive and ambitious. Putting him in this story about Spider-Man learning his role as a superhero of the people is the perfect way to use Holland’s version of the character, especially with Stark representing what Parker thinks he wants in life.
On the flip-side is Toombs – The Vulture – in the role of the villain. Bringing in experienced performer Michael Keaton was a smart move. He’s more than capable of playing a hard-nosed blue collar worker and family man alongside a menacing criminal capable of murder. His story is very well realised, with the usual madman marlarky being traded out for man who has had his livelihood threatened by the ruling class and wants to strike back. That his situation came about due to the existence of The Avengers brings everything together in a really satisfying manner.
Although the film is more than two hours long it never feels as though it drags. In between the action set pieces (providing the usual high standard of creative choreography and special effects) we have some highly entertaining support cast. It feels as though the director has spent the time fleshing out the roles with the actors so that they feel lived in and with complete backstories that extent beyond what we see on screen. Even the really small parts, like Donald Glover as Aaron Davis, feel better realised than main characters in other movies.
They pulled off a good trick with this one, seamlessly slotting Spider-Man into the MCU while making it feel like it’s own story. Very cool.
Credits Scene: First we see the Vulture in prison, being approached by a guy with a scorpion tattoo who wants to know Spidey’s identity so he could have him killed. Vulture claims he doesn’t know who he is.
At the very, very end of the credits Captain America gives us a speech about being patient. They got us good.
Most Notable Easter Egg: There’s a number of clever nods to the comics, including some visuals and a mention of Miles Morales. Our favourite, however, is Jennifer Connelly playing ‘Karen’, the AI system in the Spidersuit. In real life Connelly is married to Paul Bettany, the voice of JARVIS – Iron Man’s original AI.
Coolest Moment: Just Tom Holland – the perfect Spider-Man.
THE MCU MASTER LIST
We weren’t sure where this one would end up when we started rewatching it, but the character of Spider-Man done this well carries it far up the chart.
Click those titles to see the original entries!
2. THE AVENGERS
7. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
10. IRON MAN
18. DOCTOR STRANGE
21. IRON MAN 3
26. IRON MAN 2