Spider-Man: Homecoming has been out worldwide for a few days now, so it’s time to discuss some of the elements of the film that should only be considered once you’ve seen the film. If you couldn’t tell – MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING! If you want a spoiler-free review, then click here and you can read ours. Unlike a normal review, we’re going to break down the spoiler-filled elements of the film one at a time, making it more of an informal discussion than a review. Let’s get into it:
First off, let’s talk about Michael Keaton’s Vulture. He’s easily one of the best MCU villains yet, even if the script doesn’t give him quite enough to do in order to display his talent as an actor. That said, he’s a very well-written villain – shrouded in mystery to a degree, but also with fleshed-out and believable motivations. That said, we all know the best surprise of the film was that the Vulture is Liz’s (Peter’s love interest in the film) daughter. This twist was massive, and the scene where Keaton’s Toomes is driving Liz and Peter to Homecoming is a stroke of genius – an unbelievably tense situation, that takes the teen-movie trope of the frightening dad-of-the-girlfriend and spins it right on its head. A terrific villain, and if the end credit scene is anything to go by, it won’t be the last we see of him.
The opening of the film is also worth a mention: hearing the classic Spider-Man TV show theme, reimagined triumphantly by Michael Giacchino, was a delightful moment, and really reinforced the almost-patriotic tone of the film: it proves Spidey is back where he belongs, and that this will will be the Spider-Man film that fans deserve. Also great in the opening is the video journal that follows Peter during the events of last year’s Civil War – this provided some moments of hilarity, and reintroduced us to Peter as really being a young kid, but also functioned seamlessly to introduce us to Peter post-Berlin.
Some of the ties to the extended MCU are really fantastic. Other than the obvious jaw-dropping moment of Gwenyth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts returning (which had my entire screening blown away), there were plenty of other great nods. The reference to the Iron Spider suit in particular was great fun to watch, although it was slightly disappointing that we never got to see Spidey in action in this suit – but with Infinity War next year proving Spider-Man will team up with the Avengers, we’re holding out hope. Additional to this was the Captain America exercise video seen during the high school scenes: the coach’s quip that he was now a war criminal arose a laugh, and Peter’s subtle discussion of Cap to his friend Ned was enjoyable to watch. The revelation that Zendaya was playing Mary Jane was not nearly as much of a surprise as the film had hoped it would be – but it’s a different take on the character in terms of her personality that will be interesting to watch in upcoming entries.
On the topic of this, the final end-credits scene – not including the one where we catch up with the Vulture, which was a nice tease – was underwhelming. Recent MCU end-credits teases have been far more impactful, and although the self-aware nature of Cap’s speech on patience is in keeping with the tone of Homecoming, it did feel disappointing, as many were expecting a tease that would extend the MCU, as we’ve seen before with Thanos in The Avengers and Age of Ultron. Maybe it’s a matter of differing expectations, but my audience were certainly underwhelmed by the final end-credits scene.
Another thing I found slightly disappointing was Donald Glover in the role of Aaron Davis, uncle of Miles Morales, who doesn’t make an appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Glover and thought he was great when he was on-screen, but this just wasn’t enough of the time. For an actor of his talent, especially one with so much history with the Spider-Man franchise, having previously campaigned for the Miles Morales Spider-Man role, I can’t help but feel he was somewhat under-utilised. However, his ties to Morales means we are likely to see him again in a Spider-Man movie if Marvel choose to pursue the Miles Morales character, so not all hope is lost – just give him more screen time, because he’s a joy to watch!
Finally, let’s talk about the final action scene. Not only was it expertly choreographed and intense despite the relatively low stakes of the scene, but Spidey’s decision to save Vulture instead of letting him die was a breath of fresh air. Far too many superhero films nowadays prefer killing off their antagonists rather than letting them develop in further films – looking at you, Man of Steel – so for Toomes to face justice was a really refreshing development. It’ll be interesting to see how Spidey’s decision to save him will impact the characterisation of the Vulture in future films, especially if Marvel choose to pursue the Sinister Six storyline that was subtly hinted at in the end-credits scene. On top of that, who doesn’t love the incredibly home-made Spidey costume?
We’ve already written a review on Homecoming so don’t expect our score to change, but we can say that the spoiler-filled elements of the film also helped make it a joy to watch. Some things aren’t perfect – underwhelming end-credits scene, lack of utilisation of some characters – but the bold decisions that Homecoming takes helps make it stand out so much in the modern climate of superhero onslaught. The direction in which they take the Vulture is so refreshing, and the ties to the extended MCU and comic-book lore show great promise for future entries in the series. As we said before, Spidey’s back home, and he’s better than ever.