This week, after a very promising debut in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker returns to big screens for Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's Tom Holland's first solo adventure as the webslinger, the sixth Spider-Man film and the second reboot of the character in just five years. So, does Peter Parker's first MCU film live up to the hype? Check out the spoiler-free reactions of SYFY WIRE's contributors below, then let us know what you thought of the film in the comments.
Matthew Jackson: Spider-Man: Homecoming is far from my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film, but it's also a film that has no business being this much fun. Director Jon Watts and star Tom Holland have crafted the best big-screen version of Peter Parker, a character who blinds the awkward strangeness of the Lee-Ditko years with the swagger of John Romita Jr. and the joy of Dan Slott. The film's action can't match the Russo Brothers at their best, but Watts isn't trying to make an Avengers movie here, Tony Stark's presence notwithstanding. This is an intimate, tight, and singular effort to give us a friendly neighborhood hero, eating churros on a fire escape, and making friends at the local sandwich shop. That both sets Homecoming apart from the rest of the MCU and makes it feel like it belongs, because it's not playing into the generic style these films so often get dinged for. It feels like a Spider-Man movie, not a "Marvel Studios" movie. Add in an absolutely terrific supporting cast, a strong villain, and the single best Spider-Man movie moment ever (yeah, you heard me, and you'll know it when you see it) in the third act, and Homecoming becomes something very special. It's the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2, and it sets the stage for great things to come. Tom Holland is the future of the MCU.
Lucas Siegel: Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie yet, but maybe not for the reasons you think. Yes, the effects are great and the Spider-Man action is exciting, but the biggest thing this movie gets right that prior movies didn’t quite hit is in the supporting cast. Every character in this movie is so much more real and three-dimensional than the previous Spidey ensembles. Setting the film firmly in high school and letting the other kids actually have moments and arcs made all the difference in the world. I don’t just want more of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, I want more Michelle, more Ganke -- er Ned -- more May, and even more Flash (there’s gotta be more to him, and unlike the others, we only scratched the surface there). The other thing Homecoming nails is that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are more intrinsically linked than any other superhero and their secret identity. The two halves of this whole have to work together, and learn from each other. Seeing Peter and Spider-Man overcome impossible odds, purely by deciding it has to be done, is so perfectly, classically, Spider-Man. I loved this movie, and can’t wait to see it again.
Lisa Granshaw: It's been a long time since I've really enjoyed a Spider-Man movie, so Homecoming was a welcome surprise that actually made me excited for a potential sequel! Building off of Tom Holland’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War, this film offers a fun, interesting look at Peter Parker in his early days as the superhero that’s fresh and different from what we’ve seen before. The focus on Peter in high school throughout the film -- as he juggles web-slinging, schoolwork, and crushes -- felt more realistic than what we've seen in the past as far as what it might be like if a teenager suddenly had superpowers. Michael Keaton is perfect as the Vulture, offering a challenging adversary for Spider-Man, but not one with motivations that are confusing or beyond our understanding. I was most impressed with how Homecoming was connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though. Luckily Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t steal the spotlight, and there’s just enough nods and connections to the MCU to make it feel fun that it’s a part of the world instead of overwhelming. That being said, the film has a few flaws, but these were small things that to me didn’t stop it from being the best Spider-Man film I’ve seen in years.
Don Kaye: After the woeful attempts at world-building in the abandoned Amazing Spider-Man series, Sony handed the keys over to Marvel Studios and let them reboot Spider-Man one more time ... but this one should stick. Buoyant, funny and full of youthful energy, Spider-Man: Homecoming finds the right tone for Spidey at last. Tom Holland is sensational: He's goofy and awkward both with and without the mask -- but gaining confidence when he wears the latter -- and finds an inner strength that gives the character weight. The plot is rather slim, but Michael Keaton's Vulture is one of Marvel's more impressive villains and the rest of the supporting cast bring heart and humor to the proceedings. No, it's not the greatest superhero movie ever made, but as a way to revamp Spider-Man and connect him at last to the MCU, it succeeds tremendously.
Rebecca Pahle: We’re rocking a perfect 100% for superhero movies so far this year. The Lego Batman Movie. Logan. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Wonder Woman. All good. Stretching out the streak this weekend is Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming, which deftly blends superhero shenanigans with coming-of-age comedy. I guess the movie gods figured they owed us for having been put through Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and X-Men: Apocalypse last year. Barf. Tom Holland is a charming little nugget of a human being as Peter Parker, who must -- as all Spideys before him -- juggle the desire to get his hero on with a simultaneous need to keep his loved ones safe while maintaining at least some semblance of a normal life. Unlike previous Spidey relaunches, Watts and his co-writers don’t trammel the ol’ origin story grounds again -- thank God -- leaving viewers with a solid 2 hours, 13 minutes of web-slinging fun. We’ve come to expect fun from Marvel ... but one thing the franchise hasn’t been great with, historically, is its villains. (I’m talking movies only, as the Netflix shows have been good in this regard.) Loki’s good, and ... uh ... Loki’s good. Michael Keaton’s Vulture joins his ranks as a baddie who actually feels complex, well-rounded and somewhat original. The supporting characters are funny. Robert Downey Jr. is utilized just enough, i.e. Spider-Man: Homecoming never becomes, as some worried it would, Iron Man 4. And the post-credits scene is the best the MCU’s done yet. Fwip fwip!
Heather Mason: Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of the most rewarding Marvel Cinematic Universe films yet. As a fan since Iron Man, the tie-ins bringing Peter Parker into this world are genuinely amazing. From Captain America to Happy Hogan, the film truly rewards those who love the characters and universe. That being said, Peter also distinguishes himself from the other Avengers. He's got his own personality and motivations -- which sometimes lead him into trouble. Okay, they lead him into trouble A LOT. Tom Holland fully embodies the passion and heart of Spider-Man while making him a totally believable teenage boy. With a great mix of laughs and action, I left the theater excited to see the film again. Plus, there are a few surprises, which these days is a feat in itself. Spider-Man: Homecoming will thrill even the most cynical theatergoers. It's just so much fun!
Mike Avila: There’s a scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming -- longtime fans will recognize the callback almost immediately -- that gave me goosebumps. I won’t get too spoilery, because it’s a scene that is done so well, but it may be as quintessential a "Spider-Man" moment as we’ve ever seen onscreen. It captures the spirit of the character that has always made him the most relatable Marvel hero.What struck me as I was watching Jon Watts’ movie was how distinctive it was. Not just from the other Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings, but also from the five previous Spidey-films. Watts takes the character back to the idiosyncratic roots established during the legendary Lee-Ditko run, when Peter Parker was a true outsider. Kevin Feige has made countless great decisions as head of Marvel’s film studio. Taking Spidey back to high school, for what appears to be at least two films, may turn out to be his best. Because watching Tom Holland as a teenage Peter Parker learning the superheroing ropes while bumbling and stumbling his way through high-school life is pure cinematic bliss.