SPOILER FREE REVIEW
‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ Swings Onto The Big Screen With Humor And Diversity
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
As you’re swinging through the bustling streets of New York you sense a citizen in trouble. Coming to the rescue just in time you save the day and leave the police with the subdued criminal. You rush to school…just in time for the tardy bell to ring. Oh the joys of being the friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
With an astounding 93% on rotten tomatoes, some estimated earnings of $117M domestically and over $250M worldwide during its July 7th opening weekend on alone, and taking the #1 spot on the box office, it’s obvious that ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ is a success with critics and fans. But what makes this movie such a sensation? While plot and humor definitely play major roles, the diversity of the characters brought to life by director Jon Watts seem to bring this movie over the edge.
The movie follows Marvel’s classic character, Peter Paker (Tom Holland), as he struggles with balancing his personal life and that of his crime fighting alter ego, Spiderman. In a refreshing twist, this second big reboot of the franchise skipped the overplayed origin story and picked up after the events of Avengers and Captain America: Civil War. In wake of the previous films the overzealous Parker thrives for a new mission after helping Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) fight Captain America (Chris Evans). When a group of wronged workers ban together with the protection of villain, The Vulture (Michael Keaton) to create advanced weapons with alien technology, the titular character takes it upon himself to stop them.
Holland brings a charming performance to the character, portraying the overly ambitious Parker without making him unlikeable. Meanwhile, the supporting characters are not just there for show, in fact they each play an important part in the web slinger’s personal arch.
Starring as his best friend Ned is Jacob Batalon, a Filipino actor who was born and raised in Hawaii. His performance brought the most laughs, and had the audience thinking about how they would react if they discovered their best friend was a masked vigilante. It was nice to see a young Spanish actor play such a vital role in such an anticipated movie and he was not the only one who was representing the minority community.
Zendaya played Michelle, and while I won’t reveal who her character turns out to be, I will say that her being cast was an excellent change. As a young woman of mixed race, she portrayed the character as highly intelligent and reserved yet with enough confidence to make quips about our society, including refusing to tour a national landmark due to its racist roots.
Another two characters that helped bring diversity to the screen was Laura Harrier’s character Liz, who was the main love interest of Peter Parker, and Tony Revolori’s Flash, who was Parker’s high school bully. It was a nice switch as both roles in the comics are depicted as having a completely white ethnicity, while these actors didn’t, which really helped to make the setting of New York believable.
Furthermore, as a Queens, New York native, I can attest to the notion that Watts was able to capture the feeling of New York’s iconic borough. From the neighborhood corner store and playful banter over which sandwich spot is the best to the mixture of different people, the movie was able to combine some of the attributes that give New York its exemplary stature.
Additionally, the movie threw in a few subtle references for devout Spidey fans, one lesser known one was that actor Donald Glover, who appears in a small role for the film actually voiced the web shooter’s future protégé, Miles Morales in the animated series ‘Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors’.
In conclusion, ‘Homecoming’ incorporated a major plot twist with the humor of classic teenager flicks and created a fun watch for the whole family! It would not be a Marvel Movie without a Stan Lee cameo and after credit scenes, so if you go to see it make sure to look out for them. I would highly recommend seeing it as it is sure to become a feature in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. My rating is 5 Spiderman masks out of 5.