Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
By Luke Gair
If you ask me about superhero movies, I’ll typically roll my eyes and give an exasperated sigh. Since Marvel’s rise in the film industry, it’s common each title shares a similar plot, laden with CGI effects and the same zero-to-hero storyline. Although Marvel’s latest flick, Spider-Man: Homecoming, does consist of both of those things, it takes a painstakingly overdone story and turns it into a coming-of-age tale perfect for this generation.
With each reboot of the Spider-Man series, viewers are forced to spend the first twenty minutes watching good ol’ Peter Parker transform from average joe to superhuman-mutant. This time around, script writers cut to the chase and plop viewers into Parker’s life sometime after the spider bite incident. By beginning after his debut in Marvel’s previous installment, Captain America: Civil War, we are presented with a Spider-Man who has already been able to hone his acquired powers.
When a mad scientist begins to torment the city with his alien gadgets, it’s up to Parker to stop him. It may seem a bit elementary, but for a superhero genre film, it’s only typical. Where Homecoming succeeds is its ability to present a complex teenager’s life on top of the overlying plot. In past Spider-Man films, we hardly ever get a glimpse of who Parker really is when not slinging webs. This time around, we are presented with a superhero who is more complex than the usual Marvel protagonist: one who is a part of the decathlon team, a chemistry whiz, and in love with his classmate, Liz Allen. Marjan Ata (‘21) found it was “a wonderful, more light and playful aspect of the Marvel Universe. The film really encapsulates the essence of childhood by making Peter Parker more relatable.”
Most movies these days are whitewashed and lack diversity, but Homecoming goes against the grain of typical Hollywood casting. While there’s still a long way to go, this film presented viewers with people of color in roles that were far more improved than the mere background characters they are usually (and unfairly) given.
Although I was endeared during the gripping fight scenes, I found more pleasure seeing Peter live out his daily, mundane life: getting ready for his homecoming, attending his first high school party, eating dinner with his Aunt May. These scenes made me root for Peter when he wore the mask.
By making their protagonist more of a person rather than a piece in their plotline, Marvel hits a homerun in creating a complex, charming character. One would assume that any half-decent movie would contain a likeable protagonist, but I think that Marvel often flops in that sense. This time, they redeemed themselves.