When Spider-Man Homecoming was originally announced, a lot of people were surprised that the superhero would be rebooted again so soon after The Amazing Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters, so I was excited regardless. Now that I saw Homecoming, there’s a lot to love about the movie.
My list is after the cut. (Spoilers, of course.)
1. Peter as a distracted science geek
In other versions of Spider-Man, we see Peter doing experiments and working on web fluid formulas on his own time…either at home or at a science lab after hours. But Homecoming shows him doing that as a side project, during his regular classes. The chemistry class scene is great, where Peter is working on a new version of web fluid and hides his beaker in the drawer.
2. Being Spider-Man isolates Peter
This version of Peter obsesses over what he should be doing as Spider-Man. He quits extra-curricular activities because he feels like he has to spend all of his time out of school being Spider-Man, even though Tony doesn’t put that expectation on him. And so Peter misses out on “normal” high school stuff like hanging out with friends and going to parties.
3. Tony as a mentor
Seeing teenage superheroes being treated as teenagers (and not as adults) by other superheroes is rare. It would be easy to act like Peter can handle being a superhero and fighting super villains. It’s easy to pretend that having superpowers automatically makes you capable of going up against anyone.
Instead, Tony tempers Peter’s arrogance, which is interesting, considering we’ve seen Tony be arrogant as Iron Man. But the difference is, Tony is an adult and knows what he’s doing. Peter, left unchecked, would be in way over his head.
4. Ned is the best superhero best friend
Ned’s excitement for finding out what Peter can do adds comedic relief, and that’s balanced by Ned’s concern for Peter’s safety.
5. Peter’s homemade Spidey suit actually looks homemade
A hoodie, sweats, and goggles. Exactly what a teenager would put together.
6. Michelle/MJ on the peripheral
MJ’s end scene sets her up perfectly for a more central role in the sequel. And while, yes, I would have liked to see more of her in Homecoming, it makes sense that the focus is on Peter first.
7. Spider-Man in the suburbs
I don’t even know how many times I’ve read comments and jokes about what Spider-Man would do if he lived in the suburbs. How would he web sling? Homecoming gives us a scene that shows exactly that. And it’s an homage to Ferris Bueller! Perfect.
8. Peter talks to himself
In the comics, we read Peter’s thoughts as he’s figuring out how to fight the bad guy. In the cartoons, there was a voiceover for Peter’s internal monologue. Neither of those would work as well in a live-action movie, so instead Peter talks to himself. He thinks out loud.
The scene where the ferry is breaking apart is a great example. He sees the sides drifting apart and says “What do I do? What do I do?!” and then he talks to Karen/Suit Lady and asks her to find the strongest points in the structure.
It’s a fast and simple thing, but it immediately made me think, Yeah, this is exactly how Peter is. He has to think of his feet and adapt to what happens around him.
9. Spider-Man feels fear, but he’s a hero anyway
It’s refreshing to see that in the middle of a fight, Peter is scared about what’s happening. The ferry scene is a good example of this, too. He didn’t know what the alien weapon could do. He didn’t know if his webbing could hold the two sides of the ferry together. And when the webbing snaps, he’s yelling out of fear, because he’s clearly out of options for saving everyone on the ferry.
10. Peter cares more about helping people than fighting bad guys
When the sandwich shop blows up, Peter doesn’t even consider if he should stay with the bank robbers or go see if shop owner is okay. Peter immediately runs across the street and saves him. Other superhero stories make it a point to make the hero choose: catch the villain or save people. Spider-Man doesn’t consider that a choice: he’s always going to help “the little guy.”
11. The scene where he lifts the building off of his back
Even though Spider-Man is super strong, it’s hasn’t been a prominent ability in Spider-Man movies. The focus is more on wall crawling and web slinging, and with good reason: those are superpowers unique to Spider-Man. So when Peter is trapped underneath blocks of concrete, hurt and defeated, watching him lift the building and save himself has a stronger impact (no pun intended).
By comparison, no one is ever surprised to see Superman lift buildings or slabs or concrete—heavy lifting is the norm for him.
He’s known for agility, speed, and fast reflexes. This scene also reinforces that Peter is young — he cries when he realizes he’s stuck under the concrete, and he starts panicking. Then he motivates himself (“Come on, Peter! Come on, Spider-Man!”), and proves that’s he doesn’t need the suit to be Spider-Man.