#11 in my Ranking of The MCU Phases 1-3.
It’s nice to peel back from world ending consequences and just deal with a bad guy who wants to steal stuff. It’s the kind of job for a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. And it’s not just the basic conflict that smaller in scale, the thematic and character driven ground of the film is smaller as well, but that’s a good thing.
Peter Parker, after his brush with the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, hangs out in Queens, looking for little things to help with, in his new suit built by Tony Stark. It’s high tech, and it’s giving him an inflated view of his place in the world. He wants more than just helping little ladies with directions. He wants to be an Avenger. He wants to participate in the large scale world ending events that the rest of the team helps with, but no one will return his calls.
His opportunity comes when he foils a bank robbery involving high tech weaponry. Through a bit of a coincidence, he figures out the next step in an investigation that leads to the Vulture, a former contractor with the city of New York who turned to crime after his contract to clean up the mess from Loki’s attack fell through. With a heaping of class warfare in his veins, he’s taken to stealing alien tech from whomever has it and selling it to whoever will buy it.
Peter follows them to D.C. where he misses an academic competition getting trapped in a warehouse before he escapes and saves his classmates from a falling elevator in the Washington Memorial. Peter, inflated by his own sense of ability, pursues the arms dealers in New York until they get on the ferry, a situation that Peter makes significantly worse. Through his involvement, a weapon ends up splitting the ferry in half, Peter can’t save it, and Tony Stark must come to his aid in his Iron Man suit. Highly displeased with Peter’s immaturity and inability to measure his own ability against the situation, Tony takes the high tech suit from Peter, leaving him the homemade one he had fashioned before Tony had given him an upgrade.
Peter, chastised and ready to accept his lowered position in the superhero chain, discovers that his nascent girlfriend is daughter to the Vulture, and the Vulture figures him out on a drive to the Homecoming dance. Unable to reach Tony, Peter does what he thinks is right and chases them, finding that he may be risking his life, but he does have it within him, without the high tech suit, to make the kind of difference he wants to make in the world.
What makes this movie work is Peter himself. Tom Holland has fun in the role, but it’s the writing that really makes it. Peter’s journey is appropriate for a teenager suddenly given a large amount of power. His ego overtakes his common sense and he goes too far. His chastisement feels genuine, and his desire to prove himself even in the face of that punishment works quite well. The balance with his personal life isn’t handled as well as his core journey. It’s not bad at all, but I feel like it drags the movie a bit. I don’t see a good reason why this movie should be a whole 130 minutes long. It’s not that big of a story.
Still, it’s fun with a solid cast and a strong central story.
Netflix Rating: 4/5
Quality Rating: 3/4
Originally published here.