‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Is a Win for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man has returned for his third reboot of the millennium. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the sixth installment, and second reboot but the exciting story doesn’t feel too tired. After his brief introduction in “Captain America: Civil War,” the new Spidey solo outing finds Peter Parker (Tom Holland) back in New York trying to balance life as an ordinary high school student.

Perhaps the best decision Marvel and Sony made regarding the red and blue spandex-clad web-slinger was to not reiterate yet another origin story. Yes, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is an origin story of sorts, but not in the same way that has already been hashed out several times before. Whereas the 2002 Sam Raimi “Spider-man” film and the 2012 Andrew Garfield “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot begin at the start of it all – showcasing the initial spider bite, Peter Parker harnessing his powers, the death of Uncle Ben, and so on — “Homecoming” skips all of that. Audiences didn’t need another film illustrating the spider bite that changes everything for Parker – and fortunately that’s not what they’re getting.

“Homecoming” serves as an origin story for the new Spider-man and his place in the Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Picking up right where the last Avengers-centric film left off in “Captain America: Civil War,” Parker is an eager 15-year-old energized by his participation in the climatic “Civil War” battle. He is ready and waiting for Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) next call, filling his evenings solving small-time crime around the New York boroughs after school and arriving home just in time to avoid suspicion from his widowed Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). He had a taste of what the big leagues were like in “Civil War,” and he doesn’t want to just be the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” anymore.

Holland emerges as the best Spider-Man yet. Young and energetic, the 21-year-old British actor portrays the character with good intentions and true honesty. Refreshingly, the tone set out in “Homecoming” is slightly more comedic than the other Marvel films, beginning with an opening title card reading “A film by Peter Parker” and following through to an end reveal that will leave the audience chuckling.

As far as action goes, because this is a superhero movie after all, the destruction sequences in the film, which include a ferry accident and an airplane crash, are quite pleasing. This time around the overarching threat, sinisterly presented by Michael Keaton’s Vulture (whose origin runs parallel to events that took place in previous films within the MCU) is somewhat smaller scale than some of the other world-dominating villains in the same universe. While Iron Man or Thor might be saving the planet, Spider-Man is saving those on board a sinking ferry in the New York harbor – and that’s okay. Spidey isn’t quite ready for the big stuff yet, and Marvel is very aware of how he fits into the universe. He isn’t officially part of the Avengers just yet, and his obstacles remain slightly more microscopic, befittingly so.

As Marvel enters into phase four of the Avengers cinematic universe, parallel storylines are beginning to reveal a more intricate universe. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” proves that, even a decade later, Marvel still have some fresh tricks up their sleeves.

Spider-Man: Homecoming” opens in theaters July 7.