In order for Spider-Man to become a big league player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming needed a huge opening weekend and critical praise. Fortunately, the latest Marvel effort was given a rating of 93% from Rotten Tomatoes and raked in $117 million dollars on its opening weekend. It's no secret that Spider-Man: Homecoming has been a success, but it had also achieved something both previous franchises failed to do: Stay true to the Marvel character's source material, honoring what made the character a hit in the first place.
This isn't to say that the previous Spider-Man movies didn't stay true to certain elements of Spider-Man lore. There was the all-important death of Uncle Ben, his famous quote regarding power and responsibility, and Peter's endless run of bad luck. However, Spider-Man: Homecoming took even more of the character's traits from the comics, making this web-crawler stand out from the rest.
Putting The "Friendly Neighborhood" Back Into Spider-Man:
Peter Parker is the only person in comic books that's more selfless than Steve Rogers. This was shown right from the beginning of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Watching Peter go on patrol after school was missing from the previous movies, as the more climactic battles took priority over his ground-level heroics.
In Homecoming, Spidey wasn't going out to train, he wasn't trying to confirm his identity, and he wasn't testing the extent of his powers. Peter was just going out to help people in need. At one point, Peter even stopped to give directions to a lost citizen.
These are things that Spider-Man does regularly in the comics. It isn't always about thwarting a bank robbery or stopping the Rhino from destroying New York. Spider-Man has been a great hero on a large scale throughout his cinematic run, but a lot of the kind deeds Spider-Man did day-to-day were missed until his first solo movie in the #MCU. Thanks to Homecoming, Peter really is the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Flash Thomson Is Parker's Lead Antagonist:
In the first two Spider-Man franchises, Flash was just a random bully in Peter Parker's school. However, he is so much more than that in the comics. In fact, he is the central antagonist in Peter Parker's 'normal' life.
Without Flash, Peter's school life would go on without a hitch. He'd still have to deal with the ups and downs that come with his secret identity, but Flash actively goes out of his way to make Peter's life unpleasant. In previous Spider-Man movies, Flash was around, but he wasn't a prominent antagonist. Fortunately, Spider-Man: Homecoming gave us the Flash Thompson we didn't realize we needed.
In Marvel's latest installment, Flash Thompson is a new age bully. We live in a different time to when Flash was first created, so Peter getting wedgies or swirlies in the toilet (hopefully) isn't something the audience would resonate with. Instead, we get a new kind of hazing.
Flash isn't a jock. He's intelligent, using words to embarrass Peter instead of using physical violence. Homecoming's Flash was selfish, pompous, and demeaning - making him the perfect antagonist for the wholesome Peter Parker.
Being Spider-Man Isn't Easy:
This Spider-Man already has some heroics under his belt thanks to Captain America: Civil War, but he still had a long way to go. Particularly in the Ultimate Universe, Spider-Man had to take a lot of baby steps before he could become an acclaimed hero.
Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's characters seemed to pick up the Spider-Man shtick earlier and easier than comic book readers would expect. In contrast to this, Tom Holland's Spider-Man is still learning how to properly use his web shooters. For example, Peter learned that shooting webs in the air doesn't mean it will connect to something, which was an issue that was never addressed in previous films. This acknowledgement allows Holland's Spidey to get better in the air in future titles, allowing fans to experience just how far he has come.
On the ground, our new Spidey faced similar problems. Even the goons he'd normally beat down with ease gave the newcomer a run for his money. People forget that even though he's a hugely popular #Marvel hero, he's still just a kid in high school. His constant struggle, which fans have experienced for years throughout Marvel's comic books, give him a challenging journey, meaning that any success for the character is a huge pay-off.
Bad Things Happen To Good People: The Curse of Being Spider-Man
Peter Parker has always had to deal with the "curse" of being Spider-Man. Take Tobey Macguire's Spider-Man 2 for example. Peter constantly missed Mary Jane's performances, alienated his best friend, almost flunked out of school, and couldn't hold a job to pay his rent. However, even though Parker's misfortune was apparent in previous Spider-Man flicks, Homecoming did an even better job of showing how Peter's secret life affects the people around him.
Spider-Man: Homecoming emphasized that Peter's actions affected everyone - including people who have nothing to do with his adventures. On more than one occasion, Spider-Man's actions have almost gotten people killed. Not only that, but his will to do the right thing caused the destruction of one of Peter's favorite places.
Spider-Man: Homecoming showed exactly how much Spider-Man can influence the safety of New York's citizens, quite literally showing that with great power comes great responsibility.
It's clear to see that the creative team responsible for the film truly cared about the character's source material. There were a lot of easter eggs, just like any major superhero movie nowadays, but also much more than that. The film paid homage to the comics, while also giving fans a new story to enjoy. Everyone involved did an amazing job, and Spider-Man: Homecoming made me more excited than ever for the web-crawler's future adventures.
What was your favorite part of the movie? Let me know in the comments below.