Peter Parker’s Day Off

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” reintroduces the boy behind the mask


Illustration by Emily O'Connell

Director Jon Watts’ blockbuster “Spider-Man: Homecoming” swung into theaters this summer and smashed expectations. Despite doubts that a third reboot of Spider-Man could yield something new, Watts breathed new life into the franchise by focusing on the teenager first and the superhero second.

“Homecoming” picks up Peter Parker’s story where it left off after his showdown with Captain America and his merry band of misfits in “Captain America: Civil War.” Peter (played by actor Tom Holland) has returned to New York and wants nothing more than to drop out of school and become an Avenger. Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.), Iron Man and mentor to the young webslinger, wants him to lay low and just be a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” However, Parker wants Stark to treat him as an adult and sets off to prove himself worthy of his great power.

I couldn’t have been more excited when Marvel announced they were making a Spider-Man movie set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having been a huge fan of the Marvel movies since the first “Iron Man.”  “Spider-Man: Homecoming” feels like a sigh of relief in a world where superhero-franchise fatigue is always a worry.

Holland’s Parker blends both the average teenager and superhero. His energy can be felt throughout the movie, and his witty quips rival those of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. One of my biggest worries about the film was that having such a titan as Robert Downey Jr. as a supporting character would overshadow Holland and the other actors. However, I could not have been more wrong. Downey stays on the sidelines for most of the movie giving Holland room to shine.

But what really makes this movie shine is the commitment to being a teenage coming-of-age movie. To get ready for his role, Holland spent some time undercover at a high school in New York. This led to some relatable high school moments, like asking your crush to homecoming and how to handle your first high school party. In the “Amazing Spider-Man” movies, Andrew Garfield looked like a 30 year old acting like a high schooler (he was, in fact, 28), whereas Holland, 20, actually feels like a high schooler.  This extra step goes far and above anything the previous movies did to create a teenage Peter Parker.

Spidey is only as good as his villain and Michael Keaton is able to, without going into spoilers, make the Vulture the most relatable and he made me understand why he’s the “bad guy.”  In “Homecoming,” Keaton’s Vulture isn’t set on world domination but just trying to scrape by for his family in a superpowered world. This makes hims seem more like misdirected man than a moustache twirling villain.

Overall “Spider-Man: Homecoming” stands not only as the epitome of Spider-Man movies but also as the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” of our generation.