Spider-Man: Homecoming is exceptional. On top of it being just beyond a great movie, here are some important learnings you can take from it.
I recently attended a pre-screening of Spider-Man: Homecoming, set to come out Thursday the 6th of July 2017. And without giving anything away, I would just like to urge all of you, whether you like Spiderman or not, to go see it.
This is the Spider-Man we deserve. Gone is the dorky, unlikeable and mostly aggravating Peter Parker that we’ve seen previously in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Instead, we get a down-to-earth teen who has his feet firmly grounded in his life. As you’ve seen in the clips floating around, he is a conscientious student, and deeply and genuinely cares about what he does.
He might not be popular, and he has his share of teenage bullying to deal with, but Peter handles it in true super-hero style, choosing again and again to do the right thing, regardless of how much it hurts him or what it costs.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a great coming-of-age story, with elements that will speak to everyone in the audience. Sitting in the theatre with just under 150 other media and entertainment professionals, we laughed and cried (well, maybe it was just me crying), and cheered along with him. Sometimes he’s a dork, sometimes he’s a hero, and sometimes he’s just a regular teen, dealing with all the same problems a normal teen has to handle.
Tom Holland does an incredible job conveying all of that, and listening to the comments that other cast members have made about him, it’s not just because he’s a great actor. It’s because – like most of the other current Marvel personalities – he as a person embodies the true good nature and pure spirit of the character, and it bleeds through the screen at us.
These are the 7 most important lessons we can learn from Spider-Man: Homecoming
1 – Every aspiring superhero needs friends – or at least a companion and a confidante.
Keeping your secret is hard, especially when it would be so much easier to use your powers for personal gain. But having someone who knows and supports you, someone you can trust implicitly, is more powerful than you realise. Even apart from the support offered by Iron-Man, Spidey’s best friend, Ned, inadvertently stumbling upon his secret is one of the best things that could have happened to him.
Ned is far more to the story than just comic relief. His open delight and the sheer excitement he has at finding out his best friend is none other than Spider-Man, is exactly how I imagine most of us would react to the revelation.
He, like Peter, is now part of this massive secret, and while occasionally he slips up, being the relatable comic-geek that he is, he always has Peter’s back. The best part is that he’s not just the emotional support, but actually really intelligent and capable in his own right, which makes him an excellent support character.
2 – Everything is better with a little help and a super-suit, but man is not made by his tools, but by what he does with them.
The Iron-Man created Spidey-suit is a work of art, and highly extends Peter’s arsenal. It’s well presented and the included special features are introduced brilliantly, showing us what Spider-Man could be capable of in the future when he masters all the functions.
The suit is far more important in this movie than it has been in previous movies, precisely for this reason. In fact, one of the central conflicts of the movie is played out directly in the contrast between who Spiderman is with this advanced suit and who he is when he has nothing.
The back and forth sparked by the difference between this and his home-made suit – which is basically trackpants and a hoodie – gives us the most real and clear look into the character’s motivations and thought processes.
3 – Every superhero has lessons to learn, and though sometimes the consequences can be devastating, it is this dark night of the soul that shapes them.
In this incarnation of the Spidey-verse, we don’t see anything about Uncle Ben, which has previously been one of the most life-changing events in Peter Parker’s life. So it’s up to the general storyline to carry his character growth, and as with most of the development in this movie, it is impeccable.
Tom Holland captures just the right amount of young, boyish excitement and inexperience in the film’s beginning, and he make his fair share of bumbling mistakes. But as the movie goes on, you can see him growing up in front of you.
When the hero lies defeated and broken, as all superheroes inevitably are, just before the meteoric rise, he has to find the strength in himself to continue.
For me, it is these scenes that crown Tom’s performance. I could feel his fear and his despair, and the moment where he hardens his resolve and rises to the challenge… it blows away all of the other excellent acting he does.
4 – Sometimes, a hero’s just gotta do what a hero does.
Peter is not your normal everyday teen, when it comes right down to it. There is a core of pure strength and goodness to him that comes through in everything he does.
And it makes perfect sense why he does what he does. It isn’t because he feels the need to be responsible, but rather because he truly can’t be anything but what he is.
Some might speculate as to why Peter Parker is so heroic, but the movie itself doesn’t offer a rationale – it simply presents the story the way it is and expects us to take this as normal.
Whatever their reasoning, it struck a chord in me, because it calls forth that same quality out of its audience, normalising the passion and drive that is so often belittled in today’s young people. Marvel has a great track-record of portraying believable characters.
5 – Just as anyone can be a hero, anyone can be a villain.
Michael Keaton pulls off a highly relatable and believable ‘baddy’ in this movie. I was at times impressed, at times intimidated, and at times strangely drawn to him and his Vulture character.
Vulture’s introduction is a very good example of why people sometimes feel forced to choose methods that most people would leave, as everyone in the audience can empathise with his desire to simply be treated fairly and with compassion.
As the movie goes on, the villain keeps the core of what makes him such a gritty character, but you can see the descent into a highly focused and chillingly sane sort of creative madness. In the end, it is this that defeats him, even more so than Spider-Man himself.
6 – Even long-time, big-name heroes can get things wrong.
The relationship between Iron-Man and Spidey in this movie was not what I expected from the trailers and snippets released beforehand.
This is probably the closest I’ll get to spoilers, but I found the depiction of Iron-Man a little confronting, because it was so real and slightly awkward. He finds himself in this pseudo-father role, and because he hasn’t had a true father-figure of his own, he stumbles sometimes in reacting to Peter’s inexperience and enthusiasm.
It is, however, all part of the excellently sculpted storyline, and his typical adult superiority is part of the mechanism that progresses the plot. So regardless of my personal frustration with my (current) idol, it was still a fantastic performance.
I think I personally found it confronting because after Civil War, I imagined Iron-Man as this perfect, compassionate warrior who follows his heart for the good of the team. And I completely forgot that this is the man who is quite possibly the MCU’s most conflicted and complicated super-hero. In a multi-verse of very complicated characters, that’s quite an achievement.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a good example and reminder of just why Marvel’s characters have always been so compelling. They are still only human, and it shows.
7 – And finally… watch out for the little things.
Bearing in mind that this is the movie slated to take us into the first phase of the Avengers’ Infinity War, everything in Spider-Man: Homecoming has a reason and a place, even if we don’t yet understand it.
Every little detail seems to fit, every moment seems to be in place, but there are quite a few moments that seem to stick out to me as being possible foreshadowing that could be important in the timeline to come.
For instance, who is Michelle? Why is she always in the background? (I have a fan-conspiracy-theory on this, but more about that in later articles.)
What is it about this school that seems so… subtly different? As you’ve probably seen in the clips, Ned is hardly contained when it comes to his questions of Peter, and yet no one seems to be even mildly interested.
While this could just be movie magic glossing over the details for the sake of the story, we wouldn’t be Marvel fans if we didn’t assume they had something still up their sleeve.
Since there will definitely be a further Spider-Man movie, I imagine we will see more of the other characters around Peter, as well as his school, so is it entirely possible that he’s not there by chance, that there may be other heroes and villains hiding in obscurity right under our noses.
So what do you think? Spider-Man Homecoming is coming very soon to cinemas near you, and I’d love to hear your feedback on what you thought about the movie and about my learnings from the movie above.
I adored the movie, and as a writer, a creative artist and an aspiring superhero, I am thoroughly inspired by it. I can’t wait to see what else the MCU has for us. If this is only the introduction, I can only imagine the glory that is to come. Do you agree, disagree, or have a different opinion? Tell me all about it in the comments below.