The introduction of Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War was one of the better elements of that film. He came across well, with the naiveté and quipping charm I remember from cartoons of my childhood. His sensibility about using his powers to do good set up the character really well, and got us past a lot of the early moralising previous incarnations have taken us through.
So this film sets out to introduce a more grounded, naturalistic Spider-Man. Peter is still in high school, still struggling with being a teen, and still figuring out how to resolve the dual roles into one. Overall this theme continues through and is shown to us on multiple occasions with his role as nephew/student/friend conflicting with his perceived duty to catch thieves just like flies.
However I don’t think we ever resolve the theme. It seems to imply it’s wrapped up at the end, but I don’t feel like the character understands these two sides better and what it takes to be comfortable in both. He’s committed to them, much as he was doing at the start of the film. Just now… he’s been through an ordeal.
There are other aspects that disappoint – Happy Hogan is served very poorly, Flash Thompson is still a one note character, the score could use a little less bombast. These can be largely ignored to continue enjoying Homecoming though as there is a lot to recommend it.
This film manages to avoid many of the MCU traditions, with a significantly better villain than we’ve had before. The tense moments are genuinely tense, and the humour is pretty much off the scale with comedy wrought from every scene by some snappy writing and delivery.
Much as I’ve found with Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, this film feels like a palate cleanser. I’ve enjoyed myself, but I’m still anticipating a main course that has some substance to it, which means consequences and changes for the characters. I can’t see anyone not enjoying Homecoming though. It’s fun, funny, and the action is good but doesn’t outstay its welcome.