One aspect improved over previous Spider-Man movies is how well Parker’s school life bleeds into his moonlight crime fighting. A class fieldtrip provides the perfect opportunity to go snooping for a criminal hideout, albeit rather conveniently. Ned is amazed to discover that his best friend is a superhero and begs to be the nerdy assistant in the earpiece, becoming Spider-Man’s eyes and ears from the school computer lab. The school’s science labs and woodworking workshops also play a role in Peter creating his web-shooters or investigating clues. Even the prom comes into play for tracking down Vulture.
It always felt as though the school were another character rather than just an extra location for Peter’s social life. The little detail of the school’s costumed mascot constantly running through the halls for being late really sell that this building is alive with youth. I also enjoyed how well the Marvel universe was weaved into this world, featuring gym introduction videos by Captain America and hallway talk of girls deciding which Avengers they’d “F, marry or kill.”
While the movie is brimming with charisma and wit to make it a more smile-worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it still stumbles into some familiar pitfalls. The grandest of stunts features Spider-Man trying to hold together a ferry split in two, but with a familiar stance from Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 of the hero with his arms outstretched in agony to save innocent people from disaster. The scene of Peter sharing a car with his enemy held more tension than the fight scene between them on a crash-landing plane. And for as much as I enjoyed Spider-Man’s web-slinging antics, so much of his speed and grace is reliant on obvious computer graphics that it furthers the case that superhero movies should be animated films. Sure enough, Sony is producing an animated Spider-Man movie.
For all its minor faults, Homecoming marks a very welcoming addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even if it would rather geek out on its superhero lore than add to it.