By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT’S SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING ABOUT?
With the blessing of Tony Stark (Iron Man), Peter Parker tries to prove himself a hero while juggling a social and academic life. (Buy it here and get the previous five Spidey films here).
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A)
One would think rebooting Spider-Man for the third time in 15 years would lead to a stale, uninspired retread, but Marvel Studios consistently defies expectations by giving us characters, situations, and narrative threads we’ve never seen before. Spider-Man: Homecoming is fresh, funny, and joyful, with just enough menace by a brilliant Michael Keaton (as a villain with unique motives) to give the film some weight. Tom Holland brilliantly captures Peter Parker’s youthful exuberance, naivety, and the weight of responsibility which he carries as the film goes on. The diverse cast of supporting characters delights. The jokes land, the action pops, the soundtrack is a toe-tapping delight, and the film captures high school angst in all its awkward glory. The tie-ins to the rest of the Marvel universe add some flavor, but do not overshadow the fact that this is Spidey’s film. This flick is non-stop fun.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Spider-Man: Homecoming is rated PG-13. Like most Marvel movies it has moderate profanity scattered throughout (s-words, SOBS, etc) as well as one incompleted f-word that’s comedically interrupted. A teenage boy is seen shirtless when he gets into (and out of) his Spider-Man suit. A teenage girl is seen in a one-piece bathing suit. A teenage boy lies to his teacher, telling her he’s using a computer to “look at porn” (he’s not, he’s actually helping Spider-Man but doesn’t want to reveal that). As is common with these films there’s plentiful action violence with fighting, a villain incinerating a person with a ray gun, and civilians in peril.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Pride and arrogance can lead to huge mistakes. Love your enemies and do all you can to help them. Before aspiring to greater roles and responsibilities be content with your current situation and do as much good as you can there.
AT-HOME PICK: THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM
If you liked Spider-Man: Homecoming check out another flick where a teenager tries to prove himself a hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, in which a young man learns from Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Rent or buy it here.