Why Holland’s Spider-Man is the Hero We Need

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With our current political crisis, it is no wonder why superhero movies have been performing exceptionally at the box office. We seek an escape that provides us with the feeling that justice will prevail. As that feeling only lasts approximately 1 and 1/2 hours, we wait until another film comes out to fill that void. But when a film hits so close to home that the feeling exceeds its typical shell life, you find yourself sitting in front of the computer writing about Spider-Man: Homecoming.

True to its name, Homecoming is the return of Spider-Man. Packaged in all his quirkiness, Holland’s Spider-Man is the hero that we never knew we needed:

  1. Homecoming does not dwell in Spider-Man’s overplayed origin story.  This Peter Parker already has his powers and it is not until about halfway in the film that Peter briefly discusses the spider bite. And let’s face it, in our current society, we seem more concerned with the questions Who are you going to be? and What can you do? rather than Where did you come from? We value the effect more than the cause. Just ask anyone fresh out of college – no employer cares about the degree, they want experience.giphy1
  2. This Spider-Man is very familiar with the above scenario. Unlike Maguire’s Peter Parker who constantly underwent an identity crisis, Holland’s Spider-Man knows who he is and what he wants to do – however, he just has to prove himself to those who came before him. It is almost as if he is part of a generation that is doubted on the sole basis that they are born during their generation . . . Anyway, Holland’s Spider-Man wants to work with the Avengers yet he is never given a chance to prove himself while simultaneously being expected to prove himself (almost like being expected to get a job to gain experience while simultaneously being asked to have experience before getting a job).
  3. There is a scene in the film in which Parker’s friend, Ned, reveals that he has a connection to Spider-Man to impress Liz, the girl that Parker has been crushing on since the beginning of the film. Intrigued by this information, Liz invites Ned and Parker to her party. The two arrive, and after being antagonized by Manuel, Parker’s school rival, Parker suits up and plans to enter the party as Spider-Man to woo the crowd. But he never does. He does not risk his identity to win over the girl. In fact, he does not even end up with the girl. Whereas previous Spider-Man films have been dominated by the romantic Mary Jane arc, Homecoming provides us with a hero who must make sacrifices.
  4. Yet Parker, nor the audience, are upset over the loss of Liz because she isn’t what he chases after the entire film. Parker gets what he wants at the end, a full-time superhero gig. Surprisingly, Parker turns down Tony Stark’s offer to become an Avenger. Parker chooses to remain a “small-town” hero. The underdog has now become the hero for the rest of the underdogs.giphy2
  5. Despite being a superhero movie, the fighting scenes were not intense or noteworthy. Even the villain, the Vulture, seems insignificant compared to other candidates such as Green Goblin, Scorpion, etc. – villains that would have allowed for full utilization of special effects. There were no larger than life moments in the film, but that is because Holland’s Spider-Man is not a larger than life character.

Holland’s Spider-Man provides us with a hero who deals with external factors rather than an internal crisis. One that truly resembles its viewers, someone trying to make a name for themselves, without the glitz and glamour that is typically found among superheroes.

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