Gabrielle’s review published on Letterboxd:
If you're nothing without this suit, then you shouldn't have it.
How long have I waited for this movie - this specific movie, in many different ways.
Let's go back in time a little - I feel like I do that a lot in my reviews, don't I? Anyway... The year is 2008. Iron Man had just came out, I went to see it with my father, and I didn't know shit about the shared universe plans, so when Nick Fury suddenly showed up at the end and said "You think you're the only superhero in the world?", I flipped. They were going to make an Avengers movie. Superheroes would crossover with different superheroes in their movies. Back then there was no such thing, and I grew up watching cartoons, reading comics and playing videogames where that happened all the time and I've always wanted that in a movie. Immediately I thought of Spider-Man. I didn't understand or care about studios and that kind of thing back then, so for a brief time I thought if they were going to use Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man. Time went by, I learned about the different studios and understood that that Spider-Man wouldn't be joining in, but I always knew, one day they would bring Spider-Man in, and so I waited. There were several rumors when Sony rebooted it into Marc Webb's films, but those didn't live long.
9 years later, and here we are. As a second franchise reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming skips the already beaten origin story of the webslinger and instead focuses on being a coming of age story about an already operative Spider-Man who needs to learn about his powers and understand what's his role in the world as a superhero. What I've loved most about this from day one is that this Peter Parker is, by all means, a kid. A 15 year old kid at highschool. Before Tom Holland I had never seen the irony in him calling himself Spider-Man, and what makes it so necessary for this story is that is a little hard for him to be taken seriously when he says he's "Spider-Man", not only by his mentor Tony Stark or other characters, but also by us, the audience. The essence of Peter's arc here is him earning that respect from us, and that's what makes it the perfect superhero coming of age movie.
Stan Lee has said that Spider-Man is one of the most relatable superheroes because he's got everyday people's problems, and Homecoming is one of the movies that best portray that in general, but it's so unique because this time it actually is a highschool movie. Peter has to make it in time for tests, he has to worry about getting detention, he has to choose between pursuing the bad guys or going to the pool with his friends, he has the Homecoming Dance to go, and all that. That's all portrayed with a hilarious sense of teenage humor that no Spider-Man movie has ever had, and that was something specially darling to see. The dialogues are crazy good, the spontaneity of the jokes makes them all the more funny, and the subtle references to icons of its genres are the best - there is a scene here where Spider-Man imitates a certain character, and I'm still laughing at it.
Tom Holland embodies all those teenage dramas so perfectly well because they're still fresh for him, as they are for me and my friends. 20 year olds are gonna see this movie and get thrown back to their own teen's, making not only this a very relatable movie, but also a nostalgic one. Marisa Tomei's younger Aunt May was also very fun; she reminds me a lil' bit of Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls? She was great in the part and it feels more refreshing than it sounds like that they found this way to have a completely new depiction of May, being that another one of the movie's many charms.
The one thing I didn't want this movie to be was another Doctor Strange or Civil War; while I did enjoy those films, I recognize that the first was very bland in identity and generic in plot, and the latter required too much of the universe outside of Captain America to work. I'm not saying this was a flaw in Civil War, of course that movie is supposed to be like that, but not this one. I was sick and tired of every Marvel movie being a set up for Infinity War, always saying "infinity stone this, infinity stone that". I'm glad to report that Homecoming didn't fall in none of those traps. It manages to make itself comfortable at this universe with references every now and then, but never does it feel derivative. First and foremost, this is a Spider-Man movie, which brings with it a lot of Spidey's own universe, and this movie has its style. While not as flashy as James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Homecoming states its own aesthetic traits from the very beginning. The cinematography is far from being as bland as some Marvel films of late; Jon Watts' film is very colorful, but most importantly it knows how to use its colors. The montage and music use are very dynamic and fun, the obvious influence being John Hughes, and Watts not only achieves the vibe he's aiming for, but also pays nice nods to its inspirations in a comedic way that works so well with the style of the film itself.
Here's one thing I never thought I'd say: the Vulture was amazing. It's so weirdly surprising that in a cinematic universe not exactly known for great villains would have such an interesting, layered and menacing one, and it's the Vulture of all things! A lot of it is due to the screenwriting - so well realized that I can't believe it was penned by so many names - which builds Vulture's arc and role in the film patiently but surely, however we also have to thank Michael Keaton, the most qualified actor for flying-creature related roles. Keaton has a very strong screen presence here, he makes himself at home with this character and builds such a powerful aura around him that the whole theater audibly reacted to one specific moment.
Jon Watts' direction was also something that catched more of my attention than I was expecting. He's a solid, confident director who knows how to go from fun and dynamic to tense and claustrophobic, and again there's one particular scene that I can't spoil, but I will say that it stood out mainly for its intimacy, and how Watts frames the characters and uses the colors revolving around them.
Speaking of intimacy, it's also a breath a fresh air to see a superhero movie where the stakes are not titanic. It feels personal, and it actually reminded me a bit of how Sam Raimi's first movie played out its narrative in some moments. It's an intimate superhero movie, and there was no better way to introduce a Spider-Man franchise, because this is what Spider-Man is all about after all.
Michael Giacchino's score is also spectacular, undoubtedly the best Spidey score since Elfman's. It's one of the most memorable MCU scores, and it perfectly captures that sense of intimacy just as well as its most epic heroic moments. The Vulture also had a badass theme which added so much to the figure of Keaton, that was already strong by itself. Please, Marvel, don't screw this up, keep Giacchino - or at the very least the themes he composed - for the next movies.
Ultimately, I can only end this by saying that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fresh entry to the MCU and the Spider-Man legacy. It's tons of fun and it succeeds in the hardest job a second reboot in less than a decade has: being new and unique. As a friend of mine said, there has never been a Spider-Man movie like this before, and I sure as hell hope there'll be many more. Spidey has come home indeed.