In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the newest addition to the wall climber’s adventures, some changes of minimal significance have been mad. His boss Iron-Man moves his headquarters from the center of Manhattan to “upstate,” so that his new building looks like so many other corporate headquarters in Westchester.
No longer content with matronly aunts for Peter Parker, the filmmakers have switched to a sexy aunt played by Marisa Tomei. Now the non-related male characters pay more attention to Peter’s aunt than they do to superheroes.
Much, of course, remains the same. The new Spidey, played by Tom Holland, is as boyish as Toby Maguire or Andrew Garfield. In this initial presentation, Peter is only a sophomore in high school, and obviously has much to learn. His super powers are new, and he is still a geek doing well in school but shy around girls.
So many Hollywood films have too many writers following too many plot lines, and end up messes. Marvel fares better in Spider-Man and most of its other features.
Interestingly enough, the web swinger is given two potential mentors. One is Iron Man, played with usual brilliance by Robert Downey, Jr., who guides Spidey along the trials toward the mature and wise exercise of his super powers.
But the Spider lad’s other potential mentor is no less interesting. He is, in fact, Spidey’s arch-nemesis Vulture, who is engaged in the business of illegally using and selling weapons made from alien materials. As played by Michael Keaton, Vulture has a mixture of menace and almost paternal interest toward the young super hero that makes their relationship both complex and layered.
If these mentor-protégé relationships do not fully develop as expected in the film, so do many potential relationships fail to develop in real life. Which leaves me on to the final subject: Spidey’s love life. This does not turn out well, at least in the new film. The girl Peter Parker likes presents special problems through her family.
But all is not perhaps lost. There is one brainy, geeky, grungy girl, played by Disney star Zendaya, who seems to be modelled after Ally Sheedy’s character in Breakfast Club. This marginal Brainiac, who seems to be genuinely interested in Peter despite all her insults, goes by the name of Michelle. But in one scene, she says, “My friends call me M.J.”
This has caused considerable excitement and speculation among Marvel fans. Is this quirky individual none other than Mary Jane, Spider-Man’s main love interest? Perhaps the sequel will tell us.
With regard to the movie’s ending, Marvel fanatics have come to expect a short scene after the final credits have been given. On this I say nothing.