Then there’s Toomes, played by Michael Keaton. Not surprisingly, Keaton turns in a great performance as the main villain. Toomes successfully manages to be both a brutal antagonist and very much human. Not to dive too far into his motivations, the best villains are the ones who think they are the hero of the story, and Toomes clearly believes this. The MCU tends to get knocked for having a villain problem, but that isn’t the case here.
Unfortunately, beyond the three above, no characters introduced to the Marvel franchise are worth writing home about. Peter’s love interest, Liz, is nothing more than an object to either be desired or saved. Flash is fine as a corny high school bully, but that’s all he is. Aunt May seems wildly underutilized and only needed to exist to let the audience know Peter had a guardian.
Given that “Homecoming” is set in the MCU, it struggles with the usual question: there’s so many powerful heroes out there… Why not call one of them? The presence of Iron Man vets Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau could have turned out to be overpowering and distracting, but they actually prove to benefit the plot. Stark is used just enough as a father figure and guardian angel for Parker while giving some grounding to the proceedings, going so far as to state that Parker’s battle with Toomes was “below [The Avengers’] pay grade.” It’s a smart inclusion in a world that needs a number of conceits to be even remotely believable.
Beyond the superhero fare, watching Parker being a high school nerd is a surprisingly large amount of the action, and if you like those John Hughes movies, you’re going to enjoy this. Clear inspiration is being drawn from those movies, although it was nice when the movie was just winking and nudging as opposed to flat out plastering it on the screen as it happened with a “Ferris Bueller” reference.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is just a ton of fun, period. Whether it be watching Parker bumble around as Spider-Man or as a high school sophomore, I enjoyed the ride start to finish. The movie shares a lot of DNA with “Ant-Man” in that it successfully makes a fun movie that just happens to include some superhero stuff too. Sure, there are a few throwaway characters and better use could have been made of its resources, but “Homecoming” nails the important stuff, namely its hero and villain. A-