Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
High school crushes
How to deal with bullies in a godly way
Issues involved in leading a double life, keeping secrets from family and friends
Courage / bravery / self-sacrifice
About humility versus pride
Why do so many people take on a life of crime?
Where did man’s darkside come from? Fall of man to depravity
Tom Holland … Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Michael Keaton … Adrian Toomes / Vulture
Robert Downey Jr. … Tony Stark / Iron Man
Marisa Tomei … Aunt May Parker
Jon Favreau … Happy Hogan
Gwyneth Paltrow … Pepper Potts
Jacob Batalon … Ned, Peter’s best friend
Zendaya … “MJ”—Michelle Jones
Laura Harrier … Liz Toomes, Adrian’s daughter—Peter’s love interest.
Tyne Daly … Anne Marie Hoag, head of the U.S. Department of Damage Control
Donald Glover … Aaron Davis, a criminal
Tony Revolori … Flash Thompson, Peter’s rival and classmate
See all »
|Director||Jon Watts—“Cop Car” (2015), “The Onion News Network” (2011-2012)—a parody television news show with lots of fake news and a far-Leftist slant, launched by The Onion, which New Republic called “America’s Finest Marxist News Source” taking “on a decidedly darker—and more subversive—bent”)|
See all »
|Distributor||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
Introduced in Marvel’s “Civil War” (2016), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is a brash young ‘up and coming’ super-hero who was called up into the big leagues to help Iron Man tackle half of the Avengers. Picking up soon after the events of that film, Peter continues to play a waiting game, hoping that one day Iron Man will need him again. Meanwhile, he does what any 15-year old in high school does—crush on a Senior girl (Liz played by Laura Harrier), and build Lego starships with his best friend Ned, while also playing ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’—fighting small time crime in Queen’s New York.
Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a former salvage operator who acquired some alien technology left over from the Avenger’s clash in New York, back in 2012 (“Marvel’s The Avengers”) and now uses those weapons as ‘The Vulture,’ covertly leading a criminal organization. During one of his gang’s bank heists, Spider-Man happens across them—surprised by their over-powering weaponry and their leader, he barely escapes with his life.
Now out to prove he is Avengers material, Peter decides to track and take down The Vulture’s team, all by himself.
Sony’s third launch of the Spider-Man franchise relies on the audience’s familiarity with the super-hero, and, therefore, no origin story is provided. There is no explanation about how he received his powers, other than a comment about a spider bite, nor why he decides to fight crime, aside from his desire to stop “bad things from happening” and help “the little guy,” which was said in the film “Civil War,” not here. By not covering how he started, the film deftly avoids portraying a torment-filled, guilt-driven Peter Parker, instead focusing on the life of one lucky kid who is both a full-time high school student and rookie superhero. The result of this approach to the material is that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the most light-hearted, and, in many ways, the most fun Spider-Man to date.
However, inappropriate content tarnishes the final product.
LANGUAGE—The Lord’s name is taken in vain 10 times—“Oh my G*d” (5), “G*d” (5), plus “d*mn” (7). Crude and inappropriate language includes: “What the f*ck,” the middle finger signifying the f-word (displayed by the girl Michelle), and the last thing said in the movie is a cut-off f-word (the audience laughed, indicating that the implied word is clear.
Perhaps most disturbingly, this almost finished f-word comes from AUNT MAY. Twice the word fri**in is used (a euphemism for the f-word). During a party scene, Peter’s jealous teammate plays DJ and gets the party-goers to sing Peter Parker’s name, only he has substitutes the word “penis” for “Peter”—5 times. Other vulgarities include: “a**-h***” (1), “a**” (4), “bu**-sh**” (2), “sh**” (2), “cr*p” (4), “scr*w” (5), “s*cks” (1), “b*strd” (2), “b*lls” (slang for gutsy) (1), and a curse is ‘bleeped’ out.
NUDITY—The high school team Peter is on decides to go to swimming party, and there is a brief scene of some of the girls in bikinis—but no prolonged views. Peter, having just changed out of his costume, is caught in boxer briefs and shirtless by Aunt May, who just tells him to get dressed. Later, Peter is again seen in his boxers.
SEXUALITY—Teenagers flirt, and sexual innuendo comes both from adults and teens. Aunt May is the subject when Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) talks about her wearing a skimpy outfit, and, later, a local business owner exclaims how “very hot” she is. However, what is implied by students in the movie is far worse. At Liz’s party, one of the young girls talks about what she would do (physically) with one of the Avengers, saying she would, “‘F’ Thor.” This is not something you want to have to explain to your youngsters, let alone hear yourself.
Equally disturbing is a scene where high schooler Ned is on a school computer helping Spider-Man. He is caught by a teacher and lies, saying he is watching “porn” (pornography). Parents of younger children should be livid. Why introduce this subject in a movie clearly marketed to include kids and young teens. For many reasons, porn is not a laughing matter, or in any way acceptable.
VIOLENCE—Mostly bloodless, there are numerous fights involving high-powered weapons, usually directed at Spider-Man. Guns are used and sniper rifles aimed, but they are not shown hitting their targets. Cars and buses are thrown about, and explosion rips through the top of an elevator threatening the lives of its occupants, including kids. Another weapon cuts through a ferry, full of people, and some criminals are seen pressed toward drowing by the cascading cars. A powerful laser cuts through a bank, as well as a grocery store across the street, almost killing the owner. Spider-Man is dragged behind a van he is pursuing and later is in great distress after being almost buried alive. Toomes, as The Vulture, punches and claws Spider-Man at close range and drops him from a great height.
A henchman is the victim of the film’s most grisly death, when he challenges The Vulture. While most of the violence can be characterized as ‘comic-book’ variety, this instance is particularly gruesome, and parents of younger children need to be doubly concerned because of it.
HISTORICAL REVISIONISM—On a separate topic, but one that warrants mentioning, there is a scene at the Washington Monument where Michelle (Zendaya ) claims it was built by slaves, although there is no historical evidence to support this. As for why Director Jon Watts chose to make up history for a comic moment, one needs to look no further than his experience with The Onion News Network, which openly parodies today’s news, while presenting it ‘jokingly’ as fact. Unfortunately, many will see this film and believe this blatantly political bit of revisionist history.
HUMILITY—As with most Marvel heroes, Spider-Man exemplifies some positive virtues, and the lack of virtue in the main villain is instructive, as well—contrasting the selflessness of Spider-Man to the rage and embrace of evil by Toomes (The Vulture).
SELFLESSNESS—Although we know nothing about Peter’s upbringing, from this film, it seems that he was raised with a somewhat humble heart. He also looks out for the well-being of others and the ‘greater good.’ Whether he is faced with the choice of going to a party or investigating a crime—or, in another instance, when he is confronted with choosing between enjoying his Homecoming versus chasing down a villain, Peter repeatedly makes the right and selfless decision, just as the Bible advises us all.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
—Philippians 2:4 ESV
On the other side of this coin, we have Peter’s prideful teammate, who, in the midst of a disaster, isn’t thinking of others, but only of himself and his trophy.
Spider-Man’s good heart is perhaps best demonstrated when he has the chance to walk away from a fight as the victor, but chooses instead to risk his life and come to the aid of his enemy, just as Holy Scripture encourages us to do.
RAGE—Toomes is quick tempered and we see from the beginning that, even though he has a legitimate business, he lets his anger rule over his emotions—turning to a life of violent crime. By the time he crosses paths with our hero 8 years later, he no longer thinks twice about killing a man. This unbridled emotion is warned against by the Word of God.
“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” —Colossians 3:8 NIV
SIN—One of the consequences of sin is how it changes our perceptions and how easily our conscience begins to accept things we would never have considered before. The best example of how far The Vulture has fallen is when he accidentally kills a henchman, but shows only surprise and no regret, whatsoever.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” —1 Timothy 4:1-2 KJV
Kudos to Tom Holland (Peter/Spider-Man) who plays the central character with an enthusiasm and innocence that is a welcome change from the norm. The nods to the previous films, along with entertaining scenes that appear literally ripped from the comic books, mostly overshadow the flaws in the script.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” while mostly enjoyable, walks a fine line between being closely faithful to the original source material—that was geared toward kids and young teens—and straying as far as possible from being family-friendly, in order to acquiesce to the deteriorating morés of contemporary society. For this reason, the latest re-launch of Spider-Man is an unwholesome film, especially for young children who depend on their parents for wise discernment.
Violence: Heavy / Language: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.