In a cinematic world where superheroes are as diverse as a stack of A4 white paper, comes the third (and mostly unneeded, but incredibly relevant) rendition of Spiderman since the 2000s.

Tom Holland plays a 15-year-old Peter Parker in the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe instalment, but instead of going through the well-known origin story, it starts directly after the events of Captain America: Civil War (where he first appeared). The movie itself was met with scepticism by a lot of fans. Why another Spiderman?

Instead of casting stereotypes, they cast people

Marvel could have made a smart decision with this remake. They had a much newer, much younger, and much more modern version of Spiderman that they could have utilised – 14-year-old African-American successor to the title, Miles Morales. Needless to say, the casting choice made many liberal comic fans groan with disappointment as yet another young white man was given a main role. The worst part, in my opinion, about Spiderman: Homecoming was how the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed to have ripped off parts of Miles Morales’ storyline in the creation of this movie, from aging Peter Parker down significantly to giving him a supportive fat Asian best friend. I screamed in agonising frustration over their capitalistic choices.

Objectively, Spiderman: Homecoming was a decent movie. It was well-written for the most part, with great humorous moments and an interestingly-arranged storyline. The effects surpassed expectations, though it had the classic Marvel issue of terrible colour-grading, washing out a lot of the scenes and making them difficult to watch or even process. What this movie does give us is a world that is refreshingly diverse, giving us an Asian principal instead of the stereotypical black one, a mixed-race love interest, an Indian bully, and many more. Instead of casting stereotypes, they cast people, and it was a beautiful moment to realise how out-of-place Peter Parker looked as the whitest character at school.

What we are given is a highly softened and rose-tinted world of superheroes, where nothing can ever go wrong.

However, Marvel seems to be edging towards a style of writing that seems to emulate their rival, DC Comics – that is to say, they are not editing their movies for content. The runtime of the movie was approximately two and a half hours, a lot of which was unnecessary filler fluff. Certain scenes, such as Spiderman’s hectic chase scene as he crashes through residential houses, were brilliantly choreographed (though let down by awful colouring), showing the audience just how flustered and inexperienced this Spiderman is. On the other hand, they fell back into their self-indulgent excessive fight scenes in the end, and these scenes lasted far too long with no actual point to them. Even worse, those fight scenes were pretty much a black background with a black plane, the faded visage of Spiderman, and flashing lights they probably should have slapped an epilepsy warning on. All this just added to the absolutely chaotic mess that it was. Spiderman literally gets crushed by building debris and just walks it off… because he’s Spiderman. Talk about suspension of disbelief.

There was a huge imbalance between how relatable Peter Parker’s life felt, and the lack of consequences he faced in his adventures. He gets beat up by a giant flying mechanical bird, crashes into the ground with a cargo plane that is on fire, and all he has to show for it is a slightly bruised cheek. Not to mention in all the chaos he causes, like accidentally burning down a local bodega and slicing a ferry in half, nobody dies. There are no casualties, and thus no consequences. What we are given is a highly softened and rose-tinted world of superheroes, where nothing can ever go wrong.

Overall, the first half of the movie was enjoyable, as it showed a more human and fun element of superheroes that we didn’t get in most of the previous Marvel movies. It was also great to see a diverse set of background characters that were characters in their own right instead of half-baked racial stereotypes. It was severely let down by its extended runtime, excessive fight scenes, and bad colour-grading. And I’m still very bitter about their choice to snub Miles Morales in favour of another white Peter Parker variant.

Mei Lian Hoe


Image: Marvel Studios

Mei is a third year English Literature undergraduate at University College London. They can usually be found crying about having too much to read or getting into heated debates about superhero films. They enjoy reading comics, talking about comics, making comics, and thinking about comics. Outside of that narrow sphere, they dabble in the arts: illustration, creative writing, playwrighting, and existential contemplation. They have helped with the direction and production of multiple shows in UCLU Drama Society. They are also a budding actor: they act like everything is okay, every day. Mei mostly spends their days thinking about the apocalypse…

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