If you’re not completely burnt out on superhero movies, you might be glad to know that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” swings into movie theaters this weekend. You’ll be less thrilled to know it’s another reboot of many's favorite web-slinging hero, but I imagine the movie will do pretty well at the box office anyway.
After all, Spider-Man has long been one of the most beloved characters in Marvel Comics history, so any chance to see him on the big screen is worth it for many. And in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” you see Spidey as you’ve never seen him on screen before — as a teenager played by a real teenager (Tom Holland).
Holland reprises his role as 15-year-old Peter Parker, who we last saw in a brief appearance in “Captain America: Civil War.” “Homecoming” jumps rights in, starting with Peter’s video diary explaining the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” Since then, Peter hasn’t been called to another mission with the Avengers, although his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), also known as Iron Man, has put his right-hand man Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in charge of keeping Peter out of trouble. Of course, Happy hasn’t responded to the hundreds of text messages from Peter asking when his next mission is, so he keeps himself busy with simple heroic tasks, like helping elderly ladies cross the street. We’re given a look inside Peter’s life as a nerdy high-school outcast. He and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) get excited over building a model Death Star from “Star Wars” and are bullied by Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), another geek on the school’s math team, while crushing on Liz (Laura Harrier). At home, he lives with his surrogate mom Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), who even Tony Stark thinks is “hot.”
When Peter accidentally stumbles upon a group of thugs moving alien-based weapons on the street, he goes to Tony, who encourages Peter to forget it and focus on being a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” Meanwhile, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a former construction engineer smuggling futuristic alien gear found or stolen after the alien attack from the first “Avengers” movie. He uses a vulture-like outfit to terrorize anyone who threatens his operation. Before long, Peter is hot on his trail, determined to stop him, even if he has to do it alone.
Here’s what parents need to know about “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
The movie is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. There’s more profanity than you’d expect from a movie aimed at families, but it’s not constant, and there are some concerning conversations. For example, the girls in Peter’s class play “Marry, F***, Kill” with members of the Avengers. His classmate Michelle (Zandaya) frequently insults Peter and others and gives a rude hand gesture during the school dance.
There is the usual comic-book style violence, but not as large-scale as seen in previous superhero movies. Peter disobeys those assigned as his guardians, and he risks his life for others throughout the movie.
Overall, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a fun frolic into the superhero genre. It features a diverse cast, and Holland as Peter is full of boyish enthusiasm that almost borders on the obnoxious at times. He’s like an exuberant puppy eager to run with the big dogs, but first, he has valuable life lessons to learn. The familiar messages are still here — about courage, sacrifice, and perseverance. Captain America (Chris Evans) also makes some funny cameos throughout the film (stay after the end credits for an extra laugh), encouraging kids to work hard, have patience and stay in school.
Tweens and teens will love this movie, but I’d use caution taking kids younger than 10 because of the language and subtext.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” opens in theaters nationwide July 7.