starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr.
screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Eric Sommers
directed by Jon Watts
by Walter Chaw A painfully adequate entry in the ever-expanding MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming has the benefit of a brilliant young lead in Tom Holland and a fantastically-layered villain turn by Michael Keaton, but it bears the burden of all the films that came before it and all those yet to come. There's a lot of checking-off of boxes, in other words, with Homecoming reminding most of Ant-Man in that there seems to be a good standalone movie in here somewhere that keeps getting diverted into looking backwards and forwards. There was an episode of "St. Elsewhere" where a patient believed himself to be Mary Richards of the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Midway through, he spots Betty White, who had a recurring role on "St. Elsewhere", and calls out "Sue Ann!," the name of her character on "Mary Tyler Moore". Both programs were produced by MTM, by the way, the company founded by Moore and ex-husband Grant Tinker. To enjoy that episode of the show completely would require knowledge of the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its production company. It's a living example of the concept of post-modernism: a product based on nothing but itself and reliant entirely on the insular knowledge of a small group of fetishists. Such is the fire in which fandom is born, and Spider-Man: Homecoming is the natural product of that: an origin story that doesn't provide an origin because the previous incarnations of this story have provided it already; and film number 19 or 20 or something in a series that includes television shows and comic-book runs that, at this point, would require someone with absolutely nothing else to do to keep track of it. That's another fire in which fandom is born.