Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Spider-Man: Homecoming

“Girls Trip” is also new to Blu-Ray this week. 

The third time’s the charm. At least it is for the “Spider-Man” franchise now that it can be brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and done some justice.

One of the best moves toward that end is the casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The character is 15 years old, and he actually looks fifteen. Holland perfectly encapsulates the body, mind, and spirit of a smart, awkward high schooler from Brooklyn who has to keep up his grades, has crushes on girls, and does what he can to make his guardian, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), happy. The fact that Parker was bit by a spider and imbued with super powers so he could don superhero tights to fight crime is just an extra added dimension to the character.

Since Spider-Man is such a major pop culture icon, and given the fact that twice in the past 15 years we have seen this character’s origin story, the powers that be behind “Homecoming” decided to forego yet another re-telling of how Peter learns that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Instead, we dive head first into the action, picking up a few months after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” in which Spider-Man fought alongside Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and his team.

Peter wants to do more to help out the Avengers. Tony Stark, however, doesn’t believe that Peter is up to being a full-fledged Avenger just yet. He encourages his young protégé to stay in school in Brooklyn and just be a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” Stark also asks his bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to look after Peter and make sure he stays out of trouble.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” wouldn’t be much of an action/adventure movie if Peter didn’t find some trouble, or if it didn’t find him. It comes in the person of Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). After the destruction of Manhattan seen in the first “Avengers” movie, Toomes and his team are given a contract by the government to clean up and salvage. He sinks a lot of money into his salvage operation, and just as he begins work he is told by a callous government bureaucrat (Tyne Daly) that he and his crew are no longer needed. Good thing one of his trucks was already loaded up with some alien technology. Flash forward eight years to the present day, and Toomes is making and selling alien tech-based weapons on the black market.

Fatherhood and the role of father figures plays a huge part in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Toomes himself is a father. He does what he does because his family would have been in serious financial trouble if he didn’t take action. There is also the Stark-Parker dynamic. The two are very much alike and sometimes so much so that they butt heads. Stark takes Parker under his wing to guide and mentor him as part of the “Stark Internship Program” and he looks after Parker in a very personal and fatherly way. Likewise, Parker lacked a strong male role model in his life until Stark came along, and he looks up to Stark as the man he wants to be. There’s a great father-son type moment after a big event, where Parker goes off on Stark and accuses him of not being there for him. What happens next made my heart skip a beat.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” does it right. It has a sympathetic, relatable main character, an entertaining story, and some great action set pieces. There are also some hearty laughs to be had whenever Captain America (Chris Evans) shows up on a television monitor in Peter’s school to deliver a PSA. Before playing one of these, Coach Wilson (Hannibal Buress) states the funniest and most insightful line in the movie. However, after all of this, it is the fatherly themes and the little moments that resonate the most. Those are what really help to set the movie apart and are the reason to Buy it: Spider-Man: Homecoming [Blu-ray].

More New Releases: “Girls Trip,” about four lifelong friends who take a trip together to New Orleans, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish; “Justice,” in which a U.S. Marshal seeking justice for his brother's murder defends a small town from a corrupt Mayor and his henchmen, starring Stephen Lang; and “Frankenshark,” a movie title that speaks for itself.

Andrew Hudak is a lifelong film lover. His column on Blu-Ray new releases appears every Tuesday. He lives in Connecticut.

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