Mission Lab 2018

REVIEW: What parents should know about ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

July 7th, 2017 / By: Michael Foust / comments

REVIEW: What parents should know about ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Peter Parker is like many other high school students: insecure, easily embarrassed, and a little awkward. Of course, there’s one thing that sets this 15-year-old apart: super-duper strength and an uncanny ability to scale skyscrapers with spider-like webs.

Other teenagers would be thrilled to have his powers, but Parker isn’t content with catching run-of-the-mill thieves in the big city, even if Tony Stark – that’s Iron Man – encourages him to “build up” his game.

“I’m ready for more than that!” Parker says.

Will Stark allow Parker to trade algebra classes for a slot on the Avengers?

Spider-Man: Homecoming (PG-13) opens this weekend, giving us the second reboot of the popular Marvel franchise in the past 15 years, not to mention the third actor in the main role. This new “Spidey” film -- No. 6, if you’re counting – spotlights Parker’s high school days in ways that the previous movies did not, showcasing his growth not simply as a teenager but also as a budding superhero.

In Homecoming, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) tries to stop a villain named Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keaton), who is using alien stuff (from the “Chitauri” race) to build and sell dangerous weapons on the black market. That’s bad enough, but these weapons are so powerful they could destroy Spider-Man and perhaps the Avengers, too.  

Spider-Man: Homecoming is my favorite superhero film yet of 2017, although it has quite a few content problems. Here’s what parents need to know:

Violence/Disturbing

Moderate. Like all Avengers-realm films, there’s plenty of punching, kicking and shooting, but it’s mostly of the comic-like bloodless variety. And the bad guy (Vulture) is a man dressed up in a costume with wings; for young families, that keeps the disturbing element low.

Sexuality/Sensuality/Nudity

Moderate. Stark jokes that he wants Parker’s aunt to wear “something skimpy” (she’s not around when he says this). Another man says Parker’s aunt is a “hot Italian woman.” Parker, in an alley, strips down to his boxers and dons his costume. We see Parker’s crush in a one-piece swimsuit. A man and woman share a brief kiss. Parker’s friend, caught in a computer lab helping Parker catch the bad guys, covers his antics by telling a teacher: “I’m looking at porn.”  

Coarse Language

Moderate/excessive. I counted about 30 coarse words: he-- (10), a-- (5), da-- (4), OMG (4) sh-- (2), misuse of “God” (2), ba---rd (2). Parker is among the characters who curse. There’s also one unfinished f-word. Finally, there’s a scene in which a DJ leads a chant mocking Parker but instead uses the common name for the male anatomy (pe--s Parker).

Christian Images/Dialogue

None.

Life Lessons

Parker’s not happy with the daily grind. He wants to go to the “big show.” But we’re all like that, aren’t we? We’re not happy with the mundane. We want something better. Our goal should be that of the Apostle Paul: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Parker also provides us a positive lesson on vengeance. When given the option of killing bad guys, he doesn’t.  

Worldview

Even though Christianity isn’t referenced, this is a world where good triumphs over evil and the two are clearly delineated.

Family-Friendly?

There were a few moments that would have made me squirm if I had brought my young ones. (“Daddy, what’s porn?”). Most families would consider this one OK for teens, but for little ones, it’s probably not family-friendly.   

Movie Partners

Pizza Hut and General Mills are two of the corporate partners.

What I Liked

Everyone wants to know: Who is Spider-Man? The movie goes from good to great when one of Parker’s school friends – Ned (Jacob Batalon) – finds out. The two form a hilarious regular person-superhero duo that many other superhero films lack. More, please.

What I Didn’t Like

Movies shouldn’t assume too much knowledge on the part of moviegoers. In Homecoming, we are expected to know why glowing alien stuff is all over Planet Earth. I did know, but it’s never explained.  

Thumbs Up … Or Down?

Rarely do I watch a two-hour movie and want it to continue. But that was the case with this one. Parker’s interaction with his high school classmates is quite enjoyable, and the story has enough twists and turns -- some shocking – that I didn’t want it to end. Thumbs up.    

Discussion Questions

1. Why do we have so much trouble being content in life?

2. Did you see any bullying in the film? If so, what would you have done in that situation? How can you help prevent bullying?

3. Should Spider-Man have killed the bad guys? Why or why not?  

4. What do you like more – Marvel or D.C. Comics superheroes? Why?

Spiderman: Homecoming is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.

Entertainment rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.