Toomes, as part of his Motive Rant, talks about the rich and powerful taking what they want and not caring about the little guy. At the beginning of the movie he experiences this first hand when he was financially hurt and treated with a complete lack of respect when the Department of Damage Control took over his contract. He uses this experience to justify his decision to become a Chitauri tech arms dealer. After 8 years of "business is good", however, he no longer appears to be a "blue collar little guy" anymore given his expensive multi-story house in the suburbs and the Jaguar car he is now driving. His Motive Rant of being "a little guy stepped on by the rich and powerful" while still justified and true to his experiences over times becomes less of a Freudian Excuse and more of a denial/justification that he's actually Just a Gangster.
Is Tony Stark really becoming a more responsible superhero and adult by mentoring Peter and becoming a Parental Substitute or is he merely repeating the exact same way his father Howard treated him, such as dealing with Peter through intermediaries (Happy Hogan, the remote Iron Man Suit), not really responding to Peter's calls or explaining fully his plans for him, and more or less compensating and making up for his treatment by grand gifts such as giving Peter the spider-suit and then letting him keep it, then making him an Avenger by giving him a better suit. Also, from the way Tony Stark dismissively mocks Vulture and/or the petty criminals he supplies as "below his pay grade" and then snarks patronizingly at Peter at the end for choosing to be a Working-Class Hero, including citing the same phrase, does the film suggest that deep down Tony is a class snob or was he being sincere about Peter being "mature" by turning him down and confirming Peter's suspicions that the genuine offer was a test? This way, Peter can walk out feeling that his mentor validated his decision and doesn't have to feel conflicted about turning him down.
Are Tonys Working-Class Hero and "pay grade" comments meant to be taken as dismissive and patronizing, a relatively innocuous and genuine observation about the threat, or an example of how badly he underestimates Toomes? This is especially likely given that the Vulture really is a few steps below any of the threats we see the Avengers called on to handle but on the other hand the Vulture is near the level of say Vanko in Iron Man 2 or Stane in Iron Man, and dismissing and underestimating people is what led to Killian and Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Vanko for instance threatened an expo in Queens, whereas the Vulture and his operation have spread out from New York suburbs to Maryland and beyond, despite not having the backing of Hammer, and Tony needed War Machine to take down Vanko whereas Spider-Man actually did take out Vulture on his own.
Is Tony's claim that Captain America went easy on Spider-Man really the truth, or just a Gaslighting trick used by The Mentor to reign in his plucky over-eager student so as to ensure his authority is not challenged? After all, Tony has a well known Control Freak and manipulative tendency, and he misled Peter about the airport battle (saying that Steve went crazy rather than the full details of the Sokovia Accords) and in the end passed off Peter's rejection of the Avengers as a Secret Test of Character on Peter's suggestion.
Did Toomes refuse to give up Peter's identity because he understood that the boy didn't deserve to die by the hands of Gargan and his thugs, or out of gratitude for saving his and his daughter's lives and knowing that his daughter would likely never forgive him if he did, or does he just want to kill Peter himself?Word of God suggests it's a combination of the first two options. Was Toomes' really willing to kill Peter's family, or was it an idle threat? Considering he's somewhat reluctant to even kill Peter himself, who is a clear and present danger to his operation, it might seem slightly out of character for him to kill people only tangentially related to his foe. Was Toomes's Accidental Murder of a rogue subordinate actually an accident? Or did did he just act like it was in order to put the remaining members of his gang at ease?
It's highly doubtful, but there's also the possibility that he might have been trying to do them a favor. Gargan has a big mouth and talks tough, but he and friends would stand absolutely no chance against Spider-Man, and Peter wouldn't hesitate to take the gloves off if they threatened May or any of his friends.
Does Liz sincerely reciprocate Peter's crush on her, or is she just trying to be a friend to someone she suspects of having serious issues? A deleted scene featured her giving him a clearly romantic kiss, and Toomes offhandedly mentions that she does like him, suggesting the former.
Is Michelle a genuine Holier Than ThouDeadpan SnarkerJerkass, or is she just trying and failing to be funny? Some of her actions and the way she says certain lines suggest that she may just be trying to initiate Snark-to-Snark Combat in a good-humored way but is so dry and awkward that it fails and she comes across as mean, in an almost Ambiguous Disorder kind of way (which may even explain why she reads more than she interacts with people). Drawing that picture of Peter and pulling a funny face while he's in detention (which she doesn't have, no less)...? Alternatively, is her behavior toward Peter rooted in an attraction to him that she doesn't know how to appropriately act on? The following film confirms all of these interpretations: MJ really does like to be Brutally Honest, but it comes at the cost of her not knowing how to get close to people and results in her being the outcast she is; and she genuinely has no idea how to put herself out there and confess her romantic feelings for Peter.
Karen. Is she genuinely a more gentle and attentive voice than JARVIS or FRIDAY? Or does she actually retain the snark of the two, but it takes the form of a condescending tone that treats Peter like a precocious baby? Her dialogue and Jennifer Connelly's delivery gives credence to both interpretations.
Was Peter rejecting Tony Stark's offer of joining the Avengers at the end of Homecoming a sign of his maturity that he's accepted he's not ready yet for the Avengers, or does he actually come around to agree with Vulture's criticism that Iron Man doesn't truly care for the little guy? When Peter rejects joining the Avengers, he uses the same "defending the little guy" line that partially echoes Toomes' rant to him at the warehouse. Perhaps Spider-Man's decision at the end stems from him internalizing Tony's observation that he should be better than Iron Man by at least partially accepting and assimilating his enemy's criticism of his mentor, and seeing him Warts and All, which was also made by his Aunt May who noted earlier that she found Tony a shady figure, similar to how T'Challa also accepts Erik Killmonger's ideas but rejects his methods at the end of Black Panther (2018).
Fans were thrilled that Spider-Man: Homecoming would not rehash and do the origin again since fans had already seen the same plot happen twice in both Sam Raimi's and Marc Webb's films and were dreading overexposure and Sequelitis, and were happy that Marvel found a way to bring Peter into the continuity without doing the origin right off the mark. That said, it is hinted at when Peter discusses the "stuff going on with Aunt May."
Also, the films make changes regarding Peter Parker's background as a high schooler as well as Spider-Man to ensure that these films can be their own thing, as The Amazing Spider-Man films were criticized for being too similar to the Sam Raimi films as well as making too many callbacks to them, which made those films struggle to have their own identity as a Spider-Man film series.
The premise being a much more grounded and straightforward story, simply focusing on Peter trying to balance his high school/superhero life, went over well since this part was subject to Adaptation Distillation in the previous Spider-Man movies.
Sony, after the conflicting reactions to the Amazing Spider-Man reboot, choosing to allow Marvel to take creative control over the Spider-Man franchise (or, at least, the main installments of the film series) was seen as a redeeming move in a large segment of the comic book movie fan community.
One complaint about Civil War was how Tony effectively drafted Peter (at the age of fifteen) into joining a war he had no personal stakes in. Not only does Homecoming confirm that Tony wouldn't have brought Peter into the fight if he believed Team Cap had intended any serious harm, but the film goes out of the way to depict Tony acting a lot more cautious and protective of him — urging him to stay out of trouble and making it clear that he isn't joining the Avengers, at least not yet.
Another complaint about Civil War and Spider-Man is that given his belief that people like him with superpowers are at fault if they do nothing it is out of character for Peter not to be on Captain America's side. This movie fixes this by establishing that Peter was kept in the dark about what the fight was about and Tony just drafted him and told him that Cap "went crazy".
Marvel's decision to focus on villains who hadn't already been used in the previous movies like Vulture and Shocker, especially after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was criticized for rehashing the Osborn saga which was dealt with in the Spider-Man Trilogy.
After being criticized for a string of fairly forgettable and one-dimensional villains during Phase 2, Marvel gave Adrian Toomes more characterization and depth with many critics calling Toomes' one of the best parts of the movie, continuing the streak of engaging villains that MCU has put out since the start of Phase 3, and he avertsSuperhero Movie Villains Die and is only imprisoned.
People who were massively disappointed that Miles Morales didn't get to be the MCU's Spider-Man were pleasantly surprised by a bone that was thrown their way when it turned out that Donald Glover's character is Aaron Davis, and he specifically alludes to wanting to keep his nephew — who has been confirmed to be Miles — safe.
For those who worry about Peter being overreliant with the upgraded suit and web-shooters Stark gave him, the film shows many scenes that prove that he's capable of doing things like still creating and improving his own web fluid despite getting new web fluid, hacking into his own suit and disabling its tracker (with Ned's help), and ultimately saving the day with his old web-shooters and costume.
Badass Decay: Some fans were dissatisfied that Spidey went from holding his own against some of the best heroes in the MCU in Civil War to apparently losing most of his fights with the villains in this movie and being unable to apprehend them. Spider-Man appeared more accomplished in Civil War because both Avengers factions were fighting to decommission each other non-lethally rather than the life-and-death stuff of regular superheroics. His fights in Civil War were also melee or fist fights, here his opponents either have the element of surprise or an environmental advantage, and in Civil War Peter often got too cocky or carried away with his abilities either by talking too much and underestimating his opponent's cunningnote Even the oft-referenced engagement between Spider-Man and Captain America showed that Cap quickly assessed that Spider-Man was a kid and not an experienced fighter, leading Cap to shift his strategy, escaping his webbing and then pinning down Peter, since Spider-Man wasn't the first nor the last superpowered figure Steve fought and took out, and at the end of that film he laid the smack down on Tony Stark making the latter speak from experience when he said "Cap could have laid you low if he wanted to". Furthermore, in Homecoming, Peter is still pretty capable and powerful, with his only defeats happening because of his underestimation of his opponents, or his inexperienced bungling of the suit capabilities.
Spider-Man himself can't seem to escape this. Those who love him say that his journey to become a superhero is depicted as realistically as possible, his Mentor/Student relationship with Iron Man is adorable, as well as Tom Holland himself pulling off the Adorkable teenager that Peter Parker is. Those who dislike this version of Spider-Man, however, cite that his relationship with Tony means he lacks what made Spider-Man such a novelty when he was introduced: A teenager with superpowers acting on his own as a solo hero instead of a sidekick to a more well known hero like the many others his age were at the time. Some go as far as to even call him "Iron Man Jr" instead of Spider-Man due to the majority of his character, tech, and even villains having Stark-related origins.
Flash Thompson. Outside of the controversy resulting from the race change and casting, the character's Adaptational Personality Change from a Jerk Jock bully to a Rich Bitch academic rival to Peter has been controversial. Some feel that it is an interesting change that reflects the social hierarchy seen in today's high schools and that the character remains true to the spirit of the comic version. Others are annoyed that the creators changed so many of his traits and removed his redeeming qualities such as his admiration of Spider-Man and feel that it makes him an In Name Only character with no depth. It probably doesn't help that the Flash seen in the The Amazing Spider-Man Series is much closer to the comics and considered an Ensemble Dark Horse with both fans and detractors of that series.
Michelle. Many fans liked Zendaya's performance and found her commentary hilarious. Others dislike the character because she was an Advertised Extra featured so prominently in promotional materials, but her actual role in the film consists of popping up in a few scenes with a Holier Than Thou attitude to make a parting snarky comment that doesn't feel too dissimilar to Flash's bullying. Also there's the issue as to whether she's MJ or will take on the role of MJ which mostly longtime fans of the comics dislike considering she has very little in common with the canonical character. For fans of the original character, who feel she was never properly portrayed in previous films, they feel this was a wasted opportunity from Marvel.
Karen, the spider suit's A.I. is either considered a neat addition or an unnecessary one. Numerous people dislike the fact that the suit has its own A.I. since to them it basically makes him "Iron Man 2.0". However, other people began to like Karen for her human-like behavior, particularly during her and Peter's bonding while stuck in Damage Control's Vault and her encouragement toward Peter to make a move on Liz.
Broken Base: In spite of (or perhaps because of) being the most highly requested character to join the MCU, the news that Spider-Man's next film would be a Marvel Studios co-production raised a bunch of debate points for fans in regards to his implementation.
The fact that Tony Stark is the one making Spider-Man's suit upgrades — an element which was already a bit divisive following Civil War — has caused a bit of a stir among the fans. Some don't like it, as they feel it cheapens Peter's status as an independent Teen Genius who was never anyone's sidekick in the comics, and they feel that the story's focus on Iron Man comes at Peter's expense. Others defend the idea as being consistent with the idea that Peter is operating on limited resources (as seen in Civil War with his initial costume), and note that Peter originally came up with most of the suit's functions and innovations himself (such as the webbing and the adjusting eye lenses), whereas Stark just made them smaller and with more efficient material, and it's also refreshing in emphasizing a new tactical side to Spider-Man's crimefighting rather than the brawling and swinging approach shown in previous films which just focused on Peter's superpowers rather than his battle smarts.
Iron Man being involved in the film at all. Some love the fact that he has a supporting role to help showcase the connectivity between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and show that the characters are indeed interacting between films, again after Phase 2 was criticized for featuring very little of this. Also, it's the first time that a Spider-Man film features a second superhero. Others are more split, feeling that Marvel is shoehorning Iron Man in too much to bank on his Wolverine Publicity and that Spider-Man should be allowed to stand on his own in his first solo film in the MCU, and doing otherwise takes that away from him.
A contingent of the film's critics feel that the refusal to at least briefly mention Uncle Ben and the lesson and overall motivation Peter got from his death removes substance from Peter's character; at worst, the film giving him Destructive Saviour tendencies in his eagerness to prove himself to Tony Stark and the Avengers may feel out of character from his appearance in Civil War, given what (we assumed) happened offscreen. While Stark urges him to be a better hero in response, the connection of the power/responsibility theme to Peter's greatest failure, causing Uncle Ben's death, is missed. Others are just glad to have an arc for the character that doesn't fall back on that part of the backstory, making the film feel fresher compared to the previous Amazing reboot.
The famous scene where Peter gets trapped under rubble, a scene clearly inspired by If This Be My Destiny, one of the most famous storylines in Spider-Man history. The division is between people who think it's an amazing scene, probably the best in the entire film, and those who think it completely felt flat on its face. Fans commend it for the reference to the comics and for Holland's acting, who totally sold Peter's state of mind in that scene: a 15 year old child who thinks is going to die and panics accordingly. Detractors, however, think that the scene wasn't thematically earned, and failed to capture what made the scene great in the comics (this last part ties in directly with the previous entry about the absence of the power/responsibility theme—Peter originally lifted the rubble to reach Aunt May's lifesaving medication, thinking that he couldn't fail her like he did Uncle Ben—since they think the whole "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it" line doesn't fit the concept of Spider-Man, whether from the comics or from Homecoming itself, and thus is not deemed a good thematic substitute).
Captain Obvious Reveal: Michelle being nicknamed "MJ", marking her as a partial expy of Mary Jane "MJ" Watson. The movie pretty unsubtly telegraphs Michelle as the Veronica to Liz's Betty, and it gives her a small dose of Mary Jane'sTroubled, but Cute/Deadpan Snarker personality from the comics. If anything, it's more of a surprise the first time another character calls her "Michelle", since so many people walked into the theater assuming that Zendaya's character was Mary Jane.
Common Knowledge: Fans who like the film claim that Homecoming is faithful to Spider-Man in terms of high school setting, Peter's life as a teenager, and for featuring Liz Allan as Peter's first Love Interest and girlfriend:
In fact, Peter Parker being seen as a high school or teenage hero as a corporate trend dates to the late 1990s and early 2000s. For instance, the first animated adaptation to portray Peter Parker in a high school setting was The Spectacular Spider Man since the previous animated adaptation portrayed him in college. Even the Raimi Trilogy, barring the first half of Spider-Man 1, showed him as a college student for the majority of the trilogy. In the comics, Peter graduated from high school in Issue #28. Even then, most of his early stories (and most of Spider-Man stories after that) focused on him working at the Daily Bugle rather than in a high school or college environment.
In the comics, Liz Allan was Peter's first crush, but she and Peter never once dated in the 616 continuity. Peter's first girlfriend and major relationship was with Betty Brant, a relationship which has never once shown in the movies by comparison. Likewise, Ned Leeds (who in the movie is based on Ganke Lee from Miles Morales) was never a friend of Peter's and he and Peter were in fact rivals for Betty's affections and only became more friendly in later issues, but the close bond Peter has with Ned in this movie is pretty much an invention of the movie's. Essentially, a good part of the film's portrayal of Peter in high school was more or less original to the film.
Tony Stark continues to have a number of fans who gloss over some of his questionable actions or his Poor Communication Kills mentoring strategy that drives Peter into making rash decisions.
Adrian Toomes has developed a fanbase which overlooks the fact that he sells crazy dangerous weapons to street-level criminals, and steals the hardware to do this from an organization which is supposed to prevent this very thing, all because Damage Control negated his salvage contact. Even if he was in bad financial shape at the time, and had justifiable grievances, he certainly isn't anymore given the luxury that he lives in, and the fact that despite having a family, he still takes crazy jobs despite the FBI, Iron Man, and a young superhero on his tail.
Peter's gym teacher, thanks to his funny lines and being portrayed by internet darling Hannibal Buress.
Mac Gargan only appears in two scenes, but his potential to become Scorpion and his excellent portrayal as a psychopath has earned him many fans. It's helped by the fact that he's played by Michael Mando.
Aaron Davis likewise has a similar amount of screen time, but he manages to have a pair of memorable and funny appearances, and a handful of Miles Morales fans especially like that his presence and one of his lines confirm that the future Spider-Man exists in the MCU. The fact that Donald Glover already has a built-in fanbase of his own certainly doesn't hurt.
Some fans have theorized that Angourie Rice's character is actually Gwen Stacy, due to them wearing the same clothing and having the same hair color. However, a call sheet listed her as playing Betty Brant, putting this line of speculation into question (unless the leaked document was deliberately designed to throw people off). And evidently it was... Until it wasn't and it turned out that she was Betty Brant all along.
Quite a lot of fans think Mary Jane Watson is being saved for a sequel. This is supported by Kevin Feige who confirmed Michelle isn't Mary Jane and that "MJ" is just a nickname, with some fancasts suggesting Natalia Dyer, Madison Davenport and Katherine McNamara as hopefully candidates for the role. However, others point out that Feige's quote saying that Michelle isn't Mary Jane doesn't necessarily mean that Mary Jane will appear later, but suggests that Michelle is a new character who will serve the role Mary Jane had in the comics... meaning that Mary Jane is Adapted Out of the MCU.
Many fans think Norman Osborn will be introduced as the new cornerstone of all of Spider-Man's rogues going forward. There are even theories about his costume's details. Keep in mind that this is the only Spider-Man film continuity where Oscorp hasn't appeared from the get -go. It's gotten to the point that some fully expect Norman to be the Big Bad of the sequel (all but completely ignoring Mac Gargan), theorize about how appearances of the character will be executed in future MCU movies, and guessing what his methods for combating all of the heroes in the MCU will be. Again, it should be emphasized that there was nothing that hinted at Norman in Homecoming.
Michelle is descended from Gabe Jones, and is keeping an eye on Peter to help her S.H.I.E.L.D. agent parents. Proponents cite Principal Morita being an Identical Grandson of another Howling Commando being possibly meant as a hint to look for more, her constantly being around Peter despite her disdain for everything about him with little explanation, and the oddity of her having a last name that gives her the nickname MJ even while Word of God swears up and down she's not the MCU version of Mary Jane.
Escapist Character: Spider-Man was always a qualified example but this version of the character is the most escapist yet:
Unlike other movie Spider-Men who start out as aloof because Loners Are Freaks, this one is more social, having a best friend and confidante in Ned Leeds (who willingly becomes his sidekick and second-in-command), someone like Michelle who is even more asocial and unpopular than he is at school, and a far less hostile school life (where Flash Thompson doesn't physically pick on him anymore). And where Aunt May in the comics and earlier movies was The Millstone, this Aunt May is Younger and Hipper and genuinely cool and funny.
Even in the comics in the original days, Spider-Man struggled to get the respect and attention of other superheroes. The Fantastic Four saw him as a weirdo with Reed Richards marking him as future-supervillain material after they politely rejected his bid to be a member of the Fantastic Four in one of his earlier comics, but here Peter becomes the Mentor's New Hope for Tony Stark who makes his upgrades, becomes his sponsor and patron and despite some rough moments offered a teenage Spider-Man a spot on the Avengers and in either case cemented Spider-Man's future in the superhero community.
Evil Is Cool: As with Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 before, this movie is considered to be a break of Marvel's streak of unengaging villains. The Vulture is considered by many to be one of the best MCU villains to date, by some even considered the best movie villain. Michael Keaton also does a terrific job portraying the character. It is considered the best version of the character, superior to his simplistic comics version, mainly for the impressive modernized makeover of the costume, and for showing that he has concern for his employees and family, and also making him a cool Robin Hood and Walter White-like villain.
With Black Panther (2018). Fans were already irritated that Black Panther got pushed back for another Spider-Man reboot (especially since Black Panther will be the first Black superhero to headline a Marvel movie in twenty years,note the 1998 Blade while the white Spider-Man has already headlined two major film series in the same span of time) and that irritation only increased when both Black Panther and Spider-Man proved to be the breakout stars of Captain America: Civil War. This lessened to a degree after Black Panther was later moved back up a few months. And because both were so well-received, post-Black Panther's release it led to many arguments over whether Toomes or Killmonger was a better villain.
It is has a rivalry with Captain Marvel fans, since her movie's release date was pushed back to accommodate Homecoming. Similar to the Black Panther (2018) issue, the fact that the MCU's first female leading character has been pushed back to accommodate existing white male leads has pissed off a lot of fans.
Following the movie's release and overall critical acclaim, there's a rivalry between fans of Spider-Man Trilogy and Homecoming. Homecoming fans insist that it's a better installment, with a great villain, not Strangled by the Red String via the divisive romance with Trilogy's Mary Jane, and has the advantage of putting Peter in a Shared Universe. Fans of the trilogy insist that the Raimi films are a better adaptation, with a Spider-Man who is very much his own hero rather than a sidekick to Mr. Stark. The series also includes J. K. Simmonsas J. Jonah Jameson, a more accurate to the comics version of Aunt May, Uncle Ben as Peter's true Mentor, and also much higher stakesnote Green Goblin from the first movie has the highest body-count of any villain in any Spider-Man film, killing 22 people in the first movie alone, and Dr. Octopus was similarly destructive with an experimental reactor that threatened the entire city, allowing Peter a "save the world" moment. Not only that, fans of the Sam Raimi films are also quick to point out that the original film helped kick start the Superhero genre going strong today.
With The Amazing Spider-Man Series fans who are annoyed that their series got shafted for this film and were also hoping for their series to be integrated with the MCU instead of rebooted.note Marvel actually did consider doing this, but Sony's executives wanted to replace Andrew Garfield after he criticized them for the Executive Meddling they did with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — and given that Kevin Feige had interest in telling more stories with Peter Parker in high school (something The Amazing Spider-Man 2 moved on from in its first scene), the decision was made to go for a full reboot.
There's also an inner-fandom rivalry between competing directors in the MCU. Some fans argue that the Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War was visually far more powerful, athletic, and competent than the one seen in Homecoming. As such many feel that the Russos understand Spider-Man better than Jon Watts, who they argue nerfed Spider-Man and used many Retcon and violation of Show, Don't Tell (i.e. the opening cell phone montage, Iron Man's "Cap was holding back" in the airport battle comment) for the sake of Conflict Ball. Across Homecoming Peter kept stumbling around Queens and making mistakes on account of Queens having small buildings, when he used his swinging abilities effectively in the airport fight (which considering it's an open tarmac has the same problems of low-ceiling terrains), and the film likewise more or less dialed down the Spider-Sense which the Russos insist will be present in Avengers: Infinity War. Likewise, it was the Russos who, on very short-noticenote The Sony-MCU deal happened mid-production on Civil War, agreed on the casting of Tom Holland, the casting of Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, and also the setting of Peter and May as living in an apartment in Queens as a Setting Update, and as such they played a major part in defining Homecoming.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Even though Peter has a crush on Liz, the part of the fandom that likes Michelle ships Peter with her instead.
Spider-Man is shown as a novice super hero, who makes mistakes and falls into Destructive Saviour mode, but who has a Big Good supervising him so that he grows up to his full potential and may join the Avengers when he grows up. A similar plot was used in Ultimate Spider-Man (with The Ultimates, that universe's version of the Avengers, and Nick Fury instead of Tony Stark). However, that plot worked fine in the comics because, as a long-runner, it could show Spider-Man doing his things on his own for the immediate plots, with the adult superheroes showing up every now and then to advance the long-term plots. The limited time of films to narrate their stories forced to have Tony Stark around Spider-Man most of the time to build up that dynamic, and many people saw him as a mere sidekick of Iron Man as a result.
Both this movie and its sequel have been criticized for upping Peter's socioeconomic class from working class to middle or upper middle class. Peter hasn't actually been portrayed as working class on screen since the Sam RaimiSpider-Man Trilogy. It was less noticeable in The Amazing Spider-Man because Peter's villains were a billionaire CEO and a world-renowned scientist and Peter was pretty much on his own, whereas in the MCU Spider-Man movies, Peter's villains are working class people who were screwed over by the same billionaire, whose also happens to have given Peter his suit and pretty much all the other technology he uses.
During the quiz on the bus on the way to Washington, one of the questions is about the moons of Saturn. Come Avengers: Infinity War: Spider-Man dies on Planet Titan, named after one of the moons of Saturn.
Harrington's saying that he couldn't bear to lose a student on a school trip again becomes this after Endgame confirms that many students, including Ned, died on a field trip thanks to Thanos' snap.
At one point while in DC, Michelle makes a comment about the Washington Monument being built by slaves. When Mr. Harrington tries to assure her that it wasn't, a park guide gives him a "so-so/kinda" gesture, which is actually the closest right answer we have. While there is no concrete evidence of slaves on-site, the monument took 40 years to complete, and was being built before, during, and after the American Civil War. Many of the quarries used slave labor, and many donations for the project came from plantations and slave states.
The physics problem that Peter answers correctly (thereby embarrassing Flash) deals with determining linear acceleration during a pendulum swing. Of course, Peter of all people would know that answer right off the top of his head.
Michelle by the end of the movie admits that she does have friends: everyone on the quiz team, Peter, and Ned. When they go on a class trip in the sequel, she's toned down her snark quite a bit and enjoys spending time with everyone.
Peter for much of this movie is worried about impressing "Mr. Stark" and becoming a legitimate hero. As of Endgame, he is not only an Avenger but also helped save the world. As Happy puts it, Peter has made Tony more than proud, while Nick Fury treats him as a hero.
Michelle teasing Peter about how he always seems to disappear at the end of the movie becomes this when she reveals in Far From Home that she figured out he was Spider-Man a long time ago, since he's terrible at keeping his identity a secret. Rather than use it as more snark ammo, she waited for the right time to tell him she knew, when they had a private moment and right when he admitted he had feelings for her.
He Really Can Act: Tom Holland's performance when Spider-Man gets trapped underneath tons of rubble by Vulture has been praised as one of the movie's highlights.
The Washington Monument closed on August 17, 2017 to fix and upgrade its elevator system. When the movie came out, people were joking about Ned causing the accident in the elevator which has been having ongoing issues since it reopened after suffering earthquake damage in 2011.
The fact that Peter is a big Star Wars fan in this continuity gets really funny with the fact that in the 2019 Chaos Walking movie, Tom Holland will co-star with Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, the main protagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Adrian Toomes's complaint that the Shocker sounds too much like a pro-wrestling name is now downright hysterical given that Quentin Beck's appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home, since his vigilante alias just so happens to coincide with a real-life pro-wrestler's ring name. Not to mention that there is a real-life Mexican pro-wrestler named Shocker.
Peter meets with Aaron Davis, played by Donald Glover, in a parking garage, much like the one where Glover later set the music video for his song "This Is America".
Hype Backlash: A loud part of the fandom proclaiming Homecoming to be the "definitive" Spider-Man movie often overtakes anything the comic fans who wanted Marvel to do a Truer to the Text version might say, and there's a certain irony with the "definitive" Spider-Man film being the film least like the comics, leading to some backlash.
Idiot Plot: The movie pretty much wouldn't have happened if Happy Hogan had been staying in connection with Peter rather than ignoring him, which eventually leads to Peter trying to handle things on his own in Washington D.C. and then on Staten Ferry, or if Brice hadn't shown a dangerous weapon in public to a drug dealer that wants only a quiet weapon for stakeouts.
It Was His Sled: Michelle is seemingly this universe's version of Mary Jane Watson, or rather, "MJ". This plot development leaked out well over a year before the movie came out, and even then it was so widely speculated that this "shocking twist" was going to happen that the actual moment The Reveal happened, some accused it of being anti-climactic. After the movie was released, Kevin Feige clarified that they're not one and the same, but Michelle will fill in for Mary Jane's role in the setting for the time being.
Adrian Toomes is a criminal, but he resorted to a life of crime because his construction company, and the lives of his employees, were ruined thanks to a deal Tony Stark cut with the government that caused them to lose their city contract after Toomes had already purchased his construction equipment. It speaks volumes that he's considered to be one of the most sympathetic villains in the entire setting in spite of the fact that he's willing to potentially kill a kid with superpowers.
Aaron Davis is technically a criminal as a drug dealer. In the comics he's also a supervillain. But he is grateful to Spider-Man for saving his life at the beginning of the movie and helps him on hearing that a local deli was destroyed. He's also worried that the weapons being sold could endanger his nephew.
Happy took a pretty big Jerkass Ball for most of the movie until the ending. But since he's almost killed in his previous appearance in Iron Man 3, it's not hard to understand why he's annoyed that Tony still does as he please such as when he told Peter of Happy's personal story about asking for promotion as if it was an offhanded joke. As Happy pointed out, it was a private conversation and he doesn't like joking about it. Furthermore, babysitting an overly enthusiastic superpowered Kid Hero isn't exactly a pleasant job for a Muggle like him and it is probably a job Tony gave him without asking his consent or properly discussing with him first.
Magnificent Bastard: Adrian Toomes was once a hard working man who made a living salvaging Chitauri technology from The Incident. After having his occupation taken by Damage Control, he became a career criminal, taking the moniker The Vulture, and turning what was left of his salvaging company into an underground arms dealership, that would steal said technology and sell it to criminals. Toomes made sure not to leave any evidence for government officials to track his operations, while also making sure they aren't too big so that the Avengers would view them as a threat; this process worked great for Toomes and his criminal business lasted for eight years without any problems. However, when he does face a problem in Spider-Man he isn't afraid to fight Spider-Man himself on several occasions; Spider-Man barely manages to survive those encounters with him. He is also able to uncover Spider-Man's civilian identity, Peter Parker, simply by analyzing Peter's behavior, and finds an opportunity to intimidate Peter from interfering with his operations. When this fails he sends The Shocker to distract Peter and later fights him for the final time so he wouldn't foil Toomes' latest heist job. Although threatening to kill Peter and his loved ones, it's shown that Toomes greatly respects him, showing gratitude for saving his daughter's life, as well as his own, by not selling out his Secret Identity in prison, cementing Adrian Toomes as one of the most honorable, yet cunning foes in the films.
Putting pictures of Marisa Tomei side by side with either Aunt May from the comics, or Rosemary Harris or Sally Field in the role. Typically the effect is exaggerated by using a picture from the height of Tomei's career (and hence how some people still tend to picture her) in the '90s, rather than a more recent one, or straight up using a picture of her from The Wrestler, in which Tomei played a stripper.
It's not uncommon to find photos of Spider-Man with his head Photoshopped into a prom photo, since the movie's title is named after a festive high school event.
Soon after Civil War, Marvel started to announce the cast for the film, with new actors being added at a daily rate, and nearly every single one of them getting a special announcement. This led to some fans sardonically saying that "I, too, am part of the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming."
"Wait a minute... You guys aren't the real Avengers!" note Spidey sarcastically calling out a bunch of bank robbers wearing Avengers masks, with the shot of the robbers often being replaced with a picture of another superhero team.
From the trailer, there are fanmade edits or fanart related with at least with these two exchanges:
During the scene where Peter and his classmates watch Captain America's fitness video, which then Peter told Ned "I stole his shield.", Cap is usually replaced with a picture of Tobey Maguire's Peter or Andrew Garfield's Peter crying (the former during Uncle Ben's death, the latter during Gwen Stacy's death), which then Tom Holland's Peter told Ned "I stole his job." And after the trailer of Thor: Ragnarok came out, Peter himself was replaced with Thor shouting "We know each other! He's a friend from work!"
As soon as the official poster for the movie was shown, people immediately began to mock it endlessly—be it fan editing it with more characters or making comments on it.
"But I'm nothing without [X]!" "If you're nothing without [X], then you shouldn't have it." note Fans have taken to repurposing this exchange and changing [X] to something else
"So. You got detention." Explanation This line comes from one of Captain America's PSAs. Fans tend to replace the "You got detention" line with another condescending statement, accompanied by an image of Cap sitting backwards in a chair.
"Don't make me come down there, you punk!" Explanation In the wake of Stan Lee's death, this line from his cameo got some mileage. Mostly portraying Stan as being Defiant to the End and threatening to come back if anything goes wrong with Marvel.
Joking about absolutely any character in a superhero movie being played by Zendaya.
"So [X] is Uncle Ben?" Explanation As Aunt May's late husband has yet to be seen in this continuity, fans will cast one of Marisa Tomei's male co-stars from other films as Uncle Ben, even those who already have roles in the MCU, such as Robert Downey Jr.
My Real Daddy: As much as many people credit Homecoming for returning Spider-Man to his roots and praising the MCU with saving the character, Kevin Feige himself and many others note that a lot of what people liked about this film can be credited to Sony more than MCU:
Kevin Feige admitted that it was Sony, especially producer Amy Pascal and the screenwriters who conceived Vulture's very well received motivation, his class-angst driven antagonism towards Tony Stark, which they modeled on Akira Kurosawa's High and Low which he admitted was a movie he hadn't seen before their collaboration, and the key dynamic of Homecoming (Peter-Tony-Adrian) was to a large extent Sony's major contribution.
The idea of Setting Update and Race Lift of the cast (such as Liz, Ned Leeds among others), was something that Sony had entertained in The Spectacular Spider Man by Greg Weisman which most fans consider the most faithful adaptation of Spider-Man (at least in his classic teenage incarnation). That show was made before Disney bought Marvel and got cancelled because of that purchase. Likewise, a good number of the reimagining were done by the Russos, namely Peter and Aunt May living in an apartment, the casting of both, the design of the costume and the fact that Tony Stark was Peter's mentor. Jon Watts pushed for Nick Fury to play that role in his film as in Ultimate Marvel (which he would follow on in Far From Home).
The casting of Tom Holland and Spider-Man was pushed for by Sony. Originally Feige and the MCU were okay with importing Andrew Garfield into the MCU, and even Feige hesitated about casting Holland until Sony, and the Russos who agreed with them, settled for him. Likewise, Homecoming is still a Sony film and production. Most of the profits go to Sony as part of the deal with Marvel (they get more money in the team-up and crosover films).
Similar to the aforementioned poster debacle, the IMAX poster is also pretty messy, if not worse than the standard poster in terms of photoshop overload, but since it's supposed to mimic the style of a yearbook, it manages to work.
Toomes giving Schultz the Shocker Gauntlet after killing Brice and saying "Here, you're the Shocker now." It's silly given that — even in universe — Toomes was making fun of the Atrocious Alias. But Michael Keaton's delivery switches it from being silly to managing to further cement his status as a ruthless criminal.
Instant Kill Mode. Tony Stark put this into a suit he designed for a fifteen year old boy. Peter's horrified reaction and instructions to Karen to immediately shut it down when it is activated speaks volumes. Tony locked it away where Peter couldn't access it under normal circumstances, which lets you know how far Tony was planning ahead. By his own admission in Infinity War, Thanos has been inside his head for years. Tony knew that the time was coming when Peter would need Instant Kill Mode, and the final battle in Endgame proved him right. If Peter couldn't bring himself to kill even when the situation called for it, then the suit could do it and Peter would have a psychological out, as it wouldn't be him, it would be the suit doing the killing.
Thought Michael Keaton was intimidating as Batman? He's terrifying in when Toomes puts two and two together and deduces that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, particularly when he warns him to stay out of his affairs, or else.
The scene where Spidey climbs up the Washington Monument may cause unease to those with acrophobia.
Toomes killing Jackson Bryce. Sure, it leads to a funny moment when he reveals he thought it was the gravity gun, but the death itself is still a horrific disintegration, and Toomes's reaction to causing it by accident is disturbingly casual.
As mentioned in the Captain America: Civil War page, some fans don't like the idea of a 15-16 year old Spider-Man being a crimefighter, as they think he's way too young to be going up against supervillains and common crooks, with some saying that it doesn't make sense to have a teenager fight an older man like Vulture, despite the fact that in the comics, Peter started fighting crime at just that age, and the Vulture was introduced as one of his earliest villains and was even older than the film's version of the character.
Fans have taken an issue that Spidey in the MCU was made into an Adaptational Wimp, citing that he's more badass in the comics and here struggles against villains he should easily beat. Firstly, Homecoming takes place when Peter is just starting out as a new 15-year-old hero and at that point back in the comics Stan Lee wrote Spider-Man as an inexperienced teen still coming to terms with his powers. Furthermore, even Iron Man in his solo movies pre-Avengers had to struggle to earn his victories against Stane, Vanko, and Killian despite his great resources, and struggling to earn your victories is a classic Marvel trope, and if anything it's Vulture who is getting a boost in skill and ability from his comic book counterpart rather than Spider-Man being made weak.
Many people point out how Aunt May got younger for every live-action reboot, despite the fact that the cartoons did it first◊.
Ned Leeds being combined with Ganke Lee and given a Race Lift is similar to The Spectacular Spider Man, which made him Asian and was renamed Ned Lee (although, he was still closer to the comics in his age, personality, role, occupation, and his implied Ship Tease with Betty Brant). This also applies to Liz Allan's Race Lift, as the show made her Hispanic while here, she's African-American. Also related to Liz, the fact that she's related to one of Spider-Man's villains, which comes directly from the comics. However, the movie gives it a spin. While in the comics she's the half-sister of the Molten Man (and later marries Harry Osborn, the second Green Goblin and the son of Norman Osborn), here she's the Vulture's daughter. Something that even long-time Spider-Man fans didn't see coming. Additionally, Liz's Ultimate Marvel counterpart is the biological daughter of that universe's version of the Blob.
Many fans are noting how special it was that Vulture survives and averts Superhero Movie Villains Die. Except this was averted in earlier films too. Sandman was spared by Peter in Spider-Man 3, while the Lizard, Rhino, and Harry Osborn also survived in The Amazing Spider-Man Seriesnote Basically across all the previous Spider-Man films, the ratio of villains living to dying is 3:3. More importantly, in the MCU itself, Emil Blonsky, Justin Hammer, Loki (thrice), and Helmut Zemo survived in their films too.
One complaint about the film is the fact Spidey uses gadgets, but this is nothing new things like web grenades, taser webs, and spider tracers have been around and apart of his arsenal for decades.
The downplaying of Uncle Ben in this story which upsets some fans ignores the fact that Uncle Ben wasn't mentioned very often in Lee-Ditko Spider-Man. The idea of Ben's aesop being Spider-Man's creed came much later and was originally just the caption at the end of the origin issue. Likewise, Peter in the early career was The Team Wannabe to the Fantastic Four and saw Reed Richards as a possible parental figure whose respect he craved, which thanks to rights' issues is now substituted with the Avengers and Iron Man instead.
Ron the Death Eater: Though he was bound to get some hate following Civil War, Tony Stark has, by this film, gained a notably large number of detractors that seem to take issue with every thing he does in the film. Some fans take issue with how he's shoehorned as a father-figure and mentor to Peter, largely for the sake of the Shared UniverseWorld Building, but others take this further by casting aspersions that he's a kind of an abusive bully who browbeats Peter, by giving him an embarrassing nickname and giving the suit's protocols patronizing names like "training wheels" or "baby monitor". In addition, there's the whole Adrian Toomes' Draco in Leather Pants-fandom with many rooting for him against Stark, even though the Department of Damage Control was a government agency and bears most of the responsibility.
Rooting for the Empire: With how cool the Vulture is and his sympathetic motives compared to other MCU villains, it's hard to not want him to succeed in his heists. Many people admitted that the Vulture is almost too likable, and that Tony Stark is a serial offender which Toomes lampshades at the end.
In terms of a non-action scene, Adrian Toomes finding out that Peter Parker is Spider-Man over the course of the car ride where he takes his daughter and her homecoming date to the dance has proven to be one of the most popular scenes in the movie for being incredibly tense and subtle.
The recreation of the iconic shot in "If This Be My Destiny...!"
The last showdown between Spider-Man and Vulture on the Avengers plane and the Riegelmann Boardwalk.
The shots of Spider-Man getting grabbed by the anti-gravity gun have somewhat unconvincing CGI.
The scene where Tony berates Peter and takes away his suit has probably the worst green-screen and CGI effects in the entire movie. The attempt at sunset lighting is particularly poor in this case.
After Spider-Man accidentally webs a guy who he thought was breaking into a car, the backflip he does has some very poor CGI.
Much like Captain America: Civil War, the CGI for Spider-Man tends to look incredibly obvious due to the mixture of the red color and the lack of 3-D texturingnote Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfields suits were given raised/3-D webbing specifically to avert this problem, as the color red is notorious for looking bad on film (its the same exact reason Optimus Prime was given a flame paint job).
Like the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, Spidey argues with his artificially intelligent suit which he can barely control, and it repeatedly tries to get him to use lethal methods against his will.
Coupled with Lost in Imitation, Batman Beyond (since that was a show inspired by the classic Spider-Man comics). The hero is an apprentice to an Old Superhero (Iron Man/Old Bruce) who designs his suit that provides him several upgrades and inner gadgets. He also recruits him by personally visiting his apartment where he lives with his maternal figure (and brings him into his world) and the Hero passes his superhero activities as work for Mr. Stark/Mr. Wayne. He has a Sidekick who serves as confidant (Ned Leeds/Max) and his mentor frequently sends him mixed messages about how they want him to be a superhero but also feel they aren't entirely ready and occasionally ask for the suit back, likewise his villain is a working-class man on the skids in an increasingly gentrified world, analogous to many Batman Beyond villains (such as Shriek, splicers and others) and at the end the hero is offered a spot in the Super Team (Avengers/JLU) but turns it down to remain solo).
Strawman Has a Point: Tony comes down hard on Peter for his involvement in a botched FBI sting and for lying to him and going behind his back and hacking his equipment for what he sees, not unreasonably, as a glorified joyride. However, Tony Stark is still not a good mentor to some. He raises unrealistic expectations in Peter, offloading responsibility for Peter onto Happy, who naturally assumes the kid's a low priority, and cutting him loose with a crime-fighting weapon he's given no impression of ever teaching Peter how to use. Peter rightfully points out that Tony did not take him seriously given that Tony thought a bunch of regular FBI agents would be good enough to take down a guy using advanced alien technology and that his "below my pay grade" comment is pretty galling when you consider his own struggles in his solo movies against opponents just as skilled and deadly as Vulture (namely Stane, and especially Vanko).
Tainted by the Preview: The second trailer got hit with this after it casually gave away one of the movie's biggest spoilers — that Stark takes the suit from Peter — leading to accusations that it saved fans a trip to the theater. Thankfully, early reactions to the movie indicated that, while this is still a big spoiler, there's more to the plot than what the trailer showed.
Ned Leeds's characterization as an Expy of Ganke Lee, Miles Morales' best friend, angered fans who were pushing for Miles Morales as the MCU Spider-Man, who accused Marvel of "stealing" Morales' supporting cast for a rebooted take on the white Spider-Man, feeling it would take away from the latter's unique selling points if and when he shows up. In the meantime, there are other fans who would have preferred it if Leeds wasn't turned into a Composite Character with so little in common with his comic book counterpart.
Michelle as a character was hit with this due to the fact that her nickname is "MJ", effectively making her the MCU version of Mary Jane Watson. This has to do with the You Don't Look Like You/Race Lift controversy around casting Zendaya for the role, her personality having nothing in common with the character from the comics or the Sam Raimi's films, being a largely original character who is given the initials of an iconic supporting characternote beyond a penchant for sassy remarks (and even those have a completely different style and tone from the comic book) and the implication by the end of the film that she may know Peter is Spider-Man for reasons that largely have to do with stroking buzz. This stings her fans greatly since they really wanted a faithful rendition to the character due to the fact that her portrayal in the Sam Raimi films was also a departure from her comic book counterpart and one that her fans generally greatly dislike at thatnote As was the version that was set to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 before she was cut. compounded by the fact that fans are unhappy with the way Marvel's recent editors have handled her in universally reviled stories like One More Day taking away hopes that at least the movies would be more faithful.
While fans like the idea of a Spider-Man in a Shared Universe, many don't appreciate how Marvel have placed him more or less as a Heroic Wannabe training to be part of the Avengers and being a sidekick to Tony Stark who designs his original outfit and gives him a bunch of upgrades. This in effect robs MCU Spider-Man of the very qualities that made him unique when he first came out (an independent teenage superhero who was his own man, who made his own stuff and was not anyone's sidekick). As fans note, the original Spider-Man in the Lee-Ditko era invented his own costume, spider signal, web-shooters, and spider tracers whereas in this adaptation, except for the web-fluid, most of that was handed to him (albeit the web-shooters were upgraded versions of his own invention). These fans feel that it transforms Peter into a vicarious entitled Spoiled Brat which many see as out-of-character albeit because the classic Spider-Man never got the real shot at the big leagues in his teenage yearsnote Originally, Peter was a Fantastic Four fanboy who in the comics have the status of being the linchpin and central figures of the Shared Universe that Iron Man has in the MCU. In his early issues, he wanted to join the Fantastic Four and was alternatively rejected or treated as an annoying kid and even potential supervillain. Tony being more open than Reed Richards actually does encourage those unrealistic hopes and expectations in MCU Peter's teenage phase.
The gung-ho thug who was the first Shocker was Jackson Brice, who's better known as Montanna from the Enforcers (who are a group of prominent villains who went up against Spider-Man and Daredevil). Here, he's treated as a joke and vaporized after 5 minutes of screentime.
There has been some criticism towards the fact that Aunt May's relationship with Peter isn't as well explored and well-developed as it could have been. Even Marisa Tomei herself has expressed some discomfort at how a few scenes between her character and Peter were deleted. In the comics, Aunt May is Peter's Living Emotional Crutch (especially Teen-Peter), but since the film focuses on Peter latching on to Tony Stark as a Parental Substitute which is the dramatic arc of the entire film, this isn't well explored.
How some fans feel about Michelle. While the intent was to make her an Early-Bird Cameo for subsequent movies (a plan which they still intend to follow up on), a scene giving the character a bit of depth (aside from the few Hidden Heart of Gold moments peppered into the movie) could have been added to make her more than just a gag character for Homecoming, and perhaps would have prevented her from being as much of a Base-Breaking Character as she is.
Some were disappointed at the wasted opportunity that Cindy Moon is in the movie... and there's no indication that she's Silk. Leaving her as a bit part character that's nothing more than an Easter Egg. However, Sony has announced their intentions to make a Silk movie, and some hold on to the hope that it could be tied to the MCU.
One disadvantage of the changes made to Flash Thompson is that it's much harder imagining this version of the character enlisting in the Army like his comic book counterpart did, meaning the sequence of events that led to comic Flash becoming Agent Venom are unlikely to ever occur in the MCU. This may not mean the character of Agent Venom is entirely out of the question, but the idea of Flash becoming him would appear to be (on top of all the well-received character development the originally one-dimensional Flash received from that arc).
Despite Tony Stark being partially responsible for Adrian Toomes becoming a criminal, they never once have any confrontation. It could have been an interesting scene to at least have one scene with Stark and Toomes together. Instead, Toomes is just an Unknown Rival to Stark and Damage Control. With the confirmation that Stark won't be appearing in the Spider-Man sequels, it doesn't look likely they'll ever meet. While this does fit the Unknown Rival and Grass Is Greener part well, others feel that the lack of confrontation, or even acknowledgement of Toomes on Tony's part denies the film a meaningful dramatic resolution to its main plot (which is Toomes blaming, rightly or wrongly, Stark for his bankruptcy and loss of income). It would have also allowed Tony to better explain what he meant when he told Peter in the Ferry scene that he wants "you to be better", by explaining how he has to live with the consequences with his actions, even when he intended to do good, which would have also explained Peter turning down the chance to be on the Avengers.
A marketing-based variation. How some people felt about the ad campaign giving away not one, but two of the Captain America PSA, as they felt as though they would have been better suited as surprises akin to the character's "cameo" in Thor: The Dark World. Luckily, it turns out that those weren't the only PSA.
Trailer Joke Decay: The "you guys aren't the real Avengers!" gag. Not only has it been used in multiple trailers and TV spots, but the line quickly turned into a meme not long after the first trailer was released. This trope was actually subverted altogether when the actual joke that Peter makes in the movies is much different than this often-advertised gag.
The Tinkerer is a minor Spider-Man character at best, so his role as Vulture's sidekick in the film comes across as rather surprising.
Likewise, the Shocker's involvement in the movie came across as surprising to nearly everyone, as only one questionable rumor actually mentioned the character by name. Not to mention the fact that he's a C-list villain who was primarily known for having an Atrocious Alias.
The return of "Happy" Hogan, especially in a Spider-Man movie of all places, came across as a bit of a surprise.
Steve Rogers/Captain America pops up sometime in the film during a Captain America's Fitness Challenge video for Peter's gym class, which appears to have been recorded some time after the events of The Avengers. On the other hand, some people were guessing he'd make a cameo for this, as Cap has made an appearance in an MCU film every year since The First Avenger was released.
Given that Damage Control was intended to be a Marvel television series on ABC, it came to the surprise of many fans that it would be appearing in this movie instead.
The official cast list revealed a couple of surprise characters, including a pre-Scorpion Mac Gargan and a pre-Prowler Aaron Davis.
Michelle is supposed to be seen as a lovable, snarky Hollywood Nerd that the audience is supposed to sympathize with because she doesn't have friends, and she does openly express horror and concern for her decathlon team at the Washington Monument. However, other than that, most of her screen-time consists of her belittling and mocking people with a haughty and condescending attitude for no reason (especially considering that all the students, aside from Flash, are pretty nice people who haven't done anything to deserve it), so it's pretty understandable why she doesn't have any.
Tony Stark is shown struggling in his newfound role of being a mentor and father-figure to Peter including looking out for his safety and wanting Peter to be better than him. Unfortunately Stark's personality quirks manifest throughout the movie as we see that he doesn't keep up regular communication with Peter, his face to face discussions are filled with snark, he consistently underestimates Peter's enthusiasm and desire to prove himself, and gives the Spider-suit mentoring protocols patronizing names like "training wheels" and "baby monitor". All of which add up to leave Peter and the audience feeling like Stark doesn't really understand him.
The beginning of the movie reveals that Tony recruited Spider-Man to help with a "crazy" Captain America. After the mission, and Peter's been badly concussed, Tony tells Peter to call Happy as a liaison guy. Happy is less than amused since Peter took an embarrassing video of him and he has to move Avengers headquarters upstate. You'd Expect: That even with the Civil War fracas that Tony and Happy would keep tabs on Peter and prepare him for more challenging missions than bicycle thieves in Queens. Avengers headquarters would have a training field, and there is lots of weird stuff happening all over the country. Or, even better, recruit Pepper for her advice and help since she knows how to ground uncontrollable people. If no one is available, Tony could find someone who would be a more suitable liaison. Instead: Tony and Happy leave Peter in the lurch, neither returning his calls or texts for two months. Happy refuses to listen when Peter reports the high-tech bank robbery. Tony appears via a remote suit when the Vulture nearly drowns Peter, and pretty much shuts him out of the strange case. Peter is understandably annoyed that both men are treating him like a kid; while he is one, he is also more than capable. When he realizes that Peter disabled the suit's tracking device and is going after the Vulture alone at Staten Ferry, where the FBI are waiting, Peter hangs up on him while preparing to attack. Spider-Man and everyone on the ferry nearly die from the ensuing fight. In the call, Tony says he's worried he's becoming like his late, distant father, and he wants to do better, but it's already too late. All he can do is show up and mitigate the disaster.
Peter also wants to become an Avenger. Tony refuses and wants Peter to stay "close to the ground". You'd Expect: That Tony would explain that since Peter is a minor, if he joined the Avengers he'd have to sign the Sokovia Accords. Since he's a minor, that would mean Aunt May would have to sign for him. This is a plausible explanation, since Peter doesn't want Aunt May to know. It's obvious by the end that Tony can override this legal problem, but Peter doesn't know that. Instead: Tony just goes Because I Said So. Peter thinks that he has to prove to Tony that he's good enough to be an Avenger. This leads to the Staten Ferry fiasco, and to him getting locked into a Damage Control warehouse.
Peter wants to tackle something a little more challenging than grand theft bicycles, as well as prove himself to Tony for the awesome factor of being close with other heroes, but can't find anything simply patrolling the streets of Queens. You'd Expect: Peter would start patrolling worse neighborhoods in New York, which are many now thanks to the destruction caused by the Incident, where he can probably stop more serious, but still not very dangerous to him crimes and/or try to reach out to publicly known heroes like Matt Murdock and Luke Cage, who have both tackled real supervillains and huge crime syndicates, despite having only a fraction of his power. That way, he'd be earning himself a rep quickly, and could even prove himself to Tony by having his own sort of-Avengers team. Instead: He keeps patrolling Queens and helping old ladies who buy him churros, and then calls Happy and Tony to tell them about his mundane adventures everyday, ensuring they don't take him seriously. A real threat in the form of Vulture's weapons eventually leads him to make himself known and he proves himself, but nearly dies several times in the process, and gets no help from the other New York heroes.
After school, Peter changes into his Spider-Man suit so he can go on patrol and stuffs his street clothes and personal items in his backpack. You'd Expect: Peter would use his powers to go up to one of the building roofs and leave his backpack there where no one will find or reach it, like in the comics. Instead: He leaves his backpack next to a dumpster in the alley and by the time he gets back, it's been stolen. Worse: This is the fifth time it's happened. And Peter's not an idiot.
After skipping the Prom, Peter tracks down Vulture who is revealed to be Liz's dad Adrian to his hideout and learns that he's planning to rob a Stark Industries cargo plane. Pete confronts Vulture and webs his left hand to a table to keep him from moving. While he's webbed up, Adrian tries to justify his crimes with a speech about how the rich "don't care about people" like himself and Peter. You'd Expect: That Pete wouldn't waste time listening and web up Adrian's other hand and his feet (and maybe his mouth so he can shut up) and immediately call the police, pretty much defeating him right there. Instead: Peter gets distracted and stalls long enough for Adrian to summon his Vulture suit. The Result: Vulture uses his suit to collapse the building and trap Spider-Man underneath the rubble. Pete only survives due to his super-strength and sheer willpower. He does eventually catch Vulture, but only after an insanely dangerous battle aboard the cargo plane that nearly gets both of them killed.
Tony returns the suit he gave to Peter, who doesn't want Aunt May to know his superhero alter ego. You'd Expect: Peter to close and/or lock his door when putting the suit on in case Aunt May comes in. Instead: He leaves it wide open, allowing Aunt May to see him wearing the suit and letting her know he's Spider-Man.
The hype around this movie was in jeopardy due to fears that audiences might be getting sick of Spider-Man after five standalone movies in the span of twelve years, and this being the second reboot involving the character so shortly after the previous one. Tom Holland's performance in Civil War remedied that problem easily, and now people are genuinely interested in seeing Spider-Man again.
After the divisive reaction to the second trailer, the short clip of the film shown at the MTV Movie Awards received a more positive response and restored a lot of fan's faith in the film. The third trailer and its international variant were also met with more acclaim.
Peter's life has become incredibly complicated and busy since Civil War, but he is more than willing to show Tony that he has what it takes to be an Avenger. Unfortunately for Peter though, he is treated as a minor annoyance at best and completely ignored at worst. The only time Tony even talks to him directly is when he messes up. Not to mention that doing the right thing and stopping the Vulture results in him losing Liz.
By the end of the movie, Liz Allen is probably more of a woobie than Peter as she is not only abandoned by her date during homecoming dance, but her dad is found out to be a super-villain and she now has to leave her life and friends because she's moving to Oregon.
WTH, Casting Agency?: Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson got a bit of this due to his actor being a full two inches shorter than Tom Holland, with the argument being that character's traditional status as the Big Man on Campus and a Jerk Jock might be a bit harder to portray if Peter's taller and more athletic than he is. This was somewhat mitigated when it turned out that their approach on the character would be a bit different this time around. In the end, the approach taken made Flash a Base-Breaking Character, though few criticized Revolori's actual performance.
Quite a few fans are angry about the Vulture's outfit differing so drastically from his comic costume. Some fans have even negatively compared it to Sony's Base-Breaking attempts at modernizing Spidey's villains in the previous movies, namely the Green Goblin and the Rhino. Others don't mind, seeing the new, sleeker costume as a more realistic modern take that fits the tone of the MCU well, as opposed to the infamous giant, fluffy, emerald Big Bird suit.
When early set pictures of Shocker were released, the fans divided into two camps: The ones who thought it looked like a cheap cosplay, and those who thought the more basic look made sense, since the Shocker is just a self-funded low-level crook who made his own costume, and his costume has often been the subject of in-universe ridicule.