A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine—distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fantastic coming-of-age tale that blends what is best about a John Hughes-style film with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For church leaders seeking to use this film in a youth setting there are a few things to note.
The first is the underlying principal that undergirds this study guide. Namely, that the gospel-event, Christ’s life, death and resurrection, was such a momentous event in history that it has spilled over into every aspect of existence. We can find shards of the gospel in literature, movies, pagan belief systems, science; nearly anything that you can imagine has been affected in some way by Christ.
The gospel that is found in non-Christian sources is only a shard of the gospel, an echo if you will. If existence was a calm pool, then Christ’s entrance was a large stone striking the center, causing waves and ripples. This guide is aimed at looking at some of the ripples that can be seen in Spider-Man.
It is my hope that you can use this movie to showcase Christ both in the ways that this movie affirms the Christian story and the ways that this movie contradicts it. Ultimately, we are called to be in this world but not of it. If our youth are to live in this world, then they need to be able to discern many messages that are being thrown at them, and to be able to separate what is negative from what is positive.
A few things to note about the MCU and Spider-Man. The first is that this is the second reboot of the Spider-Man franchise but this film doesn’t waste time with an origin story. Instead, the heart of this film is a group of high schoolers as they try to navigate social groups and relationships. As with nearly any piece of entertainment, there is some objectionable content. Thankfully, Spider-Man: Homecoming has far less objectionable content than most PG-13 films. There is some violence and a few off-color jokes, but for the most part, this is a wholesome entertaining romp in a superhero world.
This film is firmly set in the MCU and doesn’t connect to any of the previous Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man features a prominent role in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It is very likely that he will continue to be a large figure in the years to come.