Instead of an origin story, we get a Spider-Man who has gotten his powers, used them around town a few times, was given a major suit upgrade, and has seen some big-time action... and has now returned to his neighborhood to be a local hero, but with the new suit. Another rehash of the origin story wasn't needed, so it's great that we didn't waste screen time on going over that again, but you don't get a clear indication of how much hometown hero-ing Petey has actually done to this point. It is brilliant how they've extended the relationship from Civil War to be a mentoring relationship between Iron Man and Spider-Man. Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland really portray this loving, yet awkward, relationship well on-screen, doing a great job of showing Tony Stark trying to be a father figure, of sorts, when he doesn't really know how to fill that part and references his own relationship with his dad at points to that effect, to a young man whose parents died when he was young and who is currently without a father figure to look up to at home.
At its heart, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a boy's coming-of-age story. Petey has been fawning over Liz (Laura Harrier), apparently for some time, but can't muster the courage to approach her. Instead, he and his friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), watch from afar, as social outcasts, geeking out to Star Wars, LEGO and, um, LEGO Star Wars and the like. Meanwhile, outside of school, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been swinging around town as Spider-Man, New York's hometown hero. However, after being "thrown into the deep end" during Captain America: Civil War, Peter is aching to do more... to become an Avenger and go on missions, instead of stopping bike thieves, giving directions, and being rewarded with the odd churro from time to time. Further, when Ned accidentally discovers that Peter is "that Spider-Man guy from Youtube," he becomes the only civilian to know his secret... and wants to become his "guy in the chair" - an over-watch who gathers intel remotely while the hero does his thing. This isn't something that Spider-Man traditionally has, but it could prove useful...
While Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place in New York after Civil War, this is also a New York still in the aftermath of "the Incident" AKA The Battle of New York. There's even a special feature, "Aftermath," in which Kevin Feige and the producers explain some of what has happened between the Incident and Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, to Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), it's pretty simple; the rich, super-powered elite who brought such destruction to New York are now profiting from cleaning it up. Not only that, but with Stark's move to form the Department of Damage Control, Adrian Toomes is out of work, his lucrative clean-up contract with the city has become worthless, and he's left financially over-extended, since he had purchased new trucks and equipment to handle such a large salvage job. When he and his crew ponder their rotten luck and one of them realizes they still have a truckload of alien tech, Adrian decides that it's time for them to up their game and to pilfer alien tech to continue their development of human/alien hybrid technology for profit. Specifically? Weapons. Well, that and an impressive armored flight suit that helps Toomes pull off his heists and gives him his persona as the Vulture.
As Harvey Dent put it in the 2008 film, The Dark Knight, "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Michael Keaton actually played the character in question (well, not in that trilogy, but still the Batman) and went on to become the villain in this one, bringing life to a chilling, high-tech version of the Vulture. Keaton's Vulture is a family man between a rock and a hard place, but one who has no qualms making the tough decisions to "protect his family"... which can be from dangers major or slight. And, no, "family" doesn't seem to extend to his crew. This Vulture isn't a kill-for-the-sake-of-killing sort of villain, but the fact that killing doesn't phase him in the least makes him less predictable and, in some ways, more frightening than a more predictable cold-blooded killer.
The Vulture's crew features a few noteworthy characters from Spider-Man's rogue gallery, although in early, proto-forms; they're salvage workers using alien tech to aid them in their salvage operations and then illegal weapon makers, using the tech to make the weapons to sell and to protect themselves from Spider-Man, who is trying to shut down their operation. The crew member with a scorpion tattoo on his neck is Mac Gargan (Michael Mando), whose name Spidey fans would recognize to be the Scorpion. Herman Schultz (Bokeem Woodbine, Underground) gets an alien hybrid tech punching glove device that packs quite a punch and an electrical shock, to boot, to become the Shocker. His jacket even has a quilted texture and coloring that is a nod to the Shocker's costume. The one that I didn't catch, however, was Phineas Mason (Michael Chernus, Orange is the New Black) AKA The Tinkerer. The skills matched up, as Phineas was the brains behind all of the hybrid alien tech that Vulture and crew had and the Tinkerer from the comic books made unique weapons for several supers, but I was familiar with the character as an old, bald man, so I didn't realize he was the Tinkerer until I saw him introduced as such in a special feature.
Some of the characters have interesting portrayals, beyond changing the age and look of, say, the Vulture and the Tinkerer. May "Aunt May" Parker (Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny) is young and hip, rather than old and replacement hip, and hot to the point that everyone from the Sandwich shop guy, to the Thai waiter, and even Tony Stark are hitting on or making comments about her. The only "MJ" in the group is Michelle (Zendaya), an alternative, outsider type who is on the fringe of the social circle, putting her near Peter Parker and Ned, but seeming to be an asocial loner. (However, she seems like she may have more interest in Peter than she lets on.) We don't find out that she wants to be called "MJ" until near the end of the film, but if her name is "Michelle," then this isn't Mary Jane, so this could just be a playful nod to MJ. Additionally, there's Ned. I don't know that his last name is ever mentioned, but "Leeds" springs to mind, as Ned Leeds was a rival of Peter Parker's at the Daily Bugle in vying for Betty Brant's affections. In the comics, however, Ned Leeds was an athletic blonde Caucasian, not a heavyset dark-haired Hawaiian. For that matter, several of the teen characters are credited with just first names, so it would be easy for them to say they weren't who you thought and replace them in some later film. Was Flash (Tony Revolori) actually Flash Thompson? Pretty definitely. And Betty (Angourie Rice) was Betty Brant, as can be seen in her school news program titles.
Also, there are some unexpected twists to be enjoyed... and I won't spoil them, here. Let's just say that Spider-Man has a lot to deal with, whether it be typical street thugs upgrading to not-so-typical alien weaponry, balancing the duties of being a superhero with those of the "Stark Internship" and those of being, well, a high-school student, or just trying to fit in and impress his crush from school. While he's at it, it might be nice to work harder on keeping his identity secret. By the end of the movie, there are no less than three non-hero types who have found out.
As for the fun factor, it's in there. Before this movie, Andrew Garfield was my favorite Peter Parker, but whether it be Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield or Jack Black, each actor who portrays Spider-Man has brought something unique to the role. Tom Holland brings the whole package to the screen - to a degree that you won't fully appreciate until you watch the special features. Before this role, Tom Holland has worked as a dancer and done gymnastics, building balance, agility and strength to the point that he did most of his own stunts. The dance experience also gave him an expressiveness that allowed him to convey emotions, even when the Spider-Man mask hides facial expressions.
I'm anxious for more of Tom Holland as Spider-Man and, hopefully, a good bit more of Michael Keaton's Vulture, as well. Perhaps a Sinister Six film? That would really hit the spot. Until then, pick up Spider-Man: Homecoming and enjoy. If you have a 4K setup, you'll definitely want to pick up this version; with its high dynamic range, the picture is absolutely beautiful.