Full disclosure: My kids saw Spider-Man: Homecoming already. I was lucky enough to catch it at a very early screening in New York City, and deemed it totally safe for them to see. So I took both boys -- age 13 and 9 -- to a press screening in our home market of Charlotte, NC. And they loved it. Loved it! But because of a joke in the movie (a very funny joke, mind you), I had to hastily explain to my 9-year-old what "porn" is. And when he came home, he relayed to my wife that the funniest scene in the movie happened when a character screamed out, "What the f---!"
So yeah, in hindsight, I can understand why some parents might have slight concerns about Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But I stand by my initial assessment that the movie -- the first total collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony Entertainment on a Spider-Man story -- is a winning, entertaining, thrilling and hilarious ride for members of the entire family. I've done a few of these "OK for Kids" columns prepping parents for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman, and of those three, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the most accessible and least troubling for kids to experience. It's not a kiddie movie. But it's a movie that kids can, and will, enjoy.
The "elevator pitch" on Spider-Man: Homecoming is that director Jon Watts essentially made a John Hughes movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know Hughes: He helmed such teen classics as Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club. Spider-Man isn't nearly as mature as those films, but it captures the tone and humor that will have middle school audience members chuckling and nodding their heads as they relate to the issues facing Tom Holland's young Peter Parker.
With that comes SOME humor that's aimed at teens, and could go over the heads of young audience members. (That "porn" joke being one of them.) But my guess is that younger audience members will be so enthralled by the high-flying action that those moments won't linger.
The best part about Homecoming -- from a parent's perspective -- is that the villains, while threatening, aren't overbearingly dangerous and dark, so that you're never concerned that your kids will legit fear the action or consequence that they cause. Michael Keaton, for example, is deliciously evil as Adrian Toomes, a guy who is wronged by the system who turns to crime to get back at Tony Stark and the Avengers. And his cronies, who adopt the Shocker identity, pack a punch but rarely have Spider-Man in true harm's way.
Nothing jumps out at me in Spider-Man: Homecoming that triggers a red flag. If your kids have enjoyed Marvel movies before, especially any of the previous five Spider-Man movies, there's nothing in this latest film that will catch them off guard. In fact, I'd argue it's the most accessible and family friendly of the bunch. As always, if you guys have additional questions or concerns about the content in Spider-Man: Homecoming and want to elaborate on anything, hit me up in the comments, or e-mail me directly at [email protected].