After the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is hired to clean up the debris. He is busy renovating Stark Tower, when the job is taken away from him by Tony Stark and the government’s Department of Damage Control, threatening his entire income. Angry, Toomes seizes the Chitauri alien technology he has picked up and decides to go into the illegal weapons trade. Eight years later, he is thriving and can fly with vulture-like artificial wings.
Peter Parker, after the Civil War battle, is a kind of apprentice Avenger, while still in school, but most of the time he is just waiting for the phone to ring. He quits the Academic Decathlon Team to do his Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man thing. After stumbling on a robbery using alien weapons bought from Toomes and capturing the criminals in spectacular style which goes viral, he returns home and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) sees him in his Spidey suit. The Vulture’s henchmen, selling alien weapons from a truck, use them on him when he interferes, and the Vulture, as Toomes now calls himself, plucks him out of the sky and dumps him in the river. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who has a tracer on the latest Spidey suit, saves him—or at least his Iron Man armor does.
Peter and Ned study one of the weapons, which points the way to the State of Maryland. To get near it, Peter rejoins the Decathlon Team on a trip to Washington. Peter disables the “Training Wheels Protocol” in his suit so Stark will not be spying on him all the time, but that results in an extremely high-tech suit that can do just about anything. The suit’s AI Karen (voice of Jennifer Connolly) teaches him how to use it. Discovering that the power core in Ned’s backpack is a Chitauri grenade, he races to save his friends at the top of the Washington Monument, garnering even more publicity. He returns to New York and learns that Toomes is doing a deal on the Staten Island Ferry. There is a spectacular battle with the Vulture in which one of the devices literally cuts the ferry in half, threatening dozens of people. Iron Man shows up to help him put the ferry back together again, saving everyone.
After a dressing down from Stark, Peter returns to high school and invites Liz (Laurie Harrier) to the Homecoming Dance, but going to pick her up, he discovers that Toomes is her father. As he is quite brilliant, Toomes puts two and two together and realizes that Spiderman, whose face he never saw, is really Peter Parker. He threatens Peter in the kind of chilling demeanor that all comic actors can portray. During the dance, Peter realizes that the Vulture is planning to hijack a Stark Industries plane full of extremely dangerous alien tech, leaves Liz at the dance, and takes off after him. The Vulture collapses a building on top of Spidey and leaves him for dead, but he escapes and pursues the villain to the plane itself, which crashes on the beach at Coney Island. Toomes is found by the police stuck by web to the wreckage and many boxes of illegal weapons. Tony Stark is finally impressed. After her father’s arrest, Liz leaves town. Peter decides not to join the Avengers full time. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) finds him in the new Spider-Man suit.
The movie was produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Jon Watts. Tom Holland may well be the best Spider-Man in the movies. He is the only one who looks like a teenage boy, and he somehow manages both the motor-mouth awkwardness of Peter Parker and the balletic, spider-monkey grace of Spider-Man. The relationship between the brazenly over-confident Tony Stark and the hero-worshipping Peter Parker is rather touching, considering their family histories, and is probably the most important relationship in the film. Michael Keaton makes an excellent bad guy. First, he’s a brilliant and compelling actor. Second, in the beginning you feel sorry for him, then are tempted to rejoice in his criminal success, then turn against him for Spidey’s sake, then find him cold and terrifying, and in the end, he is a full-out frustrated madman, as he finds his plans going to hell around him. And then, in a mid-credit scene, there is a grudging respect. While the other Avengers are battling deranged and brilliant scientists, powerful international criminals, monsters from the ID, and inter-galactic conquerors, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man—a kid from the Bronx—finds the rare working-class villains.