After Sam Raimi made two exceptional Spider-Man movies in 2002 and 2004, Spidey fans had been on a deeply upsetting slide down into mediocrity that began with the "too-many-cooks" disaster of Spider-Man 3 and ended with the comparative fatality of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Sure, we all hoped there'd be a great Spider-Man movie again in the future, but few could have expected that it would come within the borders of the MCU after the astonishing tonic of Spidey's cameo in Captain America: Civil War.
But as soon as Marvel and Sony got to the table to sort out a rights-sharing deal, Homecoming's success was assured. Sony would be injected with Marvel's muscular story-telling experience, Spidey would be treated with the same dignity and joy as the MCU's other prime characters and fans would be invited to feel as well as to be entertained. And the final result delivers on almost every hallowed promise Kevin Feige must have mapped out in that meeting with Sony's head honchos.
It's not a flawless film, by any means, and it's hard to avoid the sadness at how heavy Sony went on marketing, but it will delight a lot of people - both Spider-Man fans and MCU die-hards - and it stands as a monument to the good sense behind Sony and Marvel getting together to make this deal possible.
So how good is it, and what could have been done better? First the negatives...