Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot in five years of the character, and features Tom Holland reprising his role as the titular hero from last yearâ€™s Captain America: Civil War. This time we skip over all the origin stories and Uncle Benâ€™s death and get right into Peter Parker trying to be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, until a new supervillain named Vulture (Michael Keaton) threatens New York City with dangerous weapons. Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. also star as Jon Watts directs.
I love the character of Spider-Man. Heâ€™s no Batman (duh) but when done right there is something about a sarcastic teenager in red, white and blue spandex that is just impossible not to find enjoyable. Sam Raimiâ€™s first film back in 2002 redefined the modern superhero genre (and literally changed the start date of the summer movie season from Memorial Day to first weekend of May) and Spider-Man 2 is universally accepted as one of-if not the-greatest superhero films of all-time. The third film then had a mixed response while the Andrew Garfield reboot series (if you want to call two films no one liked a â€œseriesâ€) were a colossal misfire that resulted in Sony negotiating a deal to give the character back to Marvel, and it will be interesting to see how history remembers those two outings. But enough Spidey history, letâ€™s get talking about this latest rendition.
Just like in Civil War Tom Holland shines here. He is just so darn charming, innocent and likable, and thatâ€™s just as Peter Parker. His Spider-Man has all the quips that Garfieldâ€™s was missing (saying â€œwait a minute, you guys arenâ€™t the real Avengers!â€ to a group of bank robbers in Halloween masks) and he is just so much fun and it is clear that Holland himself is having a blast in the role of a lifetime.
The supporting cast are all great, too, with Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as Tony Stark aka Iron Man, acting both as a bridge for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this reboot series as well as Peterâ€™s father figure since we donâ€™t get an Uncle Ben this time around. Downey isnâ€™t in the film all too much (every scene he has is in the trailer) but he is as sarcastic and witty as one may hope. Marisa Tomei has some genuine moments as Aunt May, and chooses to make this version of the character a little more nerdy and â€œtry hardâ€ (and clearly younger) than Rosemary Harrisâ€™ elderly, always worried take.
Michael Keaton is arguably one of the better villains that the MCU has seen, although that bar isnâ€™t set too high. A blue-collar worker screwed over by a rigged system, Keaton doesnâ€™t want world domination he just wants to make money while getting back at the elites. He gets some scenery to chew and has one genuinely tension-filled scene but overall he feels slightly underused, but it was still great to see him in a villain role, and continuing his mini-career renaissance of his.
There really isnâ€™t too much action here to speak of, a lot of the film focuses on Peter trying to balance high school and being Spider-Man, and he isnâ€™t always punching men in big flying monster suits; more often than not heâ€™s stopping bike thieves and helping give old ladies directions. When the action does hit it is as clean and fun as any film with a $175 million budget and the Marvel brand slapped on it can expect to be, and is all the more impressive coming from a director who had only made small indie dramas (see Wattsâ€™ Cop Car if you havenâ€™t).
What holds this back from the levels of Raimiâ€™s first two films is a bit of a sloppy narrative here and there. The film isnâ€™t always focused on Vulture and his plan, it just cuts back to him every now and again for a while to remind you that eventually weâ€™re going to get to a big confrontation with him and Spider-Man. There were six screenwriters on this and itâ€™s clear, sometimes the balance between big-budget superhero blockbluster and coming-of-age comedy are seamless, other times theyâ€™re jarring.
The filmâ€™s trailers also ruin *a lot* so if you have managed to avoid seeing the four of them up to this point, try to keep it that way. Scenes will be going on and suddenly youâ€™ll realize you know exactly how things are going to play out because the trailers all spoil it.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a welcome return to form for the titular character and a nice little side-entry into the MCU. When I saw Spider-Man 2 in theaters as a 10 year old it was the first time I was ever truly left speechless by a filmâ€™s greatness; and although Homecoming isnâ€™t perfect, it does bring me joy knowing that todayâ€™s kids finally have a Spider-Man worthy of being looked up to and enjoyed, because leaving them with Andrew Garfieldâ€™s would have been a travesty.