Dan's Review: "Spider-Man: Homecoming" the best Spidey yet
Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming - © 2017 Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony/Marvel Studios)
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, Selenis Leyva, Isabella Amara, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., J. J. Totah, Abraham Attah, Tiffany Espensen, Angourie Rice, Michael Barbieri, Ethan Dizon, Martha Kelly, Michael Mando, Garcelle Beauvais, Chris Evans, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly (voice), Kerry Condon (voice).
Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.
Directed by Jon Watts.
Isn’t it nice when movie studios play nice together? Ever since Marvel Studios portioned off their inventory to the highest bidding movie distributors, we’ve been left with a hodgepodge of films that exist in the same basic comic book universe, but are separate entities on the big screen. The discrepancy between the quality of films from various distributors/studios was no more obvious than the moment Iron-Man was released, setting off the prosperous Marvel Cinematic Universe (since purchased by Disney). Ironically, the most successful Marvel property up to that point was the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series. It started out well, but fell into oblivion with the third installment. Sony has owned the Spidey distribution rights since Day One (and still does), and even tried a reboot a few years ago with Andrew Garfield in the title role. I’m not sure how they did it, but the Sony/Disney folks got together and meshed a new Spider-Man into the current MCU with the inclusion of the friendly neighborhood web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War.
Tom Holland is back as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The story begins with a retelling of Peter’s trip to Germany and his participation in the Civil War showdown, as seen through a video he shot on his cell phone. Upon returning to his Queens home where he lives with his Aunt Mae (Marisa Tomei). Peter manages his time as a high school student and part time superhero as best he can, but feels somewhat forgotten by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), who recruited him into the Avengers world (without officially allowing him to be a part of the team). Parker uses a “Stark internship” as cover for his absences while fighting crime in the neighborhood, constantly checking in with Tony’s security chief Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) who is assigned to watch over the kid and the suit.
Meanwhile, Adrian Toomes (Micheal Keaton), a disgruntled salvage company owner who lost a contract to clean up New York after the devastating events surrounding the first Avengers movie begins to use alien tech to create deadly weaponry to sell on the black market. Toomes also develops a flying suit that gives him special abilities to steal more alien tech from the S.H.I.E.L.D. folks and other government entities (the suit transforms him into comic book villain “Vulture”). Business is good for Toomes until Parker encounters some of his hardware and tries to track down the source, despite a lack of support from Stark. Parker also has to deal with the regular challenges of being a high school sophomore; friendship with best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon), a rivalry with Flash (Tony Revolori), a platonic relationship with Michelle (Zendaya) and a major crush on Liz (Laura Harrier), not to mention his studies and extracurricular activities, including being part of the school’s academic decathlon team. Peter’s troubles grow when he tries to be a hero, only to be thwarted by Toomes/Vulture and being disciplined by Stark. The conflict comes to a head when Vulture tries to hijack a Stark plane full of all kinds of deadly tech, and Parker is the only thing standing in his way.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is by far the best Spider-Man film ever released, for a variety of reasons. First, there’s Holland, who is actually a teenage kid (which is what Peter Parker is supposed to be) who gives a perfectly charming and likeable performance in the title role. Holland doesn’t seem like he’s acting and gives the character a believable vibe. There’s also an air of believability among the other characters, including Mae, Peter’s friends and associates, and all the interaction with Toomes, who doesn’t seem like all the other brooding, all-powerful villains in other Spider-Man films. In short, there’s an authentic vibe to the entire film, despite the incredible circumstances associated with comic book minutiae.
I’m also pleased with the way Spider-Man is being slowly integrated into the Avengers universe without a lot of fanfare and with a deliberate sense of restraint, unlike other superhero films that try a little too hard to “wow” audiences with too much “cool” factor. Peter Parker is cool, and humble and a kid trying to make sense of his changing world while trying to maintain and develop his powers – kind of like the rest of us did when we were teenagers.
There are so many things to like about Spider-Man: Homecoming that are too numerous to mention completely, but one stand out aspect is the use of humor at the expense of Captain America (Chris Evans), who makes several cameo appearances throughout the movie via video public service messages for school kids; the kind of condescending morality pleas you remember getting when you were in school. Be sure to stay through the end credits for a special treat that will make you laugh out loud. There are other Marvel “Easter eggs” scattered throughout the movie, so pay attention, and have fun while watching Spider-Man: Homecoming.
*Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters July 7.
Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer