Spider-Man: Homecoming – A Fresh and Smart Spider-Man Story

After a scene-stealing debut in Captain America: Civil War, it was only inevitable that Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man would get its own film. If this one is any indication, this is a very promising start.

Synopsis: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter Parker returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. (Sony Pictures)

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, and Robert Downey Jr.

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers

Director: Jon Watts

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 133mins

Trailer: 

We have been bombarded with Spider-Man films over the last 15 years so this new film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, being the sixth film released over this span. Now what can they really do this time around? In reality, they took what we already knew and made it feel fresh again while incorporating the character within the MCU. Since his origin story had been done to death, this film spared us of that and threw us right into Peter Parker’s (Holland) life. Of course Parker is much younger this around and he’s still in high school.

The film approached the story of Parker by blending several film genres in a smart and seamless way. With Parker being a high school student came the usual territory, friendships, dating and grades but he also had to balance this alongside the fact that he was Spider-Man. This definitely wasn’t easy for him. The film approached the high school scenes including a great amount of humor and authenticity while also featuring plenty of fun moments. Parker’s high school felt like any other high school, both the dialog and the various situations were genuine which made it all fun to watch although this didn’t end there.

During his first appearance (this incarnation) in Captain America: Civil War, which we saw from his perspective here, Parker had developed a relationship with Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.) so from this came a new suit that we saw then and also here. Stark was more of a mentor type for Peter here, replacing Uncle Ben in this version of the story. After so many appearances, we all know the kind of character that Stark is and while he did show some flashes of it here, this was kept to a minimum so he didn’t overshadow Parker (definitely the right choice).

Besides high school, being young presented its own set of challenges. Parker perhaps did not have the greatest grasp of the real world so he pretty much acted as one would expect when given powers. He was having the time of his life so it was very easy to have fun with him. Getting a taste of what an Avenger was like, he wanted desperately for Stark and others to see him as an equal but Parker still had plenty of work and learning to do before that could happen. Under the sort of watchful eye of Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Parker had to work hard and prove himself, however, this would be a test of his little patience and impulsiveness.

However, an opportunity for Parker came along under the form of Adrien Toombs (Keaton) who would later become Vulture. What set him apart from other MCU villains was how grounded he was as a character. He was not over the top or one-dimensional by any means and was more of a disgruntled everyman. There wasn’t much mystery surrounding him as we knew where he stood early on. He did what he did for what he thought were for the right reasons and was strong in his convictions. Parker believed stopping him would be enough to prove himself to Stark and the others although that would be easier said than done, even with a new super suit.

Parker was learning on the job which meant success as well as failure and this whole process was compelling to watch and sometimes funny as it used humor to deal with both. He was not alone in all of this, however, as he had his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalan) at his side. Parker and Ned were entertaining to watch together and Ned himself stole many scenes as his de facto sidekick or man in the chair as he would call it. Toombs was a very sinister villain and his encounters with Parker were engaging and were even more so after a twist that brought them closer together.

The action scenes and the scenes of Parker being Spider-Man were well shot and choreographed. The film’s use of CGI, for the most part, was well done and as the action became more hectic, it may be a little hard to follow at times. Except for the humor, the film doesn’t follow the usual MCU film tropes which was nice to see. What was also nice to see was a running gag of cheesy PSA’s involving Captain America (Chris Evans) that have to be seen to be believed. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the film features a few post-credits scene, something that is commonplace nowadays, but fans will want to stay for the very end for what was probably one of the best post-credit scenes.

The performances were excellent across the board with Holland as Parker being the standout. He simply captured Parker’s youth and naivety masterfully and his sheer likability made him dynamite to watch. Keaton was just as good as Toombs. After this film, he will surely be up there as one of the best villains in the MCU as Keaton provided a truly menacing performance with emotion to back it up. Holland and Keaton were purely amazing together on screen because of their chemistry. Downey Jr. was Downey Jr. and Favreau was Favreau, albeit more here, and that still works after so many films. Ultimately, what elevated the performances was the great script that surprisingly written by 6 different people. We all know that this could have gone either way but it worked here.

Overall, this was an excellent superhero film, seamlessly blending different genres together while inserting plenty of authentic and organic humor throughout. This couldn’t have happened without a smart script and terrific performances to go alongside it.

Score: 9.5/10

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