Being a teenager is hard, but being a teenage superhero is harder as we learn from the sensational new Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first Sony/Marvel partnership film after Spidey’s wildly praised inclusion in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. For fans, Marvel’s most popular superhero being back under the direction of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the architect of the MCU, is about as exciting as the film itself and the newly found partnership has wielded it’s might right out of the gate with a fresh, intelligent and entertaining film that resets the Spider-Man franchise and gives die-hard fans a look at the character the way he is meant to be seen.
Tom Holland takes over the role of Peter Parker, a high school sophomore thrust into the world of superheros after a radioactive spider gives him super powers. Returning home after his brief stint with the Avengers, waiting for his next mission is making young Peter inpatient for action as he struggles with a normal life. Every aspect of his life pails in comparison to the thrill of being Spider-Man and swinging above the ground and being a high school student just doesn’t seem to be his destiny. All that changes when some mysterious alien artifacts start popping up on the street which thrusts the young superhero into action.
Too small a task for the Avengers is just how Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) likes it as he runs his underground illegal alien arms racket. Staying just ahead of the FBI and off the radar of Earth’s mighty heroes has allowed Toomes and his crew to make a lot of money off of stolen alien artifacts, but when Spider-Man begins peeking his nose into their business, well that’s just not something this crew will stand for. As Peter begins to snoop, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) begins to wonder if his young protege is able to handle the pressure of his powers. Tony assigns Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to watch over Peter as a liaison, but when Peter decides he can no longer stand by and watch as criminals are threatening his city, he goes against everything Stark asks of him and dissolves the trust between the two. As a war wages on in his mind, Peter must face his destiny and embrace his present self to find the answers he is searching for and become the hero he is destined to be.
Director Jon Watts (Cop Car) brings a perfect mix of action and humor to his John Hughes-esque take on the Spider-Man story. Unlike previous incarnations of the character, where we’ve had to rehash the origin story, Spider-Man: Homecoming hits the ground running and allows for the story to shape organically around Peter and his life as a high school student. Tom Holland is the perfect embodiment of Peter Parker. Awkward, genius high school student with a knack for bad timing, check! Over hyper superhero with a knack for sarcasm, check! The kid is outstanding in his portrayal of the popular webslinger. Michael Keaton is the best comic book villain on film since Heath Ledger’s Joker. Keaton brings a calm, menacing demeanor to his role as the Vulture character, who is given an upgrade and a slightly altered backstory in this film.
The supporting cast around Holland enables the young actor to flesh out his character and bring out the emotional elements in the film. Jacob Batalon is wonderfully lovable as Peter’s best friend Ned and Marisa Tomei brings Aunt May into a whole new light with a younger, more self reliant take on the character which may come as a shock to comic fans. MCU alums Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., pros to the superhero game, act as the “ole wise men” to young Holland and his character and help usher in the newest member to the MCU family with limited, yet crucial, screen time. Stand out kudos go out to Zendaya and Tony Revolori for their humor and sass as Michelle and Flash respectively.
Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a grand slam and a huge boost to future Marvel collaborations. Sony took a chance and it paid off beyond expectations and the winners are the comic fans and audiences around the world. Superhero movies were kicked in the butt by Deadpool last year, but this year belongs to Spider-Man. Welcome home web-head.
4 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene(s)?
Yes. One mid credit and one post credit