In an already overcrowded Marvel Universe, a mega famous hero steps back into the spotlight to try to reclaim an identity it lost about a decade ago. Spider-Man, who is already popular on a global level, has had some pretty terrible film adaptations (looking at you Spider-Man 3) and some great ones as well (Spider-Man 1). The wall crawling, web slinging, pipsqueak of a hero, Spider-Man, is back in theaters and boy, does it finally feel right. After years of making fun of the emo, black suited Spider-Man film of the late 2000’s and the not quite right, tough guy Spider-Man of the 2010’s, we get a light and comical Spider-Man to grace the silver screen and finally put Peter Parker back into the good graces of movie goers in Spider-Man Homecoming.
Opening this past weekend, Spider-Man Homecoming is the first of its franchise but thankfully, not an origins story by any means. We pick up with an already powered up Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, living with his Aunt May in Queens, living the life of an almost 15 year old in high school with super powers. I really like that they didn’t go through the whole story again, as if you’re a Spider-Man fan, you know he gets bit, he gets powers and he figures out his life as a hero. We didn’t need that story for a 3rd time.
At the same time we get a glimpse into the world of the people affected by a world of super heroes and the great disaster in NYC when the Avengers battled intergalactic aliens in the first Avengers movie. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) was a construction worker helping with the clean up, when all of a sudden the government swooped in and stole away his work and livelihood by taking over the job of alien technology removers. Forced to make a hard choice, Toomes took his fate into his own hands and began to create weapons and other pieces of tech from stolen alien scraps and sold them to the criminals of NYC. 8 years later, he is thriving in the city as a crime boss/arms dealer called, The Vulture and providing for his family and friends. Keaton does a serviceable role playing the bad guy, matched with some various smaller villains, but I think that the director didn’t really allow Keaton to shine until way into the last act, as the action and suspense built up. Even so, this is probably the best adaption of the Vulture I have ever seen because typically, this villain is too comic booky.
The cast of this film is full of young, unknown actors but they have a great on screen chemistry and solid comedic timing as Spider-Man Homecoming goes on. Peter’s best friend, Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, has some of the best lines in the film and serves as a solid sidekick, or “guy in the chair” for the duration of Spider-Man Homecoming. I really enjoyed his blunt, funny lines (“Looking at porn?”) and laughed out loud when he was hanging out in Peter’s room, wearing the Spider-Man mask. Some memorable moments for me include the high schools newscasts, specifically when one co-host asks the other to the homecoming dance and she rejects him. It reminds me of an SNL skit we would see, and that kind of humor really makes me laugh. There were some cool side characters played by various comedians, such as Martin Short as a teacher and Hannibal Buress as their gym teacher. And I guess if you care a ton about the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America make appearances in various roles in the film.
Tom Holland truly did carry this film, as it was mainly about his story as Spider-Man. One thing I liked about him is, unlike Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, the director did not force a terrible Brooklyn accent or try to give him this NYC tough guy persona. They let him be a typical 15 year old kid, which even with its cheesy moments and lack of real passion from time to time, it worked. And it worked better than the other actors before trying to be Peter Parker. Because although Peter Parker is surrounded by tragedy, he deals with it through humor and strength. Not donning an emo hair flip or a New Yorker attitude. Tom also does a great job at interacting with Keaton in various parts of the film, creating actual uncomfortable feelings and a great deal of suspense at times as well.
Spider-Man Homecoming succeeds in a lot of places the movies before it failed. It wasn’t the greatest movie in the world but it was far from the worse. I liked this film for it’s humor and action but at times, it makes a better teen comedy than a Marvel movie about superheroes. With a studded cast of unknowns and world wide super stars, this movie let’s it actors play off each other and make a fun summer film that the whole family can enjoy.