‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Is A Home Run [Review]
There’s a new webslinger swinging around Queens, New York fighting crime and catching bad guys, and while Spider-Man’s first solo film within the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is definitely a Homecoming on multiple levels, it is also the best Spider-Man movie to date.
After first debuting as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland successfully hits all the right notes and captures the wide-eyed, youthful spirit of the iconic character in a film that’s all about sticking up for the little guy.
Holland has a blast in the role, quick with the wisecracks when taking out bad guys yet equally at a lost for words when trying to talk to the popular girl he has a crush on at school, and the fun he’s having is contagious.
The original Batman himself, Michael Keaton is great as the film’s main villain, Adrian Toomes, known in the comic books as The Vulture.
Toomes is essentially a regular blue collar guy working hard to support his loving family, only to loose the biggest salvage contract of his career when Tony Stark’s new “Damage Control” group takes over cleanup of the wreckage left after the events of 2012’s The Avengers. As a result, his motive to do whatever must be done to simply survive is far more relatable than say Loki’s attempts to take over the planet or Ultron trying to destroy it.
Pissed at the powers that be – namely Robert Downey Jr.’s Stark for basically creating the mess and then monopolizing the job of cleaning it up – Vulture decides to keep some of the alien technology his crew salvaged. Fast forward to eight years later, and he’s selling this weaponized tech to back alley criminals for big bucks, and all is going great, until our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man happens upon one of the weapons while stopping a bank robbery.
Before long Spidey is testing out all the gadgets on his new Stark-designed suit against Toomes’ gang, until Keaton straps on his menacing mechanical wings and shows the kid what real firepower looks like, and gets away.
That causes Iron Man to take back the Spider-Man suit he gave to Peter after Civil War, which of course only forces our young hero rely more on his own talents and enhanced abilities to complete his self-appointed mission of stopping the Vulture.
Keaton’s villain is one of the most complex introduced so far in the MCU, as he draws sympathy from the audience after getting screwed over by the billionaire Stark. He is a surprisingly human bad guy who may not be as bad as some, but poses an especially dangerous threat to Peter on a personal level. After a satisfying twist that I won’t spoil here, Holland and Keaton share the best scene of the movie, where the true stakes of being a superhero are laid out.
While this Peter Parker is much younger than prior big screen portrayals (he’s only 15 and dealing with everything that anyone in high school deals with, in addition to being a fledgling superhero), Homecoming thankfully skips the whole bit-by-a-radioactive-spider-and-then-Uncle-Ben-dies origin story that we’ve already seen played out twice in the last 15 years. Instead, it picks up just prior to Spidey’s debut in Civil War, as we get to watch some of those events play out again only this time from Parker’s point of view.
Former Disney starlet Zendaya as Peter’s tomboy classmate Michelle is clearly being setup for more importance in future films, but she’s simply not given a whole lot to do this time out, despite the actress’s “above the title” billing.
Fans of the comic books will love (or at least be talking about) various Easter eggs throughout the film that tease the eventual arrival of other characters like Miles Morales and the villainous Hobgoblin, but Homecoming is mostly tied to Civil War and next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, in which Spidey is expected to fight alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes once again.
Despite a longing for acceptance from Stark and the Avengers, Peter is ultimately content keep on fighting the street level neighborhood battles that need his attention, for now at least, while trying to finish high school, where he is not a distracted dreamer but rather an above average science geek, just as he is in the comics.
Spider-Man is back and better than ever, and with timely social commentary and the visceral excitement of swinging to the rescue at just the right moment, being the hero your friends idolize without them ever knowing it and yet doing it anyway because it’s the right thing to do, Homecoming is Marvel at its best.
Official Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
What did YOU think of this movie? Write your own review in the comments below!
Spider-Man: Homecoming (rated PG13) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills.