Spider-Man Homecoming Review
Spider-Man Homecoming Review – Swinging Back to Marvel
After one trilogy, a reboot and now a second reboot you’d be forgiven for having Spider-Man fatigue at this stage. As one of Marvel’s most popular characters, Spidey has been around for a long time and his influence spans comics, films, animated series and more. Consequently, it’s been hard to put a fresh spin on the character, something The Amazing Spider-Man films struggled with. Thankfully, Marvel Studios was aware of these problems and gave us Spider-Man Homecoming, a film that doesn’t just fit neatly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also works as one of the best superhero coming-of-age films of all time.
It was a smart idea to cast a younger actor in the role of Peter Parker after Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield tried to portray a kid in college or school. We’ve already seen the enthusiastic and awe-struck tone of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America Civil War and rest assured that boundless enthusiasm continues into this film even though this time the stakes are much higher for the character. Holland is fantastic as the web-crawler, he’s quippy and endearing as Spider-Man and heartfelt and awkward as Peter Parker. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to separate the two alter-egos which is important as most great Spider-Man stories deal with the two identities clashing with one another. This is a teen, coming-of-age story and there’s as much time worrying about girls and the titular homecoming dance as chasing down the bad guys. None of this feels off-kilter though largely due to smart writing and Tom Holland’s sheer likeability on-screen. Holland impressively handles the really tough moments as Spider-Man too, when director Jon Watts really needs to bring across the kid that’s scared and in over his head.
The film kicks off with an introduction to Adrian Toomes whose reason for going bad is tied closely to The Avengers and the MCU. Toomes aka The Vulture is one of the most empathetic and successful villains for Marvel to date. He’s an everyman trying to earn his way in life but circumstances push him towards a criminal life. Without spoiling anything his reasoning for doing what he’s doing leads to some great moments with Peter Parker later on in the film. Michael Keaton is no stranger to a superhero film but there’s no sign he’s phoning this one in because he’s equal parts terrifying at times and empathetic the next. He’s not a ridiculous, over-the-top or even unreasonable bad guy but his willingness to put weapons out there on the streets puts him squarely at odds with Spider-Man. This is a small-scale story about a boy trying to juggle school with his dream to be a full-time Avenger and it’s a breath of fresh air after the universe threatening events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or the relationship-altering themes of Captain America Civil War.
The supporting and minor cast are all great too. Robert Downey Jr isn’t overused and serves as a mentor to Peter at points in specific moments while Jon Favreau’s Happy returns as Peter’s distant and reluctant babysitter. There is a recognition in the film about Aunt May being the youngest portrayed on-screen and Marisa Tomei does a good job of letting Peter flourish but still trying to take care of him – there’s a really sweet scene between them as Peter asks for help getting ready for the homecoming dance. Donald Glover appears in just a couple of scenes but does a lot with a little, as does Zendaya’s Michelle, the aloof, humorous girl in Peter’s decathalon team. Characters like Peter’s teacher Mr Harrington played by Silicon Valley‘s Martin Starr and others within the school all have funny moments and lines that keep the film moving along without delving into too much teen angst. It’s certainly one of the funniest films in Marvel’s line-up and that is epitomised most in Peter’s friend Ned who is the geeky cliché kid but has such great lines and delivery from youngster Jacob Batalon that you don’t mind when he pops up frequently.
Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming defies the odds to bring Marvel fans one of their most important characters done right with a fantastic cast, a villain that really deserves his screen time and a small-scale story that is heartfelt, funny and action-packed too. There’s a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to Tom Holland’s take on the young superhero and it’s exciting to see where the films take him next.
Have you seen Spider-Man Homecoming? What did you think about the latest Marvel film?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.