Spiderman is one of the most beloved comic book characters Marvel has ever produced. The film franchise has been rebooted twice now. Spiderman 2 has been heralded by some as the greatest super hero movie of all time. After the lackluster performance of the Andrew Garfield reboot, many were hesitant about a third reboot of the friendly neighborhood Spiderman. This time, however, Spiderman has been inducted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans of the Avengers can welcome Spidey into the force with open arms.
Picking up right after the fight in Civil War, Peter Parker tries to maintain life as an average high schooler with big dreams of bringing his web-slinging prowess to the Avengers.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a blast. Marvel knocked it out of the park with their first full fledged movie with their newly regained property. This movie picks up right after Spiderman’s involvement in Captain America: Civil War, so this is not an origin story. Sidestepping Peter getting bitten by the spider and Uncle Ben’s demise was a smart move on the studios part, because this is a story audiences have seen before and would have killed the reboot right out of the gate. The plot focuses on Peter Parker trying to prove himself as a crime fighter on a small level so that one day he can join the ranks of the big dogs.
I know I said it already, but this film is a blast. Peter Parker’s antics are hilarious. While this isn’t an origin story, the first act is the hero discovering his powers. This sequence is fun and doesn’t feel predictable. Unlike the original Tobey Maguire movies, we see Spiderman trip and stumble his way as he practices his abilities. The film is practical with some of the web-slinging, like Peter overestimating a jump and swinging straight into the ground. Little moments like this are sprinkled throughout to keep things fun and light-hearted.
For many fans, Tobey Maguire has been THE Spiderman since the first trilogy ended. He has officially been dethroned, as Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z, In The Heart of the Sea) has made the character his own. Holland takes a youthful approach with his performance, and it makes Peter Parker more lovable as an awkward high schooler trying to have it all. The antics between Parker and his friends are hilarious and heartwarming. He tries to maintain life as a normal high schooler while fighting crime every day right after the bell rings. His suit is gifted to him by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the scenes of him unlocking all the secrets it holds is equal parts hilarious and down right awesome. He brings the drama during the films heavier moments that secure his place amongst the MCEU.
The whole cast is stellar. Robert Downey Jr. brings the usual charisma to Tony Stark/Iron Man, and his endeared servant Happy (Jon Favreau, Chef) is a riot as expected. One standout is Jacob Batalon (North Woods), who plays Parker’s best friend Ned. Holland and Batalon on screen together is wonderfully hysterical and the duo needs to return in future sequels. Other notable appearances are from former geek Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks) as coach of the Academic Decathlon, Hannibal Buress (Neighbors) as the high school coach, and Donald Glover (Atlanta) as a thug in a street arms deal.
One of the bigger flaws with the MCEU has been the antagonists. In more films than not, the villain is set on either total world domination or obliteration. The characters also do not get developed as much as the heroes as well. Marvel rectified this problem in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the form of Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet, and its expanded ten fold in Spiderman: Homecoming. The always brilliant Michael Keaton (The Founder) is one of the best parts of the movie. He plays Adrain Toomes, also known as the Vulture, and he knocks it out of the park. His character has incredible motivation as a blue collar worker turned to a life of crime dealing alien technology on the black market. It’s easy to identify with him as a villain since he just wants to economically thrive in a world that took his livelihood from him. Not only that, but he is terrifying in his full Vulture get up. One scene in particular stands out in the movie because it is so well executed between the direction and the performances that I personally was on the edge of my seat till the very end.
Spider-man: Homecoming is a huge success in a franchise that has already established itself as a slayer at the box office. Tom Holland steps into his own as the friendly neighborhood Spiderman. The movie feels fresh by side-stepping the origin story to give audiences a fresh Spidey movie. The whole cast brings equally fun and dramatic performances to give a light-hearted yet dynamic chapter in the MCEU. There are some plot points that feel like an easy path for the story to take in a formulaic genre, but that doesn’t stop this coming of age story from being a great time at the movies.
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