MOVIE REVIEW – SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Warning, spoilers ahead…
When does a “reboot” not feel like a reboot? When you put it in the capable hands of Marvel Studios and they give us Spider-Man: Homecoming. Ever since Spider-Man made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, fans have been eagerly awaiting to see the Webmaster appear in his own solo adventure. Wait no further because the Spider-Man film franchise just got a new and refreshing restart.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a colorful comic book come to life that is both bright and fun. Don’t be fooled though. Between the comedic scenes and witty dialogue, Homecoming has a poignant message behind it that echoes the feeling of “with great power comes great responsibility”.
After his successful audition working alongside members of the Avengers, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is anxious to get back into action. However his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who keeps a watchful eye on young Peter wants him to scale down that enthusiasm and more of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man than someone who puts himself in harm’s way on a global scale. The interaction between the two replaces the one we’ve seen before with Uncle Ben. This however feels like a father trying to reel in his son from making a mistake that could hurt himself or put others in danger. The interaction is believable and a delight to watch.
As for the story itself, director Watts ties the events of the first Avengers film when he introduces Adrian Toomes (the great Michael Keaton) who runs a salvaging company that was contracted to clean up the mess left after the Battle of New York. Unfortunately for Toomes, Stark and the U.S. government has other plans and take over the salvaging leaving Toomes and his crew without a job. After pocketing pieces of alien technology, Toomes uses this to become a black market weapons distributor. He and his crew use the tech to steal money to further acquire more material that they could sell and become rich.
After nearly eight years of conducting his black market operation under the nose of the Avengers, it’s Spider-Man who discovers what’s happening and tries to bring Toomes to justice. From there Peter gets into one predicament after another. Even with the best of intentions, Peter seems over his head. So much so a common street thug has to give him pointers on how to be a better and more intimidating hero. That scene alone was one of many well-done moments throughout the film.
Besides trying to bring down Toomes, Peter is still a high school student, with an eye on the prettiest girl in school Liz (Laura Harrier), keep his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who had discovered his secret from talking too much and of course there’s protecting his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and keeping her from finding out he’s Spider-Man. That’s a lot for any one let alone a teenager coming of age. A special shutout to Zendaya who plays a cynical and rebellious student named Michele with a watchful eye on Peter Parker.
Like any teenage boy (or girl) who wouldn’t want to fly alongside Iron Man or fight side by side with Captain America? There is something very genuine in Peter’s desire to save the world and that’s what Holland brings to the table above anything else, a sense of wonder and a kid like curiosity.
When Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spider-Man in 1962, he was an ordinary teenage boy name Peter Parker, living an ordinary teenage life until a radioactive spider bit him, turning Peter from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Prior to this film, there have been five films since 2002. The first three starring Tobey Maguire and most recently Andrew Garfield in the ill attempt to reboot the film franchise. There’s a lot within both to admire and enjoy but neither connected well with the character of Peter. It’s the whole Bruce Wayne/Batman argument all over again. Some actors are more convincing as one than the other but to truly work, they need to be convincing as both. Young Tom Holland gives us the first real portrayal of Peter Parker ever seen. This is by no means a sign of disrespect to either Maguire or Garfield. Both actors did very well but Holland gives us a fresh take that’s true to the character and in doing so makes the superhero of Spider-Man more compelling. Thank you Marvel for giving us something we haven’t seen. We all look forward to future amazing and spectacular adventures.
Directed by Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.
PG-13 134 mins
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – **** (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight