Directed by Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon, Robert Downey Jr.
After five films, it’s kind of hard to do anything new with the character of Spider-man anymore but “Spider-man: Homecoming” does just enough to stand out on its own.
Does the film revolutionize the genre the way “The Dark Knight” did many moons ago? Of course not, but “Homecoming” is about as enjoyable as they come and better than most summer action flicks and is well worth the price of admission, unlike another MCU film this year.
(The more I think about this film, the more I dislike it…)
“Spider-man: Homecoming” continues the story the MCU’s Peter Parker who after the events of “Civil War” is looking to prove himself to Tony Stark that he can be an Avenger. Peter in his quest, however, finds himself struggling to maintain some semblance of a normal life while fighting crime as a costumed vigilante including telling the girl he’s attracted to how he feels. But when a group of bank robbers wielding technology eerily similar to the ones used by the aliens in “Avengers” come stomping through his neighborhood, Peter see’s it as his chance to not only save the day but make an impression on Stark.
“Homecoming’s” greatest strength is that it understands its viewers aren’t new to Spider-man and thus doesn’t try to over emphasize shit we already know. We don’t need to be told that Uncle Ben died, we don’t need to hear “with great power comes great responsibility,” hell the movie mentions radioactive spiders in a tiny snippet and never revisits that thought again and why would they? This gives director Jon Watts the chance to tell his own Spider-man story without needlessly slugging through exposition we already know and that makes the film flow sooo much better.
Sure Spider-man follows a lot of the old beats of the past films, mostly in the first quarter of the story, as Spidey stops robbers and other bad guys while delivering his trademark quips but that’s to be expected in a film based on a character with now six movies, countless animated shows and video games and not to mention all the comic books. Save for a Mile Morales Spidey flick there isn’t a whole lot of new things a sixth Spider-man film can touch on anyways.
(And once again, a big fuck you to anybody who has a problem with diversity…)
Watt’s script does however veer into some new territory, at least as far as the films go, and it’s pretty satisfying overall. It goes back to the old themes of responsibility again but it’s also about how that plays into proving yourself to others. Peter gets blinded so badly by his ambition to be an Avenger and to show Stark what he’s made of that he forgets why he started crime fighting in the first place and not to mention his own responsibilities to his friends and what family he has left.
It’s a new shade to the old “with great power comes great responsibility” line and it works in the context of the story and the MCU franchise.
(He just wanted Stark senpai to notice him ;3;…)
What’s nice about the film too is we get probably the most comic accurate version of high school Spider-man to date as Holland and his co-stars play believable angsty teenagers with all the awkwardness and hormones to boot.
Holland is great as both Spider-man and Peter Parker playing both an effective quip master as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger but also an emotional teenager going through hurdles in his life and regrets of the past. Is he perfect at this role? No. But he’s more effective at least than either of the previous two who were either too plane for the role (Tobey Maguire) or suffered from the worst script writing imaginable (Andrew Garfield). Holland is a solid lead here and definitely proves in this film that he can carry the franchise moving forward.
(The most blasphemous scene in Spider-man film history, besides the web hand…#itwillALWAYScomeback2Spiderman)
Holland’s co-stars are equally enjoyable though as mentioned before. Jacob Batalon provides a ton of humor in Ned (even if it’s a character stolen from the Morales Spidey-verse) and his chemistry with Holland from scene to scene is hugely enjoyable throughout the film. The two have a nice best buds relationship going that’s fun to watch as the characters get into trouble and deal with bad guys. Zendaya as Michelle, even in a small bit role, does her best Aubrey Plaza impersonation and provides a nice contrast to Peter’s more earnest approach.
And of course, Robert Downey Jr. is his usual charming self in his small/large supporting role as Stark and manages to dial it back just enough so that he doesn’t upstage Holland’s own performance.
(It was pretty much impossible for RDJ to upstage Holland after this though.)
The real surprise of the film though has to be Michael Keaton’s Vulture.
Now it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Keaton can act and carry his weight in a super hero film, but given the MCU’s troubled track record when it comes to making memorable bad guys it’s pretty impressive that “Homecoming” made a character like Vulture memorable. Spider-man’s rogue’s gallery is honestly not that great and I doubt anyone cared about Vulture going into this movie but Keaton plays a convincingly menacing villain in this character who is both cunning and dastardly. This all leads to one of the more satisfying finales in the MCU to date with a tremendously entertaining set of action sequences and its astonishing that the studio finally had both the hero AND the villain provide real screen presence together for a change.
(Shouldn’t surprise anyone that Keaton can play Vulture. After all, he has experience playing Birdmen…heh)
As far as MCU films go “Homecoming” is probably the second or third best film they’ve done to date. Now while that might not still be saying much when talking about this series, this doesn’t mean this movie is a waste of time by any stretch. It’s a fun summer blockbuster that’s both humorous and action-packed and will definitely provide plenty of escapism for the average movie-goer.
It’s a film that will probably grow on most viewers the more it ages and in the end sets up the character nicely to fit into the rest of this universe which is the main purpose of this film anyways.
It’s no “Dark Knight” but it’s definitely a HUGE improvement upon its predecessor and even though it’s little bit of the same, “Spider-man: Homecoming” much like its character rises aboveexpectations and proves that it belongs in the franchise.
Btw fuck you, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci. That is all…
3.5 out of 5
Now about that film we were supposed to see this month…#HYPE