Coming after the box office titan that is Wonder Woman, one can only imagine the pressure faced by the execs at Marvel and Sony. Especially after a string of reboots that were tepid at best.
They have nothing to worry about with Spiderman: Homecoming. It is amazing.
Just when superhero franchise fatigue is setting in, Jon Watts spins a masterful creation that’s so self-aware and on point with its observations, it feels satisfyingly fresh. Bouncy and snappy, the entire film catapults us between drama and action, with no whiplash from story or camerawork (we’re looking at you Transformers).
This chapter departs from the other entries because it doesn’t suffer from grandiose aims (“with great power comes great responsibility”) or overextending the arena. Spiderman: Homecoming is almost classic in its treatment, putting values and story above effects and “dark angsty edge”, giving us the Spiderman that we grew up reading about.
Spiderman: Homecoming doesn’t begin with an origin story, and drops us straight into Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) internship at Stark Industries. He battles with the big guys and enjoys his stint, but school term returns and he is back to the study grind. The enthusiastic youth is buzzing with his new-found mission in life and constantly checks on new assignments with his mentor Happy (Jon Favreau). He is ignored by the dour aide of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) so our hero tries to continue the justice streak himself by being the local neighbourhood crime-fighter.
Peter discovers a gang trading in illegal alien weaponry and desperate to earn his stripe, he tries to hunt them down, only to meet up and be overpowered by our story villain Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture (Michael Keaton). This sets us up for numerous tug-of-war encounters the duo has, including an unexpected one in the second half that adds a great dimension to the struggle.
There’s no doubt that director Watt’s greatest achievement in this film is its casting. Every actor has comfortably become the new face of their character. The tl;dr – Tom Holland is Peter Parker.
Many side stories have unravelled when given full-on feature attention, but Holland now runs the torch of this franchise with such dexterity, it’s almost like the English actor was born into it. He captures the perkiness without the cheesiness. His quips are sincere but never bland. We empathise easily with his growing up struggle as he juggles between his role as teenager and superhero, frequently having to choose sides between romance and duty, honesty and the greater good.
Spiderman: Homecoming also achieves a great feat that many before have failed – a great dynamic ensemble. Every character introduced inhabit their purpose and come together perfectly like a Swiss watchmaker’s clockwork to move the story.
Marisa Tomei’s caretaker Aunt May is a fun bundle of nerves, while Peter’s childhood bff Ned (Jacob Batalon) is a riot with his embarrassing questions and aspirations to be “the guy in the chair” for his Avenger friend when he discovers Peter’s secret. Some of the funniest humour comes from the unexpected honesty in scenes where they try to fight crime together. When caught in the library using the computer to aid Peter, Ned blurts out that he was using it for “porn”.
Referencing another great superhero film, Spiderman: Homecoming is similar to Deadpool in many aspects. It’s clever and fun, without the sexual and dark tones. It’s a rare stellar all-rounder and will easily earn thumbs-up from fans and non-fans alike.
Fun and furious gags bounce us through this expert (and much needed) film rendition of an all-time favourite superhero, serving a new happy benchmark of how it should be done.
First published: www.movieXclusive.com