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Spider-Man: Homecoming – Movie Review

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Spider-Man: Homecoming – Movie Review

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

With Tom Holland becoming the third actor to play Spider-Man on the big screen, one could wonder how they could revive this property again without feeling Deja vu. Despite bringing Peter Parker back to high school, Spider-Man: Homecoming manages to remain fresh. Part of this comes from the two main story arcs, as the film emphasizes how he’s still a student and yet joining the Avengers is constantly on his mind. The corporate deal makings that led to this film becoming possible don’t enter one’s mind as Homecoming connects seamlessly with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a level of energy director Jon Watts brings to the proceedings, yet he also shows Spider-Man’s limitations.

At its heart, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a high school comedy. The humour provides the necessary laughs, but they work because each character is instantly established. The dialogue has a sharpness and the dynamics exist between the main students we encounter. Peter Parker and Ned’s friendship feels genuine as is their excitement at being part of this superhero adventure. However, the script also highlights his vulnerabilities. He displays an impatience and immaturity, even when knowing that with great power comes great responsibility. Watts highlights this through the action scenes and this becomes the first Spider-Man movie to show webbing won’t work everywhere in New York. The conflicts that arise feel like natural issues Spidey would have to deal with, no matter how high tech Tony Stark makes his suit.

The addition of Stark ties this film the most with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is also a humourous opening that shows Peter’s point-of-view during the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War. It starts the film on a light-hearted note, while also giving the backdrop for why Peter feels he’s already a part of the Avengers. Watts creates some clever action sequences of his own, including a run through a series of backyards and a thrilling climb atop the Washington Monument. There is a lightness to these scenes that feels right at home with Spider-Man, but Watts never dilutes the stakes.

Despite a bravura performance from Michael Keaton, the Vulture joins the long line of disappointing Marvel screen villains. Keaton is clearly enjoying himself, but his baddie is merely a blue collar worker with wings. The finale is a particularly disappointing show down, especially after the inventive action scenes that came before. Watts mostly throws special effects at the screen and there are points where it’s difficult to see what’s going on. The high school scenes and Spider-Man being Spider-Man are where Homecoming mostly shines. Tom Holland also more than earns his place in the suit. In addition to Jacob Batalon’s instantly likeable Ned, his chemistry with Robert Downey, Jr.’s Stark plays tremendously well.

The second half of Spider-Man: Homecoming veers more into cliché than the first hour, but the experience as a whole is still a worthy entry into the Marvel Universe. The core ideas of Spider-Man remain on screen and Watts allows his interpretation to stand out from Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s previous cinematic takes. It’s a good hearted spectacle, but also showing the flaws that come from being a teenage superhero. It understands what makes Peter Parker so relatable to many young people, but doesn’t feel the need to rehash many of the same themes and stories as previous versions. Despite being Spidey’s sixth time on the big screen, he’s definitely his own arachnid here.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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