SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Review
Since the ground-breaking announcement in early 2015 between Marvel and Sony, audiences have waited with bated breath for the latest iteration of the wall-crawler. With two franchises in less than ten years, the threat of audience fatigue looms over this film. How do Marvel dispel this? By making the greatest Spider-Man film to date!
Even since he burst on the screen in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002), no actor has ever captured the essence of the character. Maguire was believable as the “dwebish” Peter Parker pre-spider bite, and Garfield oozed charisma as the masked menace, but neither nailed both sides. Here, Tom Holland is never more perfect. He is youthful, excited, naive and, most importantly, has fun. Thankfully, so does the film.
Raimi’s films suffered from the curse of early 2000s superhero films; dower, bland, “edgy” heroes who brood their way through situations. And the less said about the Sony-exec made “Amazing” (how ironic) series the better. After stealing the show in “Civil War”, Holland is perfect as both the awkward, average teenager and the youthful, wise-cracking hero.
The story feels reminiscent of the Steve Ditko era, something previous films failed to do so. After impressing Tony Stark (Downey. Jr) in the Civil War, Peter returns to his mundane life in New York, waiting for the call from his “Stark Internship”. To satisfy his adventurous spirit, he stumbles upon the job of a lifetime; illegal weapons made from tech from Avenger battles have made their way to the streets of New York, thanks to The Vulture (Keaton). All the while, protecting his identity from his Aunt (Tomei) and worrying about the academic decathlon and the upcoming Homecoming dance. Boy, it’s tough being a superhero.
The film is able to balance the genres it covers (superhero/teen), even making it a fresh superhero film by telling a unique origin story. Instead of telling how the hero got their powers, Homecoming shows how the hero gets their identity. With the addition of the MCU, Spidey can now play with the others, namely Tony Stark. Stark is used sparingly, allowing Spidey (and the film) to act independently, and Peter’s admiration of Stark as the fatherly figure he has lost (twice, we assume).
With the exception of Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, every Spider-Man villain has been severely lacking, similar to the MCU. So, Keaton doesn’t have much competition. But what little competition he has, he blows out of the water. For a lame villain like The Vulture, Keaton is able to imbue a terrifying menace in the character; a sympathetic man who is doing all the wrong things for the right reason.
The film does suffer from a lack lustre finale, but by mixing in the teen genre and the youthfulness and naivety of Spider-Man makes it worthwhile. With the exclusion on an unnecessary and, now confusing, final twist reveal, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a perfect superhero and Spider-Man film.
With a youthful cast, intimidating villain, exciting action set pieces and perfect cast for Spider-Man and Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an exhilarating superhero film. Welcome home Spider-Man.