Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Laura Harrier, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Hannibal Buress, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Mando, Michael Chernus, Logan Marshall-Green
Running Time: 133 mins
Release Date: July 5th, 2017
Fresh off his scene stealing appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Tom Holland makes his solo film debut as everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Now the third time that the franchise has been rebooted in 15 years, HOMECOMING thankfully spares us from re-running through Peter Parker’s backstory and instead dives headfirst into his latest adventure. That involves battling Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes, also known as The Vulture. Toomes is a blue collar working Joe, who, after the destruction caused by aliens in THE AVENGERS, turns to selling alien weapons and robbing ATM’s. Not only with a super-villain to contend with, Peter’s relationship with Iron Man is tested as Peter wants to prove his hero credentials but is constantly held back because of his age and inexperience.
While this may all sound familiar to anyone who’s watched a Marvel film before, what really makes HOMECOMING so different is its setting. A younger Spider-Man then we’ve had before, Peter also struggles with the angst of high school and trying to fit in. This is where the film truly excels, with director Jon Watts more comfortable when Peter is out of the spider suit than in it. Jacob Batalon, as Peter’s best friend Ned, has great chemistry with Holland and their pairing creates some funny moments. Another stand out is Disney star Zendaya as the most deadpan classmate ever, her ‘don’t care’ attitude a pleasant difference from the high stakes drama happening around her. Laura Harrier has far less to do as love interest Liz, less a character and more a plot device then anything.
That’s not to discredit the films action sequences, which are enjoyable and well crafted, apart from a climatic battle aboard a plane which suffers from too much happening too quickly. Even if Keaton frustratingly isn’t given too much to do as The Vulture, he’s menacing and sympathetic enough in equal terms, which is more to say then most Marvel films that often suffer from badly sketched villains. With Marvel and Sony working out a deal beforehand, this Spider-Man is more integrated into the Cinematic Universe than previous iterations, while this means we get the pleasure of Robert Downey Jr popping up as Iron Man or some very funny Captain America high school tutorial videos, the constant connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the pressure on the film to work itself into this world often makes the film feel more like a semi Iron Man sequel or an Avengers spin off. Too often the film threatens to take the film away from its own star.
But these are minors grievances and it’s not melodramatic to say that this is the best Spider-Man film we’ve had so far and one of the most deliriously entertaining Marvel films yet. Not enough can be said of Tom Holland, who has all the charisma and leading talent of Downey Jr, and gives Peter/Spider-Man a vulnerability we’ve yet to have seen before. Let’s hope this Spider-Man is here to stay.