After the breath of fresh air that was Baby Driver, last week (seriously, if you’ve not seen my review – it’s cracking!), it was back to familiar territory, and the Marvel superhero blockbuster. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly watch these films, but with each one, I find my anticipation for the next slowly waning, with most full of typical humour, grand action set-pieces and that all important set-up for future films in the franchise.
Yes, Spider-Man: Homecoming ticks all those boxes…but it does it in unprecedented fashion. Choc full of genuine, believable performances, the film has a cracking cast, is full of zippy, oft-startling humour and produces a rarity in Marvel films – a very juicy baddie backstory. This may be the third different Spider-Man iteration in the last couple of decades, but its certainly my favourite.
Continuing on from Captain America: Civil War, in which the excellent Tom Holland’s take on the character was introduced to audiences, we’re immediately transported into Peter Parker’s normal, everyday school life. While this may sound boring to some, the recreation of education, even in its American format, is precise down to every detail, you smirk as you remember the busy hallways and thrill of meeting your best friend, it’s all here! Peter’s pals only add to the levels of realism here, with wise cracks a plenty, and plenty of that dreaded set-up for future sequels laced throughout the 2hr 13m run-time. When it’s this good though, you can allow setting us up for more of it!
What’s even better is there’s NO ‘spider bite’ origins story here, Peter is already fully ‘into’ his heroic alter-ego crimefighter…but is restricted to giving old ladies directions, or stopping a ‘Grand Theft Bicycle’ as he so eloquently puts it. Peter wants more, yet his mentor Tony Stark isn’t prepared to give him more power, all the while the devilish Vulture, played by Michael Keaton, has found a way to utilise leftover alien tech from past Avengers missions, and there’s your film!
The angst and scattered, overly emotional approach Holland’s Parker embodies is a credit to the actor himself, you believe in him as this hormonal teen, studying by day and crimefighting by night. Another actor that particularly impressed, was Zendaya, playing one of Parker’s schoolmates, her quick, razor sharp lines were delivered impeccably, and she often stole scenes. It’s fortunate we may see a lot more of her in future installments, then.
But Keaton’s Vulture character, given the pleasure of the film’s opening scene, is perhaps the best villain Marvel’s crafted for the big screen to date. His origins are clever, yet you can totally emphasise with him, and with an actor like Michael Keaton in the role, you know you’re going to get a strong, bitter and twisted performance. A satisfying conclusion, too, only helps his character’s story come almost full circle.
While taking place completely in the modern day, the film revels in a ‘retro’ feel. From Parker’s homemade Spidey costume, to the 80s themed Homecoming dance and even an almost perfect recreation of a scene ripped straight from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the film often plays like a classic John Hughes film.
Strong supporting roles from the likes of Marissa Tomei, Hannibal Buress and Donald Glover, in minor, yet charming parts, keep the pace ticking over. And while Robert Downey Jr’s Stark is present here and there throughout the film, with flickers of a performance, you do wonder how like the Iron Man actor will be about in this films, there were hints of him phoning it in here. While the introduction is a brilliant burst of exuberant energy and child-like wonder, the momentum slows to a halt once everything and everyone has been well established, before racing back to full speed for a chaotic climax.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fine addition to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. With a cast choc full of talent and charisma, it would’ve been tough to truly mess it up, but then you could’ve thought the same for the previous attempt at bringing Spidey to the big screen just a few years ago. Tom Holland is made for this role, though, and long may he portray the most famous web-slinger on the planet!
Have you seen Spider-Man Homecoming yet? What did you think of it? Let me know on Twitter: @Conodinho11111111