After a hat trick of subpar Spider-Man flicks New York’s favourite wall crawler returns with a reboot that successfully revitalizes the franchise. Sony’s partnership with Marvel Studios is sure to make some serious bank at the box office. Let’s hope that the alliance doesn’t come to an end with the release of Homecoming’s sequel. Prior to watching the movie I was concerned by how heavily Tony Stark featured in the trailers. Was the marketing team using Robert Downey JR’s wit to prop up another uncharismatic Peter Parker? Nope. Tom Holland nailed the role and is by far the best live action Peter Parker yet.
CATCHES THIEVES JUST LIKE FLIES
Viewers will be relieved to learn that Homecoming isn’t another rehash of Spider-Man’s origin. When the movie begins Spider-Man is already an established costumed crime fighter, who is on the cusp of securing a place on the Avengers team. His adversary, in this 133-minute feature, is a chap named Adrian Toomes (better known to comic fans as Vulture). Early scenes reveal that Toomes developed a flying suit by repurposing the alien tech left behind on Earth by the invaders who appeared in Avengers Assemble. Michael Keaton plays the chief antagonist. Birdman and now Vulture – Hollywood has seemingly typecast him as an airborne talent for superhero movies.
The majority of Homecoming’s story revolves around the Spider-Man versus Vulture feud. Can the masked protector of Queens stop Toomes from arming local hoodlums with extra-terrestrial weaponry? It’s a tough ask for anyone, let alone a rookie vigilante who has many personal commitments to juggle. Compete in a national quiz. Find a date for the homecoming dance. Help a bud with constructing a Lego Death Star. Peter has a packed itinerary, along with the added headache of keeping his superhero persona hidden from the gorgeous Aunt May (played by Marisa Tomei.) What a beauty. Her husband Uncle Ben is one lucky guy… well apart from the whole getting murdered thing.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a great film that captures the spirit of the classic comics. For better or worse, modern Marvel books also influence the movie when it comes to the subject of diversity. Every student in Peter’s school seems to come from a unique ethnic background. Parker’s love interest is black, his best friend is Hawaiian and Peter’s decathlon team includes an Asian. I’m not too bothered by the cultural variety, but it is worth mentioning. Right now Marvel is haemorrhaging readers in response to the company changing the gender/race of popular characters. If that sort of thing bothers you be forewarned that All-American meathead Flash Thompson is now a poindexter of Guatemalan descent. See what happens when you don’t build a wall?
My rating for Spider-Man: Homecoming is a four and a half out of five. On the web-head totem pole, Homecoming is right up there with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. It’s great to finally see Spidey portrayed by someone who gets both sides of the character. Tom Holland has no problem rattling off funny quips in the spandex, whilst also giving off the air of an uncomfortable nerd when out of costume. When it comes to visual effects Homecoming is easily the best looking of all the Spider-Man films. The action sequences are jaw dropping and even small details like the design of the suit impressed me. I think the expressive eyepieces are a nice touch. Thanks to them Spider-Man can emote without the need to unmask every few seconds (cough, Tobey Maguire, cough).
Usually I would conclude a Marvel cinematic review by lambasting the weak villain, but not so on this occasion. Unlike other MCU antagonists, Adrian Toomes is a well fleshed out character. In a similar vein to Dr Octopus and Sandman I can sympathize with his actions. Toomes isn’t motivated by greed; he just wants to provide for his family and employees. Dabbling in the underworld does however turn him into an intimidating crime boss who, when push comes to shove, will cross the line to safeguard his interests. The sad thing is that Toomes would have never gone down the illegal path had bureaucrats not ruined his company. All this could have been avoided had the government allowed Vulture to “carrion” doing business.