After much anticipation from fans, Spider-Man finally made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. Whilst Tom Holland’s Spidey managed to steal the show during his brief role in that particular superhero ensemble, now comes time for this latest cinematic Wall-crawler to stand up and be counted as he headlines his own picture. So, is Spider-Man: Homecoming the pitch-perfect Spider-flick we’ve all hoped for, true believers, or is it another movie to leave us disappointed like Marc Webb’s bland, muddled and dour The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Let’s find out!
In terms of timing, Homecoming takes places several months after Civil War went down, and we find an eager, excited Peter Parker trying to juggle high school and stopping petty criminals, all while he constantly waits for a call to go up and join the big leagues amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. But while Parker tries to balance all of this, elsewhere we see Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his clean-up crew given the boot 8 years prior. Toomes and his gang were tasked with cleaning up the carnage and destruction caused by the Avengers during the Battle of New York, only to see their gig canned once Stark and the government put together the Damage Control group to handle all such incidents. Fast-forward to the present day, and Toomes has used some stolen Chitauri tech to become the villainous Vulture; a rogue who specialises in stealing alien technology in order to ship it out as intense new arms for the criminals of New York City and beyond. Can Spidey clip Vulture’s wings and save the day? Can Peter manage to keep any semblance of a social life? And just how is he going to keep all of this a secret from Aunt May and his pals?
To get straight to the point, Homecoming is a phenomenal, fun movie brimming with heart that delivers on a whole range of different fronts. For longtime comic book fans, there’s nods and references aplenty, not to mention the use of several characters yet to be seen on the big screen, whilst for casual fans there’s more than enough here to have you cheering on your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. As Marvel Comics’ prized jewel, Tom Holland is a mesmerizing, multi-layered presence who encompasses everything Peter Parker is and should be. His youthful exuberance and excitement at becoming a real-life superhero is a joy to behold, but Holland also balances the other side of the equation; the everyday troubles of this everyday teenager. As Peter cancels plans or no-shows gatherings due to his heroic alter-ego being needed elsewhere, we see the angst and torment of what this young kid is having to go through on a daily basis. However, those elements also lend themselves brilliantly to portraying one of Peter Parker’s longstanding greatest attributes: his determination, will to win, and downright stubbornness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Throw in with that regular helpings of the famed ‘Parker luck’, a genuine, sincere bond with Marisa Tomei’s May, and the harsh-yet-caring relationship with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, and you have a fun and fresh Peter Parker who feels as if he’s just been pulled from a classic comic book tale of yesteryear.
Of course, what’s a good hero without a good villain. And on that front, Michael Keaton takes the Vulture character and makes it his own. In fact, there’s one particular dread-filled sequence in which Keaton delivers one of the flat-out most chilling moments seen to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then there’s the rest of the cast, with each adding their own unique stamp to the film as the story progresses; Ned Leeds being the light relief; Flash Thompson the cocksure bully; Liz Allan the love interest; and they’re just the tip of the iceberg, for Spider-Man fans will spot many other familiar names and faces.
Beforehand, many thought Spidey would find himself sharing too much screen time with Stark, but the Iron Man card is one that’s brilliantly played and never feels overdone. For whilst this film most certainly overflows with staples of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that it exists within, it never once loses sight of what it is at heart: a Spider-Man movie, and a damn good one at that. With the high school dynamic filling Homecoming with the energy of a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club, the dark tone and cynical nature of the villain of the piece keeping the energy and excitement levels from running too high, and a Peter Parker whose journey you’ll leave the cinema simply needing to see more of, Homecoming is a resounding hit in every possible way.
Amazing? Yes. Spectacular? Most certainly. Superior? Without a shadow of a doubt. Finally, after the last three disappointing solo movies for ol’ Web-head, longtime Spidey fans have been given the Spider-Man movie that they deserve, with this picture hands-down the best MCU movie to come along in years. Excelsior!
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: JON WATTS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: TOM HOLLAND, MICHAEL KEATON, MARISA TOMEI, ROBERT DOWNEY JR., JACOB BATALON, LAURA HARRIER, ZENDAYA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10