Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming
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Read Eric W.'s review here!

PLOT: Peter Parker (Tom Holland), now operating as Spider-Man post “CIVIL WAR” tries to win the respect of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) by foiling the operations of Adrien Toomes (Michael Keaton), aka The Vulture, a former salvage company owner who’s using recovered alien tech to build deadly weapons for sale on the street.

REVIEW: You’ve really got to hand it to Marvel. Has there ever been a franchise that’s spanned so many films that have been as consistent? Sure, the 007 films, but even those had the occasional dud. The Marvel movies have always been at least good, pretty much right from the start. Some will say IRON MAN 2 or THOR: THE DARK WORLD are bad, but while weaker-than-average for the company, they’re still perfectly watchable.

Given their track-record, it’s probably wise that Sony’s turned to them to re-boot SPIDER-MAN, the second in just five years! This may sound like overkill, but AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 was bad enough that something had to be done, paving the way for Spidey’s entry into the official MCU canon. Considering that this was produced in-house by Marvel, you can be sure that this is another slick, focused superhero saga that will give hardcore fans the version of the character they no doubt wanted from day one. Here, with Tom Holland in the lead, Parker is actually believable as a high school student, has a penchant for wisecracks, and can interact with the rest of The Avengers, as previewed in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.

But therein lies a familiar complaint with the Marvel films – they feel assembly line. No one could ever call SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING bad, or even half-assed. A lot of care has been put into it because everyone knows a multi-billion dollar saga is at stake, but no risks whatsoever have been taken. As such, they are very few surprises up Spidey’s sleeves this time. It follows the Marvel formula to a T, even more so than the recent DOCTOR STRANGE. Going in, you know what you’re going to get, and the MCU is so vast at this point (between the movies and TV shows) that each movie starts to feel like another episode rather than an event unto itself (although GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – so far – in an exception).

All that said, other than familiarity, I’d be hard-pressed to point out anything that’s actually wrong with SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. Director Jon Watts (COP CAR) has made a big movie that fits into the Universe and also has a good chance at connecting with those young viewers that were kids when THE AVENGERS came out and are now in high school.

In the lead, Holland is the most personable incarnation of the character to date. He’s not as unique as Tobey Maguire was in the part, or as edgy as Andrew Garfield, but he meshes well with the character. He feels like a regular kid, were that kid a super-powered genius of course. He’s surrounded by a solid cast of regulars for the series, with Marisa Tomei as his young, gorgeous Aunt May (how hot she is becomes a recurring joke), Jacob Batalon as his best buddy Ned, Laura Harrier as his older lover interest (at twenty-seven, she seems a tad mature for Parker – even though she’s supposed to be a high-schooler) and best of all Zendaya as Michelle, his sarcastic classmate who’ll no doubt become a major character as this goes on (and it will – for several more films I’m sure).

For me, what makes HOMECOMING really worthwhile is the fact that Michael Keaton, as The Vulture, plays arguably the best Marvel super-villain to date. Usually the baddies are cut-outs. This is the only time that a bad-guy has felt like more than a match for our hero, with Keaton dialing up his intensity to epic levels, and clearly enjoying his time in an atypical baddie part (let’s not forget – he’s still arguably the best Batman ever). The only downside is that his menace is undercut by the idea that, if things get really bad, Happy (Jon Favreau) will send Tony in to save the day – something that happens a few times here. Luckily, Downey Jr’s presence is kept to a minimum as he could have easily taken the focus away from where it belonged – on Holland/Spidey. He really only has a handful of notable scenes, and this isn’t quite the team-up fans might have expected, but that’s not a bad thing.

Technically, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING looks and sounds like every other Marvel movie, with Michael Giacchino delivering a solid score, while visually it has the same style or the other MCU flicks. The only really uncharacteristic touch, probably courtesy of Watts, is the eighties-song filled soundtrack, a logical nod to John Hughes, although this is far from “Spider-Man’s Day Off”.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is what it is – a really well-crafted Marvel superhero movie. It can’t be mistaken for anything else. It doesn’t take any chances, but then again, considering how successful the studio has been, can you blame them for not fooling around? It could have been more adventurous, but one can’t deny that all involved have delivered exactly the movie that hardcore fans wanted.

Source: JoBlo.com



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