When you see a movie that has a tense, dramatic action-scene and the theater audience verbally cheers on the protagonist, as if in some kind of modern “Tinkerbell” moment, and you can actually feel that positive electricity in the air, then you know you are watching a truly special film. Such is the case with Spider-Man: Homecoming.
I had some misgivings going into this latest reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise. I was not thrilled at all with the introduction of Iron Man gizmos and Avengers backing, which, as a lifelong Spider-Fan, veers way off of the loner/misfit mythos that made Spidey a favorite of the loner/misfit crowd. But, director Jon Watts has succeeded in staying true to the essence of Peter Parker and has delivered a film that captures the character, possibly better than ever before.
I’ll always have a fondness in my heart for the original Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, and I don’t know that it will ever be possible to replicate the giddiness I felt the first time I saw Spidey swing across the silver screen; but, Homecoming still manages to surpass that first movie on several levels.
Without getting into all the boring business minutia, this film marks the first time that Marvel has really been able to have their fingers involved with a Spidey production and officially bring their most popular character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe; and it is so good to see the Wall-crawler come home (ergo the movie’s title.)
Tom Holland, who we first saw as Spider-Man in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, perfectly embodies the awkward 15-year old Peter Parker, struggling with school, teenage life, and trying to work in swing-time as Spider-Man so he can gain acceptance in this brave new world of superheroes.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a coming of age film that will resonate with everyone from kids who have never read a Spider-Man comic-book to big kids who grew up with the superhero. (And for the audience familiar with the past 55-years of Spidey history, you are in for a very fun treat.)
It would be a super-villainous crime to reveal too much information about this spectacularly special film, but, in a nutshell, the story picks-up after Spidey’s involvement in the Civil War movie, with Peter eager to continue proving his superhero worth, in hopes of impressing Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and possibly joining the Avengers.
There are a couple of cool moments that hearken back to the old Marvel Team-up comics, which are fun, but, to be clear, this is Spider-Man’s movie – and it’s all the better for it.
In a clean-up of the alien tech strewn across New York City from the first Avengers movie, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is angered when he is called off the job by the government’s official “Damage Control” crew. But, this working-class anti-hero keeps some of the technology for himself, and soon becomes the “Vulture” (in a much more high-tech manner than the original comics, of course.)
Unable to get help (or even a return phone call) from Stark, Spidey soon finds himself going up against not only Toomes, but some additional evil-doers (from Spider-Man’s rogues gallery) who have joined up with the high-flying Vulture.
This film plays very fast and loose with many of its more minor spider-characters, and, there was a time when that would have really bugged me; but, I think fans, like myself, have gotten used to the cinematic tweaking of cherished character mythos.
The biggest adjustment for me is seeing Marisa Tomei as a very attractive Aunt May; but the filmmakers even have a good time poking fun at this concept, and it in no way diminishes the pleasure of watching this film. (How could Tomei ever not be a pleasure to see?)
There are some great songs perfectly incorporated into this film, in particular a couple of tunes by Peter Parker’s friendly neighbors in Queens, the Ramones. Additionally, pay attention to the music in the opening credits and you will recognize the theme from the original Spider-Man cartoon series.
There are Easter eggs and cameo’s galore, some that I’m sure I missed, although I caught a lot of them. Some of the best cameos are by Captain America (Chris Evans), who is not really a character in this movie, but, well, you’ll just have to see. (And make sure you wait until all the credits have run and the lights have turned on before you leave the theater.)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is easily the most fun I’ve had at the movies so far this year – and there have been some really fun films already in 2017. I can’t wait to check-out from our current crappy reality and go see this amazing movie again and again. Grade: 9.5/10
Photos ©2017 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. & Marvel