Movie Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Robert Downey, Jr., Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Marisa Tomei, Donald Glover
Plot: Following his role in Civil War Peter Parker yearns to stay a part of The Avengers. Tony Stark shuts down this idea, encouraging him to stay street level. Ignoring this, Parker looks into a winged criminal supplying high-tech weapons to the underworld.
Review: The studios are just as excited as we are about Spidey coming home to the MCU, as evidenced by the classic Spider-Man theme playing over the Marvel Studio logo. This isn’t a Spider-Man story with tangental links to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is very much part of the world. The central conflict spawns from the events of the MCU, giving us a fresh perspective not dissimilar to what Daredevil did.
We open with Adrian Toombs (Keaton), a blue collar working who has invested everything he has in a government contract to clear out and salvage alien technology from the areas of New York damaged in The Avengers. Stark (Downey, Jr.) unknowingly puts them out of work when his new agency ‘Damage Control’ uses their new government mandate to take over the job. Jumping ahead in time Toombs is now Vulture, using his high powered suit to hijack and steal more technology and use it to build weapons to sell to criminals.
Vulture is certainly not one of the intimidating or well known Spider-Man foes, generally being depicted as a guy in a fuzzy green suit with wings. This technology based version is much cooler, and they certainly sell him as dangerous opponent for Spidey. The whole concept of a villain being born out of the societal impact of the superheroes is very cool, and gives the villain a bit more character than some MCU foes. The weapons his team creates are also funky, such as a gun incorporating the arm of an Ultron robot.
Oh, and Spider-Man is in this. Both the previous Spider-Men were fine, and fans can debate which was better, but Holland knocks them both out of the water. As we saw in Captain America: Civil War, watching Holland is like watching Peter Parker walk off the page and onto the screen. The additions to the character’s suit, all the Stark gadgets, mix things up the right way and lead to some solid comedic moments. It’s a bit strange that he doesn’t have his Spider Sense this time around, but there’s still plenty to work with.
Not rehashing the origin stories does leave more room to build up the supporting cast. Aunt May (Tomei) only exists in the background, but Parker’s nerd side-kick Ned (Batalon), snarky hanger-on Michelle (Zendaya) and crush Liz (Harrier) plus a Flash (Tony Revolori) who is an academic rival gives Parker his own world to inhabit. The school/superhero life balance forms the basis for his story, and it gives him a different flavour to the rest of the franchise.
A side note on the supporting cast…we mentioned in yesterdays review for The Beguiled that young Australian actor Angourie Rice is a definitely one to watch. It was a surprise to see her again today in a small role as a young Betty Brant. Adds further weight to our claim that she’s going places.
As you’d expect the action is spectacular and imaginative. Even after five films they’re still able to come with imaginative ways for Spider-Man to get into fights, both with the high-tech suit and his stripped down Scarlet Spider costume. These are minor quibbles, but some of the CGI doesn’t quite click. Spidey’s physicality is quite tricky to pin down. The final confrontation ends quite suddenly and weakly after an intense high-altitude battle. Like I said…minor quibble.
The film is certainly looking out for comic fans, as it is packed with nods and Easter Eggs. These range from small, like background factories named after comic artists and writers, to massive plot points that recreate iconic panels and covers.
This is another fantastic superhero movie for the MCU franchise. Thank goodness Sony and Marvel decided to play nice!
Make sure to stay until the very end of the credits. The second scene extra scene is a game changer!
Rating: NINE out of TEN