Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)
Directed by: Jon Watts
Written by: Chris McKenna, Christopher Ford, Erik Sommers, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Jonathan Goldstein
Starring: Chris Evans, Jacob Batalon, John Favereau, Laura Harrier, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Tom Holland, Zendaya
Spider-Man finally has his own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Homecoming slots in to place as one of the better films in the ever expanding series. Taking off from where we see Tom Holland’s debut in Captain America Civil War, we follow Peter Parker still getting to grips with his abilities and having to juggle his personal life with his alter-ego. Now this is obviously treading the same ground the other Spider-Man films walked, but the difference here is it’s actually exciting and interesting. As Peter Parker he’s fawning over his high school crush, wishing he was in with the popular kids. As Spider-Man he’s still getting used to his powers and capabilities, and sat patiently by the phone waiting for his next call up from the Avengers. There’s an amusing montage where he finally gets out of school and patrols Queens looking for crime to foil, which isn’t really as straightforward as your usual superhero movies. The pace of the movie is pretty quick fire considering its length, with lots going on and barely a slow scene appears. Even when mentor Tony Stark turns up every now and again, the dialogue is snappy, with often hilarious exchanges. The dialogue is consistently amusing throughout, with a few belly laughs and as well as some great visual gags too.
It’s a case of third time lucky when it comes to capturing the tone of Spider-Man. Not that the previous incarnations are without merit, as the Raimi/Maguire films were good, but very much a product of their time, and although the first installment of the Webb/Garfield Spider-Man films was decent enough, its sequel was fucking appalling. It feels as if they’ve pinned down the very essence of what has made the character so popular over all this time, be it Tom Holland actually making a convincing teenager, which is as much down to the great script as it is Holland’s performance. Swinging through the New York streets, taking on villains and crooks with the cocky, winging-it attitude goes to show that Spider-Man can be done right.
The big bad of the film is Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Turned to a life of crime after being inadvertently screwed over in the aftermath of the battle of NYC, he and his colleagues make and sell weapons using stolen tech that is salvaged whenever there’s been an Avengers style dust-up, and this where the Vulture, quite literally, earns his wings. Probably the most criminal thing about the film is the lack of screen time Keaton is afforded, as he is exceptional as the working-class hero bad guy. He’s a victim of circumstance who saw no other way of providing for his family other than turning to crime, and when Spider-Man gets wind of the operation, things soon get heated between the two, with some fantastic exchanges between them, and Keaton can be exceptionally menacing. His actions seem almost justifiable, as we see him and his colleagues lose almost everything as a result of interference from Tony Stark, but the consequences of their actions outweigh the noble intentions.
Speaking of Tony Stark, it feels like the character has almost come full circle. Following on from his tiff with with Captain America (who also makes various cameos in the guise of educational videos), we are seeing the laid back, almost nonchalant Tony from the Iron Man films. Perhaps it’s the reappearance of Happy Hogan, that’s centred him. Although everything seems to whiz by, there’s a few moments that feel unnecessarily long winded, just dragging it down slightly, such as the final showdown between Spidey and Vulture. That being said, a lot of the time it’s excellent, with some wonderfully self-aware moments, such as what would happen if Spider-Man was stuck in the suburbs. Overall it’s a fantastic debut for Spider-Man in the MCU, proving the audition in Civil War was just a brief taster of how great this character was going to be. This is without contest the best incarnation of the character yet, with a great cast (which may rile the hardcore fanbase, but when it’s this good, who cares), a fantastic script and probably the best closing credits and post credit scene of the Marvel series so far. In fact if this was to be compared to any other comic book movie, it would be Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. It’s just as energetic, funny and aurally pleasing.