SPIDEY’S FIRST MCU OUTING IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE BEST SPIDER-MAN MOVIE EVER!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: **** out of 4
COLUMBIA PICTURES AND MARVEL STUDIOS
Tom Holland as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming
You read that description right people, Spider-Man 2 has been dethroned as the best movie based on the extremely popular Marvel Comics superhero, Spider-Man. That has officially been changed to Spider-Man: Homecoming, the second reboot of the character and the first Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring Tom Holland (In the Heart of the Sea) reprising the titular character from last year’s Captain America: Civil War.
The film is a result of a collaboration between Sony’s Columbia Pictures which owns the film rights to the Spider-Man character and Disney, the current owner of Marvel. Like many people I was very excited but at the same time I was a little worried the film would have been studio-driven and come off as underwhelming *ahem* Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Well, thanks to director, Jon Watts (Clown, Cop Car) and Holland blowing me away the previous year in Civil War not only does Spider-Man: Homecoming surpass my expectations but it is quite possibly the best Spider-Man movie we’ve ever had (That’s right, better than Spider-Man 2!). The film doesn’t rehash the plots of the 2002 Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire or the first reboot from 2012 with Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man and gives us a different kind of Spider-Man movie that doesn’t rely on the earlier film tropes.
This movie assumes you already know Spider-Man’s backstory and doesn’t go to the trouble of reminding you for the hundredth time and instead focuses on Spider-Man learning to become an Avenger and trying to make it through high school as Peter Parker. I wouldn’t say it’s as action packed as Sam Raimi’s original trilogy and the film does have a lot of down-time to establish Parker’s character but it gives Spider-Man a human touch and makes him a more three-dimensional character.
The film follows nerdy high school student, Peter Parker (Holland) returning to his studies after being drafted into the Avengers by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.-Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes) to help with a dispute he had with Captain America. Peter is eager to become an Avenger but Tony tells him he is not ready yet and suggests being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
He tries to return to his normal life but is constantly distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a local vigilante. However, a new threat known as the Vulture (Michael Keaton-Beetlejuice, Batman, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) emerges, a black arms dealer under the name of Adrian Toomes who turned to a life of crime after being driven out of business as a scavenger for the New York attack by Tony Stark’s Department of Damage Control and is armed with a flying metal suit and Chitauri weaponry.
Upon hearing about the Vulture Peter thinks stopping him could be a chance to prove himself as a hero. So, he dons the Spider-Man suit that was given to him by Stark and swings into action before everything he holds most important is threatened.
The film also stars Marisa Tomei (Chaplin, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Big Short) as Peter’s Aunt May, Iron Man 1 and 2 director, Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura, The Jungle Book (2016)) as Tony’s bodyguard, Happy Hogan, Zendaya (Shake It Up, Frenemies, K.C. Undercover) as Michelle “MJ” Jones, Donald Glover (Mystery Team, Magic Mike XXL, The Martian) as Aaron Davis, Jacob Batalon (North Woods) as Peter’s best friend, Ned, Laura Harrier (Big Morning Buzz Live, One Life to Live, 4th Man Out) as Peter’s love interest, Liz, and Tyne Daly (The Enforcer, The Aviator, Hello My Name is Doris) as the head of the Department of Damage Control, Anne Marie Hoag.
Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a zany, exciting, and most important of all fun second reboot of the character. The movie doesn’t rehash the bitten by a spider or Uncle Ben getting killed plot elements from earlier Spider-Man movies and gives the audience a new outing with the character and definitely a more self-contained movie than most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
Sure, the movie does have references and callbacks to the rest of the franchise and Robert Downey Jr. is in it as Tony Stark but they’re very downplayed and the movie remembers to be a Spider-Man movie first and an extension to the Universe second. Though I did feel the timing of its release to be a little odd because we just got done with Andrew Garfield’s portrayal a few years ago, but this movie destroys it.
The movie has a great balance between Spider-Man action and Peter Parker getting through school and honestly, I enjoyed the scenes with Peter in school just as much as the Spider-Man scenes because Holland’s performance as the character feels very natural and like a real kid. I also really liked the chemistry Tom Holland has with Robert Downey Jr. in the movie, we know how snobby and full of himself Tony Stark can be but here it shows that he cares about Peter and wants to see him succeed in being a hero and he’s almost like a fatherly figure to Peter.
Of course, Michael Keaton kicks ass as the Vulture, the film shows why he turned to crime in the first place and his motivation behind it so he’s not just another throwaway villain. I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the best Marvel Cinematic Universe villain since Loki.
I still think Spider-Man 2 had better pacing for action but Spider-Man: Homecoming beats any previous Spider-Man movie out with its story. The film almost makes up for the sins of Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and gives Spidey fans and movie-goers the best Spider-Man movie in over ten years, Holland this was your chance to prove yourself…you did it.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ME FOR WRITING THIS REVIEW WITHOUT MAKING BIRDMAN REFERENCES! Wait, doesn’t this count?