I walked into Spiderman: Homecoming a little uncertain. We have had five Spiderman films (six if you include last year’s Civil War) in the last 15 years. And now with a new Peter Parker/Spiderman, we have had three incarnations of the character too. Moreover, two enormous film studios have collaborated to make this movie. Despite this being the third time around at the character, in Hollywood, it is all-new territory with Sony and Marvel joining forces, bringing Spiderman out of isolation and in with the rest of the Avengers.
The question is: Spiderman + Avengers = success?
Answer: Yes, but it is not perfect.
I won’t spoil too much about the plot but the vague premise sees Spiderman yearning to join the Avengers whilst trying his best to save his neighbourhood and still be a 15-year-old kid at school.
There’s a lot going on here on the surface but the director Jon Watts (essentially a first time director for most of you!) handles the job pretty well. The movie feels surprisingly small at times but becomes suitably grand as it builds to the climax. The plot thwips along very quickly which is very exciting but perhaps at times feels a little messy with some backstory missing. Certain scenes feel a little rushed which leads to a little bit of the emotional weight being lost. The action is good with flawless CGI and some great special effects whilst feeling purposeful and emotional and you just about see why the scenes are all happening, but sometimes only just.
However, that summary covers my only real problems with the film.
Following on from Captain America: Civil War, Spiderman is perfectly played by Tom Holland. In between school, girls, bank robberies and webslinging, he carries the character so well in the most authentic portrayal as Spiderman yet. While Tobey Maguire was good, there were times I couldn’t buy him as Spiderman. And nearly-30 year old Andrew Garfield as a school kid? Unlikely! Tom Holland is THE best Peter Parker and Spiderman on screen yet. He brings humour and athleticism to the role whilst maintaining a strong emotional connection- you really feel that he is a teenager saving the world, one little old lady at a time.
But he is not alone in this movie and his supporting cast is spectacular. The kids are hilarious and so natural with the dynamic between Peter and his bestie really grounding the movie. Iron Man and Happy (Tony Stark’s bodyguard/driver) pop in at key moments and drive the plot onward but they never dominate the movie and you see how they contribute to Peter’s character arc. There are also one or two cameos in there to watch out for which aren’t forced and totally fit the tone of the movie.
But every good hero needs a villain and Sony/Marvel brought in the big guns; Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman, Beetlejuice) as the Vulture. Marvel’s villains have mostly just been satisfactory with only a few great exceptions like Loki. Vulture breaks free of the trend and is a fabulous villain: menacing but believable. Keaton really helps make this film that much better with his portrayal. I cannot go into a lot of detail on him but you will love/hate him so much and completely understand where he is coming from.
Overall, this movie is a great summer blockbuster and one to go see in cinemas. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or the webshooter (actually, it does, but you get my meaning) but there are some very original and charming moments in here. You will laugh, you will jump for joy, you may even tear up and will definitely get spooked by the villain. Of course it isn’t perfect but it’s fun and that is the main point of this movie. Without the slightly rushed scenes and the slight lack of backstory, this movie is great but not up there with superheroes best, probably settling at either the second or third best Spiderman movie. But definitely a fun movie. Get watching!