Film Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

The Spider-Man franchise reboots yet again after the unsatisfactory Andrew Garfield versions. No disrespect to Garfield’s talent, but perhaps not even an excellent actor like him could uphold the franchise, due to the screenplay, direction or premise not gelling appropriately. What originality can be bestowed upon the magnificent Marvel character? How will the franchise be rescued? Let’s just stipulate that the writers have taken a risk with the premise and choice of actor, but after viewing ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ the risk will without a doubt pay off.

Whoever made the executive decision to make Spider-Man a fifteen-year-old school boy is a wise choice. It allows the actor Tom Holland to evolve and grow in to the character like Hugh Jackman has grown with Wolverine. There is much poise in Tom Holland that he carries this role with pizazz and passion, hence he will surpass Tobey Maguire’s trilogy and then some. Furthermore, to now have Spider-Man associate with The Avengers is what truly makes this reboot stand the test of time. But to have Iron Man/Tony Stark as Spider-Man’s mentor is what makes this reboot a gem. Every super hero must have a beginning, hence to see Peter Parker under Iron Man’s wing, grabs the viewer at hello.

It’s also fortunate that the plot is straightforward and doesn’t challenge the viewer as children need light-hearted and unpretentious escapism. Several months after the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges. For Michael Keaton to play the lead villain highlights he has embraced his A-list status comeback and enjoys retreating from the ultimate superhero of Batman to an ultimate arch nemesis in Spider-Man. Keaton has aged like a fine wine and his Adrian Toomes/Vulture character is humanistic as he lives a double life of a good father and husband, whereas at night he is your evil arms dealer selling high tech super weapons to New York’s criminals. Only one man can stop him or will try to with a serious struggle. Here’s the clue! He crawls and spins webs.

The whole film is near perfect. It has more humour and is brighter than the darker Andrew Garfield films. Tom Holland isn’t afraid to get in touch with making Spider-Man more childish and immature. This makes the character far more fun as teenage audiences can relate to him. He’s just a typical kid that wants to take the girl/love interest to the prom, or in this case ‘The Homecoming.’ An excellent twist awaits, as our jaws will drop once we learn who Peter’s love interest is and where she derives from. Moreover, the action sequences are superb. The ferry boat split in half scene truly is impressive, where Spider-Man’s webs have trouble holding it together, thus resulting to extreme danger and peril for its screaming passengers. To see his mentor Iron Man aid him, makes the viewer decide whether Iron Man is undermining Spider-Man or not. Nonetheless, when the undermining takes place, it’s for a good reason. Spider-Man is learning and blossoming in this film version. Therefore, a teacher like Iron Man or in this case Downey Jr plays a Charles Xavier type of character to be firm but fair.

All in all, Tom Holland has done an excellent job. His Spider-Man will fight and side with the Avengers: Infinity War, for 2018, but at the same time he will be the more independent Avenger as he will be the friendly neighbourhood watch, which is what Spider-Man should be. Protecting New York is his territory and if the Avenger’s need him, all it takes is a little call from Stark. The only criticism of the film is the musical score is not memorable like Danny Elfman’s amazing score. Nevertheless, the good aspects outweigh the bad by a mile. In this version, Spider-Man crawls up walls slicker and spins his webs better than Maguire and Garfield put together. It’s great to not repeat familiar territory as well as in Uncle Ben’s tragic death. Welcome Tom Holland to a rambunctious rebooted franchise and making it your own. (Stay till the very end credits. It requires patience, but is worth it).

[rating=4]| Aly Lalji

action, comedy | USA, 2017 | 12A | 5th July 2017 (UK) | Sony Pictures Releasing | Dir.Jon Watts | Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Luara Harrier, Jon Favreau

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