The following review was originally written and published by Caillou Pettis at http://dailyfilmfix.com on 7/9/17.
The sixteenth entry in the continuing Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming brings back franchise newcomer Tom Holland as the titular webslinger, and once again, he proves that he is the most hilarious Spider-Man yet.
Reprising his role from “Captain America: Civil War,” where Spider-Man had a minor role in assisting Team Iron Man in the fight against Team Captain America, Tom Holland truly shows off his acting chops in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He effortlessly portrays the funniest and most light-hearted big screen iteration of Peter Parker to date.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a fifteen year old high school student who has gotten bit by a radioactive spider in the past. At school, Parker unfortunately has to deal with cruel and aggressive bullies such as Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), and the other struggles that come along with being a student in high school. He and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) both enjoy doing various activities together at Parker’s house where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). At one point, they geek on building a Death Star completely out of Lego. However, when a new villain named the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges, Peter , the 15 year old high schooler, must now balance his teen life while also having to take down the menacing and monstrous foe as Spider-Man.
One of the numerous elements that differentiates the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man against Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s portrayals of the character, is that Holland drastically feels like a high-school teenage nerd, which is how the character is supposed to be. A good hour or so of Spider-Man: Homecoming feels like a John Hughes-esque teen comedy flick, boasting true 1980’s nostalgia. There are dozens of sequences from the film that take place in Parker’s high school where he hangs out with his friend Ned and gushes over a girl named Liz (Laura Harrier). While some Spider-Man fans may find these scenes a tiresome bore, because there is a severe lack of Peter Parker in the Spider-Suit, all of the high school scenes were the scenes I adored most.
The CGI and special effects team is certainly to be praised, as in Spider-Man: Homecoming there was multiple times where the CGI appeared seamless, and I was taken aback by the majority of these sequences. Even though there are not as many action scenes as some fans may have hoped for, the film should be viewed as a coming-of-age tale with humour, and action as a side element. The jokes in the film are done with perfection, as the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the source material has always been a teenage boy with an abundance of witty humour, which is heavily prevalent in Homecoming, as there were numerous times where I was laughing out loud.
The Vulture (Michael Keaton) may be the best character introduced so far in the long-running, but so far not stale Marvel Cinematic Universe. Towards the beginning of the film’s third act, there is a twist involving Vulture, which I never saw coming. It truly left me, and my entire theatre full of fans, staggered. Not only that, but Keaton’s performance as the feature’s main antagonist is riveting, and he gives a truly believable yet sinister feel by just looking at him. Consider this one of the most interesting villains in a Marvel movie.
Where the film falters at times can be its scenes where some of our characters break the law of physics. I fully understand that Spider-Man is a superhero with powers, yet some scenes came off as improbable for the character. One of the most principal elements of the titular character is his “Spidey-Sense,” which gives him the ability to sense where enemies and dangers are around him. In Homecoming, it appears that the beloved attribute to the character is completely missing, as there were times where Spider-Man could have easily avoided a catastrophic situation by using his Spidey-Sense, yet he never does.
Boasting teen charm from Tom Holland, and having the world that these characters are living in feel so real, Spider-Man: Homecoming screams excitement, wit, and most of all, fun.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya
Directed by: Jon Watts
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing
Running Time: 133 minutes