Movies: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau
Directed By: Jon Watts
Written By: so many people you don't even want to know
Marvel, 2017
PG-13; 133 minutes
5 stars (out of 5)


First, some context. (Stop groaning.) I saw the three Tobey Maguire movies, never saw the Andrew Garfield ones. Didn't love Tom Holland's turn at Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War and so wasn't even sure I wanted to see this movie. But I'm glad I did.

On the plus side, we skip the origin story this time. Since Spidey has already been introduced via the last Captain America movie, we're able to go to the head of the line here and assume Peter Parker's transformation and abilities are established. Hooray!

Instead, this film uses Peter's eagerness to help and be a real Avenger as the diving board. Happy (Favreau) is Peter's "handler" and Peter dutifully calls in regularly to let him know all the little things he's done to help his neighborhood: gave directions to a lost woman, kept a bicycle from being stolen. But as Happy—and by extension Tony Stark—continue to give him the brush-off, Peter's frustration mounts.

Then Peter stumbles across something bigger: someone selling really strong weapons. But again he's told to stick to the little stuff.

Of course he doesn't.

And, yes, the school's homecoming dance is a turning point.

Usually a movie written by committee (as, based on the long list of writers this one seems to have been) is a recipe for disaster. But somehow Homecoming bests the odds. It has the right amount of humor, and it's tight—nothing is wasted. Holland as Parker manages to be eager but not quite as obnoxious as I feared. Batalon as Peter's friend Ned is golden, too. And Michael Keaton as a Birdman of another kind . . . In fact, the whole film is incredibly well cast.

Up until now I had really enjoy Macguire's Spider-Man 2 the most, with his first one a close second. Homecoming gives them a run for their money, though. I'm not quite ready to say it's better, but it's at least equal to those. Possibly better. Probably. I don't know; it's been too long since I've seen the others.

I don't usually have the time to see a movie more than once in the cinema, nor the inclination to re-watch very many films, but I'd see this one again. That alone makes it pretty special. I may be tired of the typical Marvel/Avengers/superhero movies that have flooded the market lately, but this one . . . It's just different enough not to feel like I'm being fed reheated leftovers. That may be faint praise, but I'll count it as a win.


Trisha F said...

I didn't really want to see it, as I'm wondering how many Spidey movies i can actually take. But you made me think twice on my stance. ;)

M said...

Yeah, I didn't think I wanted to see it either. I was pretty done with Spider-Man, even after the first three Tobey Maguire movies. But this one was a lot of fun.

Christine Rains said...

I'm not a huge Spiderman fan, but I really liked this film too. We took Brandon and it was a good one for him too.