Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, Donald Glover, Hannibal Burress, Kenneth Choi, Tyne Daly, Jennifer Connelly
Rated: PG-13 (sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments)
Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.
By Matt Greene
In my review for Cars 3, I called 2017 “the year of the franchise-fix”. Spider-Man: Homecoming is more proof. Not that Marvel’s universe didn’t need fixing, but the webbed-wonder definitely did, with 3 straight duds under Sony Pictures. Peter Parker’s homecoming to the company that made him a household name was clearly the right decision, as we’re finally given a movie our friendly-neighborhood hero always deserved.
Thankfully, they’ve foregone the unbearably overplayed origin story (bit by spider, uncle dies, blah-blah-blah) and instead swing right into the true essence of Spider-Man. The cast is a web of hilarious teachers, relatable students, and a plethora of quirky non-supers learning to live in a post-Avengers world. But Holland is (obviously) the center. Surpassing both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, he’s the confident, funny, wide eyed, smart and awkward hero we always wanted in the red-and-blue tights. Even at age 21, Holland plays the first Peter that’s believably a teenager, and the movie refreshingly leans in to that adolescence. Struggles with schoolwork, childish crushes on girls, and even naiveté in his heroism all shine through beautifully.
So yes, this is yet another positive review of an MCU film. Even if the normal issues are here (weak villain motivations, confusing timeline), it still stand among the 12(!) of 16 movies within that franchise that I unabashedly recommend. Nearly ten years since Iron Man kicked it off, it seems the further we go into this world, the deeper we explore what the implications of superheroes in the real world looks like. And as one of the premier superheroes of all-time, Spider-Man deserves that treatment, and finally gets it in this, his best film yet.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Marvel’s most popular-to-reboot superhero is back and better than he sometimes is. While I’ll resist the hyperbole that insists this iteration of the Spider-Man movie is the best yet (it’s not), it’s certainly a good time and a return to form for the iconic superhero. Director Jon Watts and lead Tom Holland somehow bring fresh vibes to the too-frequently rebooted character
Peter Parker predictably follows a traditional coming-of-age character arc while Tony Stark wrestles with his own paternal issues after being thrust into a pseudo-father figure role. Their interplay is fun and funny—absolute requirements—but also manages to lend the film an emotional center. Other peripheral characters contribute admirably including some familiar Avengers faces and some high schoolers new to the marvel universe.
However, the standout is Michael Keaton’s villainous Vulture. Keaton is a brilliant actor and the film uses his talents to further enhance what was already on paper one of the more layered bad guys in the Marvel cinematic cannon. There are two scenes in particular which Keaton owns in a way that few other Marvel performances have done before him.
Coupled with their last film, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” makes an argument that Marvel may be making more nuanced, heartfelt, and emotionally-centered films less reliant on disaster—though external conflict certainly does and should exist in these films—and more reliant on deeper character motivations, personal goals, and inter-personal relationships. At least one reviewer likes this new trend for the unreliable studio.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars