Tobey Maguire. Andrew Garfield. Tom Holland.
Three cinematic Spider-Men since 2002. It’s all a bit much isn’t it?
Nope! Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us the best web-slinger yet as he finally gets his first MCU movie.
Last year’s cameo in Civil War is used to properly introduce us to the character before moving onto a story that is much more grounded than past Spider-Man films, literally. Spidey’s home in Queens isn’t surrounded by tall buildings for him to swing from, forcing him to swing low or even run to get where he needs to be leads. He’s relatively restricted and it makes for a nice change.
Rightly assuming we all know the story by now, this isn’t really an origin tale; it’s more about learning lessons. He’s already got the powers and a suit, but at 15 his wants exceed his abilities. Holland’s Peter is acrobatic, clever and witty, but not overly mature as is befitting his age. There’s none of the overt awkwardness of Maguire or the occasional meanness of Garfield in what becomes a much truer representation of the character from the comics.
I could go on about Keaton for ages, so I’ll leave it like this; he makes a great change for Marvel villains
There’s a lot here for those who like to see MCU tie-ins, but it never detracts, despite Tony Stark essentially being the face of the entire franchise. This is a Spider-Man film, and these other characters are only used to further the main story. At this point I’d be remiss to not mention Peter’s best friend Ned, who is supportive and stupid and great throughout. Stark might give him a suit but Ned is much more important.
I didn’t think I’d be calling a Marvel film mundane, but here we are. Not in a bad way mind you. That grounded quality comes back not just in the environment but also in the characters, most obviously in the villain. It brings me great joy to say that Michael Keaton gives us a great villain in The Vulture, mixing his standard kookiness with both honour and malevolence. Like Peter he’s had a rough time, but he chooses to deal with it very differently. I could go on about Keaton for ages, so I’ll leave it like this; he makes a great change for Marvel villains, and though I’d love to see more of him what he is present for he nails.
The action scenes were a little busy at times; I struggled to see what was happening but subsequent viewings may change that.
One scene in particular left me really worried for Parker, an odd thing for a superhero movie. I put this down to Holland’s performance. He can do a flip and bust out a comment, but he can also be truly vulnerable and…well he can actually be like a 15 year old in an extraordinary situation. Perhaps in the sequels we’ll see even more.
Leaning fairly heavily on the themes introduced in Iron Man 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming mixes Ultimate Spider-Man with just enough MCU to make a thoroughly entertaining movie.