KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Donald Glover with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.
WRITER(S): Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley; Jon Watts and Christopher Ford; Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers / Based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
DIRECTOR(S): Jon Watts
Tony, however, doesn’t quite trust the young Peter to go out and save the world, which is why he has his driver Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) routinely checking up on him and trying to dissuade him from biting off more than he can chew. After all, he is still in high school, hangs out with his equally nerdy best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and is on the debate team where he battles the indifference of Michelle (Zendaya) and Flash (Tony Revolori) for the attention of Liz (Laura Harrier).
But while Peter is trying his best to keep Aunt May and Tony at bay while dealing with the regular pressures of high school, he soon will have to deal with another problem: Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), the head of a cleanup company that gets the shaft when the head of the Department of Damage Control shows up and takes over one his jobs. Undeterred to let yet another Tony Stark venture stop him from earning a living, Toomes later finds some alien technology that Damage Control forgot to take with them …
And this is how supervillians and superheroes, ladies and gentlemen, are made …
SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? Spider-Man: Homecoming is a solid film that benefits from the help of Marvel Studios’ direct involvement while at the same time leaves you with more than one “what about that?” question in your head.
A film that tries to meet every challenge facing it while at the same time sets itself up for a new series of them, Homecoming thrives due to the performance of Holland, who arguably captures the truly playful sense of being a high school kid associated with the Spider-Man character while at the same time showcasing he is a capable crime-fighter. Holland nails his interpretation of the spandexed-superhero, making his journey from novice to skilled fighter both extremely entertaining and unique to his movie. His interactions with Downey are about as perfect as they can be, all while maintaining the needed awkward teenager vibe that is essential to the Peter Parker character.
Likewise, Keaton is great, channeling the best elements of his more animated (in terms of energy, not actual cartoons) roles past (think Beetlejuice, but more subtle and terrorizing with the same absence of a potential conscious in most instances). Considering the general public’s lack of knowledge of the Vulture (who, in keeping with most modern super hero movie cannon, is not mentioned by name), Keaton definitely makes his villain a very formidable presence, both from setting up his proverbial turn to the dark side and, in the words of the artist formerly known as The Rock, knowing his role. In fact, as a whole, the film does a solid job of establishing its current characters into the Marvel Universe, making sure that the story fits and adds to the overall canon.
The problems Homecoming has, however, are ones that are innate to a franchise rebooting itself for the second time. Having gone from two great original films (let’s not talk about that third one) to a “darker” pair of follow-ups back to a more humorous one that treads on some familiar territory, Spider-Man: Homecoming – with his heavy dose of humor mixed with the infusion of the Marvel Universe as a whole – attempts to mix the best of all worlds but doesn’t always make you forget the worlds it already has lived in.
Harrier serves her role well as the object of Peter’s affection (always a source of conflict for our beloved hero) … But seeing how the previous sets of films have already seen him love Mary Jane Watson and (late spoiler alert) suffer through the life and loss of Gwen Stacy, seeing exactly how Homecoming sets up his future love stories and how they will play out. Likewise, seeing how in some films he has been the creator of his own suit, been able to shoot webs without the suit and now shifts to a suit made by Tony Stark (although that is somewhat explained later in the film), some fans will no doubt have a few nitpicky issues with whether the film is about Peter Parker’s transition from teenager to titan or about him figuring out his place as a superhero in the world. Of course, yours truly would argue why couldn’t it be about both, but you can’t please everybody.
Last but certainly not least, as the creative team behind Batman Vs. Superman found out, it’s extremely hard to keep rebooting a character and mixing their origin story – or, as it is in this case, more of a “we’re just going from here now and the others don’t matter anymore” story and expect your audience to follow suit. Once the audience has an idea of what to expect, it’s virtually impossible to start over at zero and now have the expectations/limitations that come with the past rear their head in the present. But then again, that is kind of the neat trick that Spider-Man: Homecoming pulls off – because despite all of those lofty things to overcome, the movie does enough to stand on its own and stand on its own well. It’s web-slinging fun with a very capable cast, a great load of humor – Homecoming is probably the funniest movie not named Guardians of the Galaxy – and enough interesting twists and turns to make it a worthwhile entry into the Marvel Universe.
Where it goes from here, however, remains to be seen …