SONY PICTURES RELEASING (2017)

 

Director: Jon Watts

 

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daley, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.

Another reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, another new Spidey but one less full origin story, thank God.

 

Everyone by now knows the backstory of Peter Parker – he’s a normal, slightly geeky student who is bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superhero powers whilst dressing in tight spandex. Homecoming doesn’t attempt to retell this story, instead using a throwaway line to cover the entire event.

 

Following on from his stint with the Avengers in the Battle of New York, Peter Parker (Holland) now has to juggle high school with the knowledge that Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) could call on him at any moment.

Tough times at Midtown School of Science and Technology.

 

In the aftermath of the aforementioned battle, Adrian Toomes (Keaton) is tasked with the clear up of the city until the US Department of Damage Change (headed by Stark) takes over the task. Toomes, however, ensures his team take enough of the alien technology to create their own superweapons in secret. Years later, they resurface attempting to profit on their weapons and Spidey is determined to stop this.

 

Several attempts to hijack the transactions are made until one evening the mysterious Vulture intervenes and takes the fight to Spidey until Iron Man thankfully saves the day. Having warned Parker about getting involved with criminals, Stark makes it clear it will not be tolerated. Young, impulsive and wanting to catch the eye of his crush Liz (Laura Harrier) Parker continues to disobey Stark, even modifying his suit and tracking the villains before getting in a little over his head.

 

Tom Holland is the latest to don the slinky Spidey suit, following after Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and is also the youngest to take the role. Capturing Peter Parker’s bouncing personality and free spirit is not a problem for Holland, clearly relishing the fact he is playing Spider-Man, though his enthusiasm spills out too much at times. Michael Keaton just pulls off the hard act of being a decent superhero baddie, his haunted brow carrying the weight of his character and Vulture was a decent villain. Jason Batalon is the movie’s key point for humour as Ned, Peter’s best friend and lustful Spidey follower, whilst Aunt May is given an on-the-fence youthful upgrade in Marisa Tomei (I prefer the Granny version for extra earnestness)

 

The action sequences are hit-and-miss throughout for me. The ferry scene just doesn’t work and the climactic battle looks great and is probably the better action scene in the movie. The smaller fight scenes are much better and allow Spidey to have some fun whilst kicking butt, something the movie succeeds at – having some fun with a light tone for half the movie. When the movie cedes into more serious moments, the intended effect just isn’t there.

 

Where the movie ironically fails the most is the heavy-handed tie ins to the Avengers and the larger cinematic Universe. Where the original Sam Raimi trilogy succeeds (maybe not part 3) is the fact they are isolated movies set within their own world. Here, the constant references to the Avengers and their conflict is jarring and for those not clued up to the wider MCU, frankly confusing and makes this less of a Spider-Man movie.

 

It’s always fun to see the webslinger in action and the playful tone is still here. There are some fun moments between characters and awkward attempts at chat up lines and when taken into Spidey isolation, the movie is fun. Again, it was refreshing to not have to see the origin of Spider-Man on-screen which allowed for the story to develop quicker without well-trodden exposition. The CGI on show looks fantastic, and with the budget it bloody should do too.

 

The new incarnation of Spider-Man falls flat due to its larger involvement in the MCU and the story smothering that comes from that. As its own movie, Homecoming could have been expanded into something greater, however we won’t find out. Lacking the charm and iconic moments of Raimi’s (first two) movies, Homecoming gets stuck in a web of mediocrity.

July 30th 2017

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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