Spider-Man: Homecoming Review
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a good film - not a great film but a good film.
Tom Holland’s performance of Peter Parker as a fifteen year old teenager is hands down perfect with a charming mix of awkwardness and the confused vulnerability that comes with being a super-powered teen. This version of Spidey, unveiled to such great effect in Captain America: Civil War is by far the best version of the character on screen, with all due respect to Tobey Maguire and Andy Garfield.
Peter trudges through his life with a supporting cast that would fit in any John Hughes film. Ned and Michelle play the typical quirky friends in the ‘Ducky’ mold while Liz, Peter’s crush, is the pretty, popular girl that inexplicably falls for a junior. There is a part of me that almost wishes Molly Ringwald was cast as Aunt May although Marisa Tomei is a delight in this capacity. The homage to John Hughes is clear however, and there is a moment in the film directly referencing this.
There are two twists in the movie which are absolutely brilliant, one in the middle and one at the end of the film. While the first drives the rest of the film, the second will leave the audience craving for the sequel to come sooner rather than later. A special mention also needs to be made about Chris Evans’ appearances as Captain America as well, they’re gold.
As always, the special effects and CGI are first rate as we’ve come to expect from these movies, though Doctor Strange is still the reigning champ. The sequence at the Washington Monument and the Staten Island Ferry are standout.
If the plot revolved around Peter going through the trials and tribulations of his teenage existence while trying to be a superhero, this would have been a better film. Unfortunately, it’s the connection to the MCU that hurts it here and while it’s always fun to see Robert Downey Junior’s Tony Stark interacting with Peter, their scenes felt superfluous. Unlike Civil War, where Tony's inclusion added dramatic weight, in this instance it’s little more than a glorified cameo in a plotline unnecessary to the overall story.
The film created a formidable crew of villains that could have been challenging enough to Peter even without the inclusion of the ‘SIRI’ suit or arguing with an unseen Jennifer Connelly aka ‘Karen about the 'instant kill’ mode. There was enough material in Peter’s life at school, his relationship with Aunt May and his determination to bring down Toomes and company to make this a great film without the incessant need to remind us at every turn, Spidey is now part of the MCU.
Where the film really falls down is the villains. Not because they are bad villains but because we didn’t get to see more of them. While all the attention has been placed on Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, playing a sympathetic and nuanced character who makes it hard not to root for, Bokeem Woodbine and Michael Chernus as Shocker and Tinkerer respectively, also leave an impression. I would have prefered watching this crew in action then all the nonsense with the suit and Tony’s attempt at mentorship. All three actors revealed a nice chemistry in their brief scenes together and it’s a shame their journey from honest working men to criminals isn’t better explored.
Michael Keaton does a lot with what he’s given and his Adrian Toomes might be the best MCU villain since Loki (though I suspect Hela is about to kick some serious ass in this department). In the same way, Raimi managed not to make Doc Ock look ridiculous in Spider-Man 2, the Vulture when he makes his appearance is similarly impressive. However, CGI aside, this is a difficult villain to hate because Keaton humanises Toomes’ frustration with the world in a way the audience will connect with personally. So successful is Keaton in this, after awhile, one wonders why Peter is so hellbent on putting the man behind bars. Considering the wreckage left by the Avengers, what Toomes and his crew get up to is minor in comparison and lives are only endangered when Spidey interferes and escalates the situation.
In Sony’s desire to create spin-off movies, I’m more inclined to watch Toomes and Co in a movie on their own, than a Venom or Sinister Six film.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is another win without doubt, but with a little less fan service to the MCU, it could have been a triumph.