Written by Josh Brewer, July 7th, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) tries to balance life as a teenager in Queens while keeping up with his superhero duties. What does that entail? Taking on a high-flying villain (Michael Keaton) powered by some of that Chitauri technology left behind after The Avengers.
To say that Spider-Man Homecoming comes at a perilous time would be an understatement. 2017 boasts a pair of solid Marvel outings – Guardians 2 and Logan – as well as a game changing offering from DC that finally addresses a number of issues in its own lackluster cinematic universe. Spider-Man has also struggled – this marks the third actor to take the role since 2000 – with his last two outings seeming over packed and under planned. Luckily, Marvel stepped up their game on this one, placing Spidey squarely into its universe without ever shying away from what makes the character so insanely lovable. What’s more, the flick never fills overstuffed, even with its mass of characters and villains. I counted no less than five marvel villains in this puppy, but they never detract from the core conflict at hand. In short, Spider-Man Homecoming manages to succeed in the places the previous entries have failed and, in the process, creates a fantastic comic book movie.
The Good Stuff
This is, by far and away, Tom Holland’s show and he is ready to play. Holland manages to mix the youth and listlessness of being a teenager with the calling to be better than those around him. It’s one hell of a balancing act and Holland pulls it off wonderfully. He stands as the most fully realized iteration of the character, taking what could be a melancholy and indulgent role into someone who feels almost immediately recognizable. He’s supported by a fantastic cast, with his fellow high-schoolers winning the day with their turns, and a story that feels both grounded and realistic without being boring.
If anything, Spider-Man Homecoming feels most like Deadpool. Both films maintain a unique voice throughout their run. They’re funny, engaging, and provide the audience with a fantastic hero that’s easy to root for. While neither of the films break new ground, they both provide one heck of a ride.
But the triumph of the film falls to Keaton’s Adrian Toomes. He’s not a nasty, world killing monster, nor are his ambitions aimed at destroying The Avengers. Instead, Toomes’ motivation comes from his own needs and loves, and his actions reflect as such. Toomes stands in opposition to Parker and Spider-Man, not because his opposes their existence, but because Parker threatens what is most important to him. In this way, Toomes rises about Marvel’s villain problems. And Keaton plays him perfectly; Toomes reads as both sympathetic and scary, a three-dimensional person at the core of the conflict.
The Bad Stuff
Not much, to be honest. I could have used less of Tony Stark and the new-and-improved Spider suit reads a little outside of the world. Furthermore, a few of the action sequences could have been a little stronger. They seemed a little flat, especially in comparison to the emotional depths in rest of the story. Lastly, while I found the script generally solid, the twist that leads us into the third act seems just a little out of reach. I love what it does to humanize the conflict of the story, but it seems just a little too far. Oh hum.
Spider-Man Homecoming is the best comic book movie I’ve seen this year – sorry Wonder Woman – and it certainly stands at the top of Marvel’s rapidly expanding universe. Funny when it needs to be funny and real when it needs to be real, this flick rocks.