Spider-Man: Homecoming Finally Gets It RightJul 06, 2017
Directed by: Jon Watts
Written by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Zendaya
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES
Let’s be honest from the start here. Spider-Man was my absolute favorite comic book hero as a kid, primarily because I could identify with Peter Parker more than I could any other super-powered character. Sure, he was Spidey. But he was also this awkward, nerdy guy who could never seem to get things right. Even when he won, which he did often, his successes would somehow backfire or get twisted around and he would end up wondering if he was ever going to find happiness.
In short, Peter Parker/Spider-Man was the closest thing to what it meant to be an adolescent: a body that’s changing and propelling you toward adulthood, but powered by a mind that wrestled with insecurities and doubts.
With this reboot of a reboot, Sony has finally gotten the painful awkwardness of the Spider-Man storyline right. Not just right, mind you. It’s pitch perfect, thanks to a spot on performance by Tom Holland in the lead role. Don’t get me wrong…Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield each brought something good to the role, but both of them were too old to truly capture the social and emotional dangers of navigating the high school world. Forget villains like the Green Goblin, Sandman, Rhino, and Doctor Octopus. It’s the thought of asking the girl you’re crushin’ on to a dance that really keeps you up at night.
Holland’s portrayal of Peter’s crush on Liz is as John Hughesy as you can get without casting Jon Cryer and Molly Ringwald in the title roles. Holland captures the sheer brilliance of Peter’s thinking when it comes to matters of science and math, balanced perfectly with his “deer in the headlights” response to anything dealing with the opposite sex.
It all plays along with a splendid opening segment that catches the audience up on the storyline. Smart, smart move by the writers to skip the origin and pick the story up in the immediate aftermath of the events of Captain America: Civil War. Peter is still all abuzz after his brief stint in the middle of the Avengers smackdown and dying for another call from Tony Stark, hopefully promoting him to fulltime Avenger status. In the meantime he has to make do nabbing bicycle thieves and purse-snatchers. And it is driving. Him. Crazy. Like every adolescent you’ve ever met (or been) he’s ready for adulthood right stinkin’ now.
Things launch into hyper-drive when Spidey stumbles across a gang of thieves using high-tech weaponry. His showdown with the bad guys leads him to the movie’s big villain and the second-best thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming – Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture. While Toomes isn’t exactly the most terrifying villain in the Spiderman rogues gallery, he’s the perfect choice for this tale. And Keaton gives Toomes a level of thinly-veiled menace that makes him one of the best comic book villains of all time.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is what comic book movies should be. Fun for every member of the family, filled with laugh-out-loud moments, and chock full of circumstances that make all of we non-supers nod with familiarity. There’s really too much else I want to say…but I can’t because I start giving away all of the things that make this rendition of Spidey the best of them all…and I don’t want to ruin that for anyone.