SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Review: Tom Holland & Jon Watts Deliver A Proper Return To Form For The Webslinger

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Review: Tom Holland & Jon Watts Deliver A Proper Return To Form For The Webslinger

Spider-Man is back and this time, he has the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to play around with but is his first solo outing in the MCU worth the trip to your local theater? Come get my thoughts!

Hey everyone, it’s okay to love Spider-Man again.

I was ten years old when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man swung into theaters for the first time in 2002, and I vividly remember leaving the theater completely enamored with the greatest superhero of all-time. After watching Spider-Man: Homecoming last night, I have a strong feeling that’s how a whole new generation of boys and girls are going to feel when they walk out of the theater when the film releases on July 7th.

*This review contains mild spoilers from Spider-Man: Homecoming*

The movie starts out with a pair of quick trips to the past, namely to the aftermath of a key scene in The Avengers and a recap of Spidey’s Captain America: Civil War debut. The first act that follows this prologue is a lot slower than expected, which had me worried for a while. However, the second act in Washington D.C. starts to pick it up considerably and the third act, where comic book movies films have often fallen short, takes us to the skies of New York City and brings forth one of the finest finales to a superhero movie ever. The plot is fairly straightforward, but that doesn’t mean the film is predictable. While many have been concerned that trailers have spoiled most of the movie, there are plenty of twists and turns that should keep you guessing until the very end. The action sequences are a lot more grounded than what you may have become accustomed to, which results in some really cool, more personal moments such as Spidey on the Washington Monument, the ferry sequence, and the final confrontation with the Vulture. There’s also a critical moment in the finale that comic book fans should be thrilled to see in live-action.

Director Jon Watts, in his first big-budget blockbuster, delivers another solid entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also bringing Spidey back to form for the first time since 2007. As he did with Cop Car, Watts demonstrates a profound understanding of what the world is like for a young man growing up and it should be exciting to see where he takes Peter Parker in his junior year in the 2019 sequel.

As highly as I regard Tobey Maguire, Tom Holland is the living, breathing embodiment of Peter Parker. If you thought he was good last year in his brief Civil War cameo, he’s in a completely different stratosphere this time around, taking his Parker to heights previously unseen on-screen. From the opening flashbacks to the ending credits, his portrayal of Parker is just a pure joy to watch grow throughout the course of the movie as he navigates the trials and tribulations of being a 15-year-old superhero, juggling his dual life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man while also being an awkward teenager, trying to get the girl of his dreams to notice him without being able to use the web-slinging ace up his sleeve. As Spider-Man, Holland shows a real passion for the character and showcases a side of the hero we had yet-to-see fully realized on the big screen, a hero that makes countless rookie mistakes, nonstop wisecracks, and doubts himself time and time again. However, despite everything life throws at him, at the end of the day, he is still the hero that we all know and love and even when the odds are indubitably stacked against him in the finale, he continues to do what’s right and should make you proud by journey’s end.

Robert Downey Jr., as per usual, is great as Tony Stark/Iron Man, this time assuming the mentor role in Peter’s life, and while the absentee father dynamic is played mostly for laughs in the beginning, things take a turn in the third act that proves to be absolutely crucial in Peter’s development as a superhero and as a man. Also, if you were one of those worried that the MCU mainstay would take command of the film, fear not, because I can guarantee that if you’ve seen the multiple trailers and TV spots, you’ve already seen about 75% of the Iron Man scenes - although there are still a couple juicy surprises in store for you, including one that could serve as a satisfying epilogue for the Iron Man trilogy. Marisa Tomei is a showstopper as Aunt May, bringing a much needed warm and loving presence to the film, helping to ground Peter when he gets a little too big for his britches. We don’t hear any mention of Uncle Ben, but the pain of his loss definitely resonates and feels fresh, weighing on both Peter and May in the film’s quieter beats. The young supporting cast is pretty entertaining with Jacob Batalon and Zendaya being the clear standouts. We spend the most time with Batalon’s Ned, and it should quickly become clear why he’s Parker’s most trusted confidante. Zendaya’s character, on the other hand, is more of a wildcard and will likely leave you with more questions than answers by the time the credits roll.

As for the villains, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Adrian Toomes/Vulture is easily one of the top, it not the top villain the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen. Unlike some of the previous MCU baddies, Toomes actually feels like a legitimate threat from start-to-finish, and his gripes with the world come from a surprisingly relatable place. He’s a flawed man rather than a pure antagonist, and his relationship with Spider-Man should elicit memories of the classic villains played by Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina in Raimi’s trilogy. Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green are pretty good secondary villains as the Herman Schultz and Jackson Brice Shockers, respectively, but we don’t really spend enough time with either to get a real grasp on their personalities, although it wouldn't come as much of a surprise to learn that they’re both fairly one-note. The always charismatic Donald Glover manages to leave more of a mark in his scenes, even dropping a pretty cool Easter Egg if you’re listening close enough.

Michael Giacchino’s score is excellent, with the best composition, of course, being his updated rendition of the classic Spider-Man theme song that plays during the opening credits in place of the typical Marvel fanfare and perfectly sets the mood. Watts’ soundtrack selections are also top-notch, and here’s to hoping that Marvel releases an actual album with them all compiled together.

There are two post-credits scenes, one that teases sinister things to come and another that rewards you for your patience, so be sure not to miss either.

All in all, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a winner through and through. It may not be the greatest Spider-Man film of all-time, (which is a title that still firmly belongs to the incomparable Spider-Man 2), but it just might be the best first solo outing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watts delivers a film with great action, a solid blend of humor, iconic moments, and lots of heart that - combined with Holland’s all-time performance - makes for one spectacular time at the cinema. Highly recommend.

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Spider-Man: Homecoming features:
Director: Jon Watts
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Marisa Tomei as May Parker
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Donald Glover as Aaron Davis
Logan Marshall-Green as Jackson Brice/Shocker #1
Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz/Shocker #2
Zendaya Coleman as Michelle
Laura Harrier as Liz Allan
Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson
Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds
Michael Barbieri as Jason Macendale
Kenneth Choi as Principal Morita
Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington
Hannibal Buress as Coach Wilson
Isabella Amara as Sally
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Jorge
J.J. Totah as Seymour
Selenis Leyva as Ms. Warren
Abraham Attah as Abraham
Michael Mando as Mac Gargan
Garcelle Beauvais as Doris Toomes
Tyne Daly as Anne Marie Hoag
Tiffany Espensen as Cindy
Angourie Rice as Betty Brant
Michael Chernus as Phineas Mason/Tinkerer
Christopher Berry as Randy
Tunde Adebimpe as Mr. Cobbwell
Ethan Dizon as Tiny

Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters July 7

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