Spider-Man: Homecoming – Film Review by Fran Winston
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
In cinemas July 5th
After two Spider-Man origin franchises in quick succession (2202, 2004, 2007 with Tobey Maguire in the titular role and 2012 and 2014 offerings with Andrew Garfield taking on the leading man duties) this may feel like a bit of overkill but having already been introduced to Tom Holland’s webslinger in Avenger’s Civil War we already know that he has a wit and a spark that he brings to the role that should make this at least watchable.
If you didn’t see that movie, don’t panic. Although Iron Man (yep, RDJ himself makes an appearance) popping up from time to time might seem confusing, there is enough exposition to explain the context without boring the audience members who are up to speed with the MCU (that’s the Marvel Comics Universe if you’re not in the know).
Rather than take us through the whole Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider story again (because lets face it there aren’t many people in the western world who don’t know that tale even if they are not a fan of comic books) this picks up after Peter has been “adopted” by Tony Stark aka Iron Man, who decides he is his mentor. But Peter is struggling to contain his excitement about his powers while also juggling the demands of puberty and isn’t ready to be reigned in by a self confessed billionaire, philanthropist, playboy. It doesn’t help that Tony sees him very much as the kid he is, so when he uncovers a big weapons scandal he can’t get anyone to listen and is forced to take matters into his own hands much to Tony’s chagrin.
Throw in a fantastic turn from former Batman Michael Keaton as a baddie and hilarious cameos from Chris Evans as Captain America in infomercials for high school kids and you have all the ingredients for a fun fuelled romp that is a notch above many super hero blockbusters. Holland is great in the role – he was born to play it. RDJ is fantastic as always as Stark/Iron Man and the two bounce off each other so well it’s as if they have known each other all their lives.
All the supporting cast are great and take full advantage of a very witty script that has a lot of heart and focuses on character development rather than action. After an initial outing which is pretty much a recap of Civil War, it is quite a while before we see Spidey in action proper again. Instead the story explores the realities of being a teenager and feeling ready for the big bad world while struggling with the realities of school and your day to day life.
Mind you when there are action scenes they are spectacular as you would expect. They are truly magnificent and a luxury that this movie could afford given its massive budget. Which is why it is impressive that they don’t hinge the movie on those scenes because the temptation was surely there. Rather they pace them out well and they are structured beautifully and fit in with the story marvellously. As Spidey discovers the full extent of his powers his set pieces get bigger. All in all it feels like a perfect build.
Forget everything you think you know about Spider-Man. This movie restores his youthful swagger and bravado that has been somewhat missing in the previous incarnations. It will strike a chord with every single person who has suffered through those awkward teenage years and is almost like a cross between one of the John Hughes 80s teen angst movies and a super hero epic. Funny, engaging, thrilling and moving this really does have something for everybody.