Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony/Columbia Pictures/Marvel) Cert 12A, 133 mins
I love Spider-Man. I really do. Like proper love him. Can’t hide it. So I apologise in advance for the love letter…sorry review…and any throwing up it may generate. He is one of the only things which triggers a full on geeking out for me.
I’m not alone though am I? Everyone loves Spider-Man. He’s an every-man (or boy) for all generations. A normal kid bestowed with great power and of course responsibility who’s just trying to make his way through life while using those gifts to help others after tragedy strikes his family. And he’s smart and funny. What’s not to like?
My love goes way back to the early 80s when I abandoned Boys Brigade for the Friday night repeats of the Spider-Man TV show. Which if you check out on YouTube now appears to be a hilariously stupid thing to do. Why would anyone quit anything for that? Spider-Man looked like he was wearing a suit of wool that had been set on fire which he’d found in a skip. His webs were ropes and he had zero moves. But he was still undeniably Spider-Man so that was good enough for me!
Fast forward to 2002 and after being stuck in development hell for years Spidey finally made it to the big screen thanks to Sam Raimi who turned in two brilliant films and one…well let’s just forget about the third shall we? Too many villains (including one forced on Raimi by the studio) led to a disjointed affair which closed off any chance of a fourth film.
A character like Spider-Man is never going to stay away for long once out of the box in movie land so it was no surprise when a reboot was announced and The Amazing Spider-Man landed in 2012. Andrew Garfield brought a sharper wise cracking Spidey to life but unfortunately the second film suffered from more villain overdosing as Sony tried to line up an expanded Spider-Man universe. Fans were not happy and wished that the rights for the character could go to Marvel Studios who were doing great things with their films.
Spidey is one of the main reasons we have Marvel at all but film rights lay with Sony and they’d lost their way. The future looked bleak. So when reboot number two was announced a couple of years ago the key feature which grabbed everyone’s attention was one thing – Marvel were getting involved (with Sony retaining the rights) and Spider-Man would be joining their universe. Hurrah!
Young British actor Tom Holland won the part and we got an introduction to him in the third Captain America film Civil War. Holland played his brief part to perfection and filled me with confidence that a Marvel produced Spider-Man movie would rule.
And it bloody well does. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a triumph. It’s everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Tom Holland is exceptional as the main character. He’s only 21 and looks younger so he’s able to pull off playing a character who’s at high school much more convincingly than Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield. The kid can also move. He’s played Billy Elliot on stage and does parkour free running so this is a Spider-Man like no other. His movements are fast, fluid and awesome.
Holland also captures the essence of a 15-year-old faced with overwhelming power and responsibility. Fortunately this reboot skips the whole origin story so it’s not bogged down from having to watch Peter Parker become Spider-Man. Or watch poor old Uncle Ben get killed again. I couldn’t watch that for a third time. Our new Spidey is not quite the finished article. He’s still learning his trade in a world dominated by superheroes and super-villains and it makes for an interesting take on the character. Sure there’s confidence there but there’s doubt at times and poor choices made due to the inexperience of youth.
The film is so much better for tapping into that side of things. It’s more grounded and real than any of the other things and this for me strengthened the connection to our hero. You care for him and want him to succeed in becoming what he craves above all else – a fully fledged Avenger. As always though Peter is trying to do all of this while going to school and being a teenager. Which is hard enough without having to be a hero.
Causing trouble for Spider-Man is Adrian Toomes a.k.a The Vulture – a contractor working to salvage the wreckage of the Battle of New York as seen in The Avengers back in 2012. He’s kicked off the contract by a task force set up by the government and Tony Stark so turns to crime to support his family. He uses a mechanical flight suit using some of the stolen technology and is soon running his own criminal empire selling other similar weaponry to criminals.
Toomes is played by Michael Keaton who turns in a fantastic performance as The Vulture. He’s nasty and will kill anyone who crosses his path but he’s doing it for his family after being pushed out by those in power so he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything wrong. It’s a really great piece of work from Keaton and he delivers a truly menacing character who you’ll love to hate.
With this being the first Spider-Man film to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe old Shell Head himself Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) joins the action as he tries to mentor our young hero. We find out the suit bestowed to Peter back in Civil War offers much much more which leads to some hilarity as he tries to bluff his way through the new features.
Action comes thick and fast, with the ferry scene partially shown in the trailer one of the highlights. There’s much more to it than seen in the trailer and I was on the edge of my seat as Spidey desperately tries to avert a tragedy.
The rest of the supporting cast including Marisa Tomei as a young Aunt May are all on point but to talk more about certain people would take us to spoiler territory and I could be here all night writing about Spidey so without further ado let’s cut to the chase and sum it all up!
Oh and before I do for those of you keeping score there are two post-credit scenes. Last one is right at the end of the credits.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is exactly that. A homecoming for the poster boy of Marvel. It’s a wonderful introduction to the MCU for him and offers so much more to come. With Marvel on board and a standout performance from a perfectly cast Tom Holland the essence of the character has finally been fully realised and it delivers a film which has all the hallmarks of what makes Spider-Man great.
Web slinging, cheeky comments, laughs, drama, heart and action aplenty feature throughout and it’s as damn near perfect as anyone who loves Spider-Man could ask for. Can’t wait for the next instalment and his appearances in the next Avengers movies!
Right I’m off to irradiate some spiders and prod them with a stick, back soon.