Action Adventure

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Film Review: Welcome back, Parker

July 4, 2017Ben Mk



   
Sony's Spider-Man franchise has been casting its web on multiplexes for the better part of the last decade and a half, and during that time, it has seen its share of ups (Spider-Man 2) and downs (Spider-Man 3). With Spider-Man: Homecoming, however, the series reaches a turning point. Not only does it see a new actor (Tom Holland) take over the role, but it also marks the character's first feature-length adventure as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The movie begins in the aftermath of the Battle of New York — just one of the ways Homecoming ties into the larger MCU — where we meet soon-to-be-villain Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). A working class joe who makes his living salvaging scrap, Toomes and his blue-collar crew have been hired to clean up the mess left behind by the Chitauri's attempted invasion of Earth. But when the Department of Damage Control swoops in to commandeer the effort, effectively nullifying his lucrative contract with the city, Toomes decides he must change with the times.

Fast forward 8 years, and Toomes — who's all but completed his transition into full-fledged supervillain, and whose preferred mode of transportation is now a pair of giant, turbine-powered, mechanical wings — has been able to carve a nice little niche for himself, re-engineering alien technology into super-powered weapons and selling them on the black market for a tidy profit. He's been careful to stay under the Avengers' radar, even though he plots to steal from right under their noses, but what he doesn't count on is a spunky 15-year-old from Queens.

Fresh from his brief scuffle with Captain America and the other Avengers in Berlin, Peter Parker (Holland) is ready for his "next mission." Instead, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man finds himself dutifully biding his time, attending classes at Midtown High by day, and catching would-be bicycle thieves once the school bell rings. Eager to prove his superhero mettle to his idol and quasi-mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Peter jumps at the chance to graduate to the big leagues, when he sets his sights on stopping Toomes and his underground operation.

What follows is a smaller-scale story rooted in some genuinely personal stakes that, like Ant-Man, exists on the periphery of the MCU. Still, despite remaining largely standalone and self-contained, Homecoming nonetheless feels like a natural extension of Disney's mega-franchise, thanks to the oftentimes funny and creative ways director Jon Watts and his five co-writers, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, manage to integrate characters and events from the latter into the ebb and flow of the narrative.

That said, Homecoming is at its most engaging not when it's playing connect the dots with the Marvel blockbusters that have come before, but when it's simply focusing on its lead character's day-to-day struggles to balance his costumed alter ego with his personal life. Of course, that's not a knock against the film from an action standpoint. On the contrary, set-piece sequences, such as one that sees Spidey rescuing his classmates from a near-disastrous school trip to the top of the Washington Monument, unfold with a verve seldom seen in blockbusters of late.

In that respect, Homecoming achieves the near-impossible. Not only does it nail the perfect tone for the beloved wall-crawler; it perfectly balances the fantasy-driven aspects inherent in the comic book genre with the more grounded nature of a teen drama. Aided by a diverse supporting cast (Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei), a constant stream of witty humor, and a handful of nifty surprises along the way, the result proves relatable, yet awe-inspiring. Much like Spider-Man himself.


Spider-Man: Homecoming releases July 7th, 2017 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. Its runtime is 2 Hrs. 13 Mins.








You May Also Like

0 comments