Studio: Sony/Marvel (2 hrs. 13 min.)
Plot: With the help of his mentor Tony Stark, Peter Parker, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student while fighting crime as Spider-Man.
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Bokeem Woodbine, Jacob Batalon
Bottom Line: ****
By Laurence Washington
Thanks to collaboration between Sony and Marvel studios, Spider-Man can finally join the Marvel Universe.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is fresh and thankfully avoids another boring origin storyline. Marvel fans might recall, Spider-Man, played believable by Tom Holland, had a cameo in “Captain America: Civil War,” so he’s a veteran character. The audience already knows that he can spin a web any size and catch thieves just like flies.
The story’s premise focuses on high school sophomore Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, who is an awkward and shy teenager, trying to assert himself as a crime fighter. Parker is mentored by Tony Stark (Iron Man), who wants him to be just a “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” for now, and fight low-level criminals.
However, Parker has other ideas. He wants to join the Avengers, and to prove his mettle, he tries to capture a winged villain called the Vulture brilliantly played by 1989’s Batman Michael Keaton. But Parker quickly discovers that feat is more difficult than he thought, even if he can do whatever a spider can.
The Vulture isn’t a typical baddie. In fact, he’s Adrian Toomes, a hard-working blue-collar working stiff, whose salvage company was shutdown by the government in the midst of recovering alien technology from the wreckage the Avengers left behind in New York several years ago.
With his company nearing bankruptcy, Toomes weaponizes and sells the alien technology he recovered on the black market in order to feed his family and pay his employees and creditors. He even makes a winged-harness custom for himself, which admittedly is pretty badass.
Many of the usual suspects are missing from the “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Harry Osborne, the Green Goblin, J. Jonah Jamison, flashbacks of Uncle Ben dying, but they are not missed or even essential to the story. They will probably show up in sequels, but these characters would just be underfoot. Yes, there are going to be sequels according to the two after credit scenes.
This Spider-Man soars, or for a better word, swings better than any of the previous films. The first two Sam Rami films were great. No argument here. However, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is in a league of it’s own, with opening music that gives a wink and a nod to the Saturday morning 1967 cartoon series.
I wouldn’t attempt to compare those films – and neither should you. Maybe because Spider-Man is now part of the Marvel Universe, maybe because it’s better storytelling, or maybe Tom Holland brings the energy of adolescents and the uncertainness experienced during puberty – qualities that previous Spider-Man actors Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield sadly lacked.
I can honestly say that it’s been years since I immediately wanted to jump back in line to watch a film again. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is such a film.
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Printed in the August 6, 2017 - August 19, 2017 edition