See Sony? Working together has its benefits
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.
Finally. After years of waiting and 2 sub-par films that were shameless cash-grabs from Sony, Spider-Man is back with the film he deserves. My personal favorite superhero, Spider-Man has long had a special place in my heart. Spider-Man 2 is actually one of my more coveted films of the early 2000's. One of the reasons I loved that film was because it featured a fallen hero as its villain. I am a major sucker for this ploy in superhero movies (of course The Dark Knight did this best with the fall of Harvey Dent) and I am delighted to see it again here. A superhero film is only as good as its villain, and FINALLY we get a good one here.
When was the last time we had a good villain in a Marvel film? I'd argue you'd have to look allllllll the way back to Loki in the original Avengers film for a truly good villain. But finally, we have another. Thank you, Michael Keaton. Were it not for a terrific performance from Tom Holland as Peter Parker himself I'd say Keaton stole the show. But as it stands, there's Tom Holland. Move over, Tobey Maguire. There's a new Spidey in town. Holland's rendition of Parker is easily the best rendition I have seen of the character, and he quickly cements himself in the MCU here. Kudos to Marvel's crew for the fantastic casting. Outside of Holland and Keaton, we have a great performance from Jacob Batalon as Parker's best friend, Ned. Here's another great casting decision from the Marvel crew. Before Spider-Man, Batalon had a single film credit to his name and it was for a small budget horror movie. But I absolutely loved him, as well as Zendaya as Michelle. Seriously, the casting crew for Marvel deserves a huge raise for their job with the young actors in this film.
The other star of this show is its story. Homecoming is a great coming-of-age film that would easily stand up to any of the 6142131123 other coming-of-age films we get every year. Holland and Robert Downey Jr. are great together, and RDJ goes through as much of a good story arc as he takes on the role of a father figure as Holland does learning the classic Spider-Man life lesson. (Tell 'em, Uncle Ben) There are several good story arcs in this film, including with the Vulture. Even Zendaya's Michelle has a good arc here. I really have to give a lot of credit to Jonathan Goldstein and company for doing a great job here. There's six writing credits on IMDB for this film. (And that doesn't even mention the writers-for-hire) Usually when there's that many writing credits it's the result of a subpar script, but not here. Well done, guys.
That said, it's not perfect. It's never good when the weakest part of an action movie is your action sequences, but unfortunately that is the case here. While overall the set-pieces are fine, I really did not care for the big battle sequence on the plane towards the end of the film. In this sequence the film flirts with "Spider-Man vs. Electro" levels of terrible as it was bitterly obvious that everything on screen in front of us was fake. Unfortunately this really detracts from the film as it is meant to be the climax of the movie. Also, please stop objectifying Marisa Tomei. She's a terrific actress and did a great job in her extremely limited role as Aunt May, but it seemed like the film spent more time remarking on how hot she is versus actually letting her be Parker's mother figure. She does get a great moment at the very end though, so at least there's that. Also, do yourself a favor and stay until the VERY end of the credits because there is a gem of a post-credit scene waiting for you.
Ultimately, this is the Spider-Man film we needed and were it not for a lackluster final action set piece, we'd be looking at a film as good as last week's Baby Driver. As is, however, we do have ourselves possibly the best Marvel film to date, and certainly the second-best film of 2017. You're up, War for the Planet of the Apes. Let's keep it rolling.
The Critique: One of Marvel's best installments to date, Spider-Man: Homecoming features a great story and terrific performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton, and is the second great summer blockbuster for Hollywood in as many weeks.
The Recommendation: Make it a double feature everyone! We're all gonna see this film because Marvel's name is on it so be sure to watch the excellent Baby Driver too!
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
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