Web-tacular Achievements in Hughes-like Endeavors
Sorry for the delay in this review. Some Miles Morales creep kept swiping my laptop. Guy has issues, man. Issues. Says HE is Spider-Man. Nut job.
But I digress, the point is that Spider-Man: Homecoming is now in theaters everywhere. If you have not seen it yet, small chance I know, then listen up to my words of wisdom. It has been said the third time is the charm, and in this case that is actually true.
Tom Holland as Spider-Man is spot on. Finally. The actor is 20, but is believable as younger. None of that broody Luke Perry roaming about the campus while clearly in his mid-thirties, 90210, vibe here. The seeing here has Spider-Man in high school where he belongs with an actor who, ironically, sounds more New York than both of his predecessors put together. Hallelujah!
The film opens in a fantastic way. It starts from Peter’s point of view during the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016). Threading the needle in this way gets the viewer directly into Peter’s head-space. You instantly understand his enthusiasm and excitement. What 15 year old does not want to meet Iron Man and the other Avengers, after all?
Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car, 2015), who is working here on his third feature film. Doing a pretty good job of it, too. The screenplay was written by Jonathon Goldstein and John Frances Daley of Horrible Bosses (2011), so both know comedy pretty well.
The rest of the main cast are as follows: Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man, Marisa Tomei – May Parker, Michael Keaton – Adrian Toomes / Vulture, Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan, Gwyneth Paltrow – Pepper Potts, Zendaya – Michelle, Donald Glover – Aaron Davis, Jacob Batalon – Ned, Laura Harrier – Liz, and Tony Revolori – Flash.
Once the “b-roll” track from Civil War is completed, we find Peter back in high school. He is in a school for gifted and talented students and, when he finds the interest to show up for class, he is the clear genius in the room. The problem for Peter is, after the melee in Berlin, all he really wants to be is an Avenger. But clearly he is not ready for that responsibility yet. At least not in the eyes of his “mentor,” Tony Stark. Tony gives him an updated suit, then tells him to lay low and stay out of trouble. Yeah. Right.
So while Peter struggles with the ennui over busting vagrants for grand theft bicycle when he would rather be globe-trotting with Cap and company, we are then introduced to Adrian Toomes. Adrian is an angry guy. He has his salvage contract swiped away from him by some faceless government agency and he is not too happy about it. He sees the fallout from the Chitauri invasion clean-up as a goldmine that has just been ripped away from him. He and his crew then take to crime. They steal as much alien tech as they can get, then the merge it with our technology to build weapons and devices that no run of the mill hood from Queens should be allowed to get their hands on. Trouble on the horizon, here.
Next, the travails of the high school student start to pile up for Peter. His dream girl seems unattainable. His best friend finds out his biggest secret. His Aunt is on his case, too, because that is sort of her whole job as the adult in the house.
Things come to a head for Peter when he runs into an ATM robbery. The thugs have these advanced tech weapons that Peter knows are crazy dangerous and they have to be tracked down and stopped or nobody in the neighborhood will be safe.
So, thus the conflict is set. Spidey has to track down and stop the “weird, flying guy” that Tony wants him to utterly steer clear from. Meanwhile, did I mention that Peter has no date for the Homecoming dance yet? Oh, yeah. You probably guessed that part.
As the film plays out, we see Peter rebel, fight, and learn a bit about himself and the world he is now a part of, too. Most importantly, we are taken along on the journey with a kid who is learning to not be a kid and happen to have super-powers. Exactly what all spider fans have been dreaming about for decades now. The film really nails the feel and flavor of the comics.
Additionally, since this is a quintessentially New York superhero, hearing Queens in the dialogue matters. One scene has Spidey arguing with a criminal, played by Donald Glover, over which deli has the best sandwiches, which is so New York. Both agree to disagree over which place is really “best” but they clearly respect one another’s favorite spot as totally reasonable options for the “best” label.
The only downsides I see in the film is Tomei is underused to a criminal degree and the love interest for Peter is rather two-dimensional. Sad but true. Much more could have been done there. Hopefully that is something that develops in future films.
Overall, this is a fun flick for any spider fan out there. When you see, it you will be ready to see the sequel right away, I am sure.