Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

  • Time: 133 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Cast: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow

Storyline:

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

3 reviews

  • 2017 has seen the release of some particularly excellent superhero films – the elegiac Logan, the rousing Wonder Woman and now the giddily enjoyable Spider-man: Homecoming. As its title suggests, this is both a return to form for the beloved webslinger (whose previous screen incarnations – Sam Raimi’s Spider-man trilogy and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-man duology – garnered mixed reactions from fans) as well as a fantastic example of the teen movie genre. It’s also an auspicious sign that the intellectual property marriage between Sony Pictures, who own the rights to the character, and Marvel Studios, who have been trying to get the character integrated into the MCU, may be a fruitful one.

    Certainly the crowd-pleasing appearance of Marvel’s own boy wonder during the superhero showdown in Captain America: Civil War was a most mouth-watering appetiser of the main course that is Homecoming. Part of the issues with the previous incarnations was the fact that, as boyish as both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were, there was no getting around that they were on the mature side and thus the character more angst-ridden and narratives inclined to embrace the “with great power there must also come great responsibility” trajectory. That arc isn’t ignored in Homecoming but it’s made all the more resonant precisely because this Peter is allowed to be and act his age.

    It also helps that the screenwriters forgo the usual origin story and instead focus on the events following the battle in Berlin. Though Peter is eager to be a full-fledged member of the Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) isn’t exactly ready to induct new members so Peter bides his time, donning the Spidey suit so he can patrol his Queens neighbourhood for any signs of criminal activity and pestering Stark’s Guy Friday Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) for news on new assignments. Outside the suit, he’s just an ordinary kid, crushing on decathlon teammate Liz (Laura Harrier), geeking out with best buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon), getting ragged on by smug rich kid “Flash” (Tony Revolori), and doing his best not to worry his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).

    Peter wants to prove his mettle to Stark and he gets his chance when he crosses paths with Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton), a former city contractor whose salvaging company went out of business after Stark partnered with the federal government to form the Department of Damage Control following the Battle of New York. Enraged that the same person who caused the damage is now being paid to clean it up, Toomes convinces his crew – Brice (Logan Marshall-Green), Schultz (Bokeem Woodbine) and Mason (Michael Chernus) – to keep the alien technology they’ve found amidst the debris and turn it into weapons they can sell. The very profitable business has ensured that Toomes can provide for his family and he’s not about to let some guy in a costume ruin his status quo.

    Villains have always been a problem in most superhero films (though Marvel deftly circumvented that by spotlighting the internal conflicts that bubbled over in Civil War and which will continue in Avengers: Infinity War), but Toomes stands apart. He’s no megalomaniac trying to take over the world, he’s a man just earning a living. Which is not to say that he is one of if not the best baddie the MCU has ever had. It was a stroke of genius to cast Keaton, who has unintentionally created his own Avian trilogy – first Batman, then Birdman and now Vulture. Keaton perfectly calibrates Toomes’ villainy, rooting his portrayal in humanity rather than overplaying the character’s psychosis. One of Toomes’ most chilling moments lasts but a second or two when he spots Spider-man thwarting another one of his deals on the Staten Island ferry – the diabolical flash in his eyes is reason enough for one to worry about Spider-man’s fate.

    One could go on about all the things that Homecoming does right – the hilarious method it uses to integrate Captain America, the way it nods to its sexier Aunt May, its homage to teen classics The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, its witty reference to the 2002 film’s famous upside-down kiss, the impracticalities of having to chase bad guys through the wilds of suburbia (where he can’t swing from skyscraper to skyscraper with ease), Peter learning all of his suit’s capabilities on the fly, and the constant struggle between being a 15-year-old kid and learning how to be a superhero. What he comes to realise is that the latter isn’t always about saving lives but rather learning to live with the fact that, despite all one’s best efforts, not every life can be saved.

    Unfailingly entertaining, Homecoming does what all superhero films should: leave you wanting more.

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  • Peter Parker wants to be part of the Avengers. And under the eyeing supervision of Tony Stark, he may get his chance assuming the identity of Spider-Man, the web-shooting NYC victor. That’s the gist of Spider-Man: Homecoming, my latest review.

    Tom Holland plays Mr. Parker. He’s decent in the role but there’s a certain amount of guilelessness in his performance. When Pete defeats a bad guy, he spouts off stuff like “yippee” or “woo-hoo”. It feels a little grating at times but hey, the dude portrays an undeveloped fifteen-year-old so I guess it’s you know, predicted.

    Anyway, I’m not an aficionado on superhero films nor am I a fanatic when it comes the character of Spider-Man (or the Spider-Man franchise). I did however, enjoy Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s a sort of “you can tell” way of rebooting the yesteryear of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

    Now I was hesitant on taking in a screening seeing that “Homecoming’s” trailer readily misleads you. I initially thought of something low budget, with a kiddie feel, a cartooning palate, and yet another change in the lead actor department (Holland looks like a cross between a young Tony Goldwyn and a teenage Eric Bana). Heck, for all I know this could’ve been the next Home Alone 3. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

    Lushly directed by Colorado native Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Homecoming allows Johnny boy to generate stupendous action sequences at breakneck speed. His camera, which gives the film a more comic book look see, is always hastily roving around. My favorite sequence is one in which Spider-Man saves his buddies from an elevator crash via the Washington Monument. It’s pretty invigorating stuff and if you’re afraid of heights, you might have to look away.

    All in all, “Homecoming’s” budget is still healthy at $175 million. It’s $118 million below the last Spidey-sense installment (2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2) but so what. The vibe with Spider- Man Homecoming is less dark, more fancy-free, and more cheery than everything else in the Spider-Man canon. It’s like superhero fanaticism meets Pretty in Pink or She’s All That. Add a creepy villain in Michael Keaton (he plays Adrian Toomes aka Vulture) and the result is a stony mixture of cutesy high schooling, deadpan humor, and intimidating villainy. What can I say, it just works. Rating: 3 stars.

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

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  • I was looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming because it appeared to have some wit and humor in the story as well as believable characters. I was not disappointed. The story left questions in my mind. I’m afraid I haven’t followed each and every film so I don’t know what happened that produced the situation we find ourselves in with this movie. The connection was cleared up quickly but my son had to explain what had happened that created all the hardware that was causing so much trouble.
    Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have created a script that allows for many sequels but which completes the story if not the character’s line within it. I had some trouble with time being ignored but that often happens in movies that use countdowns to build suspense. The director, Jon Watts, has done a good job of keeping the pace up but allowing for down time so the action sequences have more punch.
    The best thing about this movie, however, is Tom Holland playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His energy is infectious and carries the audience. Marisa Tomei play Peter Parker’s Aunt May who has raised him since his parents died. (Why can’t the parents live?) Aunt May is generous and all-knowing and I certainly wouldn’t have minded having her for an aunt when I was growing up.
    Michael Keaton plays an honorable bad guy, Adrian Toomes, who twists between respecting Spider-Man and trying to kill him. His is a solid but been there/done that performance. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark always seems to be rushing to his next appointment and so he is in this film. John Favreau is Happy Hogan in one of his few recent on-screen appearances. Downey’s and Favreau’s characters are cut from the same cloth and fit together perfectly.
    Then there are the cameos. Gwyneth Paltrow makes an appearance as Pepper which should happen if Stark is around. Tyne Daly, literally an award winning star of stage, screen, and television, plays the character Anne Marie Hoag, a government official but she disappears quickly so I have to assume she’s has been or will be in this movie world. Stan Lee, naturally, makes his usual Hitchcockian appearance but the cameo that came off as the oddest was Captain America, Chris Evans, showing up on classroom videos encouraging students to do the right thing whatever the class was.
    I give Spider-Man: Homecoming, 4 ½ ferries out of 5. It is an entertaining movie but I still can’t figure out the title and you have to accept the world as presented, to have a stand-alone story that doesn’t require previous story lines to understand.

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