By Adam Ray Palmer
Here’s something a little different from me… a superhero movie review! I know, I know it’s rare but since Civil War, I have been intrigued by Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
So, once I saw the Phoenix Leicester were screening this Marvel epic, I had to pop by to see what the latest Peter Parker incarnation was up to…
15-year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) can't wait to help his new mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), with any superhero work the latter might have available. But Stark wants to keep his young protégé safe at home in Queens, living with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and going to high school with friends like his good buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon).
This isn’t good enough for old Peter, so instead, every night he goes out looking for crime to stop around the neighbourhood. One evening he comes face to face with a group of robbers armed with powerful, high-tech weapons. After a few teenage scenes including a raucous house party and travelling to Washington on a school trip, Peter eventually traces the dangerous gear to a gang run by Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), who's long harbored a grudge against the Avengers and the secretive agencies that work with them.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Spider-Man: Homecoming is decent. Why I hear you ask, well for a few reasons really. Firstly, thank heavens we aren’t treated to how Peter Parker became the web-slinger once again – that’s saved a bit of time. Uncle Ben, not the rice, also didn’t make the cut this time around – more time saved. This means we can get straight into the action. Another major swing for me was the opening 10 minutes. We pick up straight after Civil War (kind of during actually) and it’s a great way of telling the audience where we are at.
Spider-Man is taken under Tony Stark’s wing and tested with petty criminals around New York City before becoming a fully-fledged Avenger. This leads nicely to Tom Holland. Whilst he is a respectable Spidey, I still think I prefer Andrew Garfield. Holland has the youthfulness that Marvel are after, but come on, he definitely doesn’t look 15! Having an 8-pack and those muscles is just not right!
Hollands holds his own though opposite two heavyweights of the movie world in Robert Downey Jnr (Stark) and Michael Keaton (Toomes). Keaton is a great addition to Homecoming. He’s your average criminal-done-well so to speak. He has robbed some of the Avenger magic to put into his own weapons, ready to rule the city. It’s refreshing not to have a genetically challenged villain for once.
Like usual though, Marvel haven’t skimped on the budget. There’s still your big CGI scenes, huge explosions and incredible graphics. The biggest compliment I can give this movie is how balanced it is. The casting is just about spot on, largely down to a great performance from Jacob Batalon as Ned. The direction is a lot smoother and personal, and by that, I mean we feel closer to the action rather than a distant spectacle. There’s also great sporadic Easter eggs throughout and the script zings for the entirety.
Overall, if you thought Spider-Man had peaked and a third reboot would have killed off the Spidey legend, you’d be wrong. I can’t believe I am saying this, but bring on the sequel.
Cineroom’s Rating: 4 Stars
Spider-Man: Homecoming screened worldwide last month – certificate 12A