Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

After his official cameo-like introduction in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker in the 2017 comic book superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming. The sixteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Holland is joined by MCU pioneer Robert Downey Jr. as new mentor Tony Stark / Iron Man, with Michael Keaton portraying the former city-wide clean-up leader Adrian Toomes. In the film, Peter Parker has to try and balance his new superhero duties under the leadership of Tony Stark with his school and social life, as well as dealing with the emergence of the new villain known only as The Vulture.

+ Tom Holland has cemented himself as one of the top-tier portrayals of Spider-Man. His youthful appearance (at only 21) does him well compared to former Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield (who were ~28-29), and his awkward mannerisms again make for a different version of a now well-known hero
+ Michael Keaton was phenomenal as Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture (though I’m not sure if either ‘Adrian Toomes’ or ‘The Vulture’ were said verbatim in the film). Keaton’s Toomes was an anti-hero in a lot of ways, and this sympathetic side of him was a refreshing chance from the undeniable evil nature of the most of the MCU villains. Robert Downey Jr. was similarly a ‘shades of grey’ character as Tony Stark, serving as both mentor to Parker and a sometimes foil. I was surprised at how little Downey Jr. was in the film, after seemingly being advertised as a main character
+ I really enjoyed the world building outside of the narrative of Parker’s rise as Spider-Man. Toomes was apparently active after the Battle of New York from the Avengers (aka ‘The Incident’ from the Netflix series), and it is his involvement in the clean up that fully kick starts the plot. Similarly, many famous names, both good and bad, pop up as background characters, either as long term set ups for the future or just little easter eggs for fans

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The Vulture (Michael Keaton) was one of the highlights of the film, and certainly one of the best MCU villains to date.

– whilst I am exceedingly glad we did not have to watch a spider bite Peter Parker’s hand for a third time, there were little to no surprises in this film, and certainly no big surprises. I feel as if all of the major moments were spoiled in the few trailers I saw, despite never going out of my way to see new trailers as they were released. I was even able to mostly piece together the flow of the film just from what was shown in the trailers
– I fully understand that demographics need to evolve with real life, but Parker’s main rival of Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) was anything but a bully. I had no doubt in my mind that Parker could have slapped Flash silly, without his powers, were he so inclined, and that doesn’t really make for a good antagonist. For a comparison sake, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) being a younger woman (here in her 50s) makes as much sense, but is handled in a way that is not as confronting

Should you see this film: This film was a lot of fun, with great performances from both Holland and Keaton, but overall it just felt like “another Spider-man movie”. The trailers revealed too much, and initially soured me on how much Robert Downey Jr. was in the film. I was pleased that this was not the case, but the film still felt somewhat unnecessary. Much like Doctor Strange, I am sure this will be a bigger part of the MCU going forwards, but at the moment you could probably give it a miss.

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