Following on from the events of the last Marvel film, Civil War, Spiderman: Homecoming brings the focus back to the superhero that started the whole web of superhero films that followed it. A fantastic performance by Tom Holland helps to elevate the film, showing he’s by far the best person to don the spidey suit but some poor character decisions and a cliched ending let it down from being the great Marvel entry it so easily could have been,
After a brief opening to set the scene, Homecoming jumps forward 8 years to show a few clips leading up to the events of Civil War in Peter’s perspective before finding Spiderman dumped back in his normal life after his impressive cameo. Its here that the story slows down as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) announces Spiderman is to be watched by one of his close advisors to make sure Spidey stays out of trouble. However, when The Vulture shows up and Iron Man refuses to let Spiderman help, the web crawler decides to defy the rules and with the help of his close friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) sets out to try and stop The Vulture himself.
Despite falling into a familiar cliched climax that’s been done far too much in recent superhero films, the pace and feel of this Spiderman title is a welcome change from the predominantly moody titles of old. The humour peppered throughout is generally good and legitimately funny but ends up so overpowering at times it undermines the core conflict of the film. Spiderman’s main drive for his actions are to protect those who he loves, “with great power comes great responsibility” are the words echoing in the deepest part of his psyche. Although the film does go someway to show the conflicting nature of his high school life and his life as Spiderman, it ultimately means nothing as there’s no consequences for his actions. I won’t go into plot details but suffice to say with the exception of one key character, nothing changes for Peter. This is made even worse by the incredulous decision to let Peter share his secret identity with numerous people throughout the film, one of which being of such importance it undermines Spiderman’s very belief system.
The questionable decisions are worth elaborating on because for large stretches of the film. Spidey relies on Iron Man for help. Whilst I appreciate this dynamic of father-son is supposed to reflect Spiderman having a father figure after losing Uncle Ben, it comes across as devaluing Spiderman as a character and ultimately means his appearance in Civil War was a fluke and not at the same level as the other Avengers. Its disappointing too because when Spidey is given the chance, the web crawling, web shooting and slinging are some of the best in all the Spiderman films but his over-reliance on Tony Stark’s acceptance means he never reaches his true potential.
I mentioned before about Tom Holland and he truly is the right man to play Spiderman. Shy, anxious and nerdy outside the suit, his cocky arrogance and wise cracking jokes in the suit absolutely nail the role to perfection. Whilst Tobey Maguire was a good Peter Parker and a lacklustre Spiderman, Andrew Garfield was the polar opposite. With Tom Holland though, he hits the right balance. On the subject of performances, Michael Keaton as The Vulture is one of the stand out performances of a super villain in a very long time. His character arc is believable and menacing without devolving into maniacal laughing, striking the right balance throughout the film.
Aside from a few script wobbles and a terribly miscast Flash Thompson, there’s a lot to like about Spiderman: Homecoming. Its certainly not the best Marvel film, nor is it the best Spiderman film in terms of high stakes or furthering the character but there’s a lot to like here. Tom Holland and Michael Keaton in particular are outstanding, they have good chemistry together and are by far the best parts of this film. Whilst I wasn’t a fan of Spidey’s over-reliance of Iron Man or his inability to keep his identity a secret, Homecoming has a lot of other things going for it. The humour does overpower the film at times but for the most part hits the right balance, especially with Spidey’s wisecracking jokes in his suit. There’s some impressive action as you’d expect from Marvel films, with the trademark quick cuts and decent CGI. Overall then, Spiderman: Homecoming is a decent effort from Marvel who manage to pick up the pieces left by Sony and finally produce a memorable Spiderman, even if the script around the two lead actors is not.