Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) – Film Review
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jnr
by Roger Crow
After 15 years and three different revamps, we need another Spider-Man reboot about as much as we need a wet summer.
That’s the problem with live action Spidey. Peter Parker is only good for two or three films before he looks like middle-aged Spidey due to the length between movies. The solution? Make a trilogy back to back like Lord of the Rings, or cast an actor who can pass for 15. Yes, there’s an audible gasp when Spider-Man turns out to be Spider-Teen. A case for advertising standards? Probably, and for a fan hooked on the wall-crawler for more than 40 years, I keep my expectations low despite positive reviews.
Homecoming may look like a reboot propped up by Iron Man and the genius casting of Michael Keaton as The Vulture, but I wonder if Spidey will be a supporting star in his own film.
Thankfully there’s no danger of that. Tom Holland is spot on as the breathless kid who was introduced in the often leaden Captain America: Civil War. His insertion into that memorable airport scene is explained via a vlog, before we witness his crime busting antics in New York.
“Very funny adventure”
Meanwhile, maverick scrap collector Adrian Toomes (Keaton) is salvaging alien tech from Avengers Assemble’s battle of New York, which enables him to craft a flying suit. He’s the best Spidey screen villain since Doctor Octopus, and thanks to a brilliant twist in the third act, has more depth than most generic genius bad guys.
A chunk of the movie sees Parker getting through school, saving his classmates in a terrific Washington DC action scene, and coming to terms with Tony Stark’s hi-tech Spidey suit. For the most part it’s a very funny adventure which asks: what if John Hughes directed a Marvel movie? The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with action scenes, if you like.
In one scene where Ferris fans like me are reminded of his race home, there’s even a nod to said movie which made me laugh out loud while the target audience (kids) were obviously non-plussed.
My fear that Iron Man would steal the film is unfounded. He’s in it just enough to act as a surrogate dad, a little like Keaton’s outstanding villain.
“Realms of superb”
The Spidey films (not including the Nicholas Hammond TV movies) have so far been good; superb; awful; good; great, and now we’re back in the realms of superb. Maybe we did need that reboot after all, though thankfully fans don’t have to sit through yet another derivative spider bite scene.
I just hope that when Parker eventually winds up at the Daily Bugle, JK Simmons not only reprises his role as the peerless J Jonah Jameson, but also gets a spin-off movie. I could happily watch him insulting his staff for 90 minutes.
For now, Spider-Man: Homecoming is as good as any fan could hope for, not least because of the funniest closing line of the year from the sublime Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. Amazing it is.