Review: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Spoiler free)

Jacob Batalon;Photographer select;Tom Holland

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by: Jon Watts
Cert: 12A Running Time: 133 minutes
Irish Release Date: 5th July 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming had a lot to live up to. After a cracking entrance in Captain America: Civil War, in which we were given a mouth-watering glimpse of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) reinvented for the MCU, the first standalone film needed to deliver something fresh. With five films since 2002, we’re very familiar with the story of Peter Parker and key to this resurrection, is the fact that Spidey has now slung his web into the world of The Avengers.

Picking up two months after the airport showdown in Civil War, Peter is biding his time until he hears from Stark again, and like any teen, he is getting impatient – the neighbourhood being too small now for his dreams of fighting serious crime with his mentor. Lucky then, that there’s a bad guy right in his own backyard – a “psychopath dressed like a demon” in the shape of Vulture (Michael Keaton). A weapons designer utilising alien tech, who has managed to stay below the S.H.I.E.L.D. radar, until now.

This forms the framework of the story, but really there are two threads working seamlessly alongside each other –  Peter Parker’s navigation through high school with his best buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) and him finding his place in the Avenger’s universe. The first gives a nod to John Hughes’ 80’s teen movies, complete with the loyal and funny best friend, the high school bully (Tony Revolori) and the most beautiful girl in school, Liz (Laura Harrier), whom Peter admires from afar as the Homecoming dance approaches.

Of the second, Downey Jr. brings his usual charm and wit as the cool uncle/father figure as he bounces off Holland’s performance, making the pair fantastic to watch but Holland is the star and rightly so. His Peter Parker/Spider-Man is so likeable and director Jon Watts establishes this from the opening frame with a hilarious video diary that makes you love him instantly.

Jon Favreau;Robert Downey Jr;Tom Holland

When it comes to the action, Watt delivers great set pieces, including a vertigo-inducing one that hits the mark, while another, is perhaps a little too frenetic but serves the story well. The only downside to having Spider-Man in the MCU, is knowing that Iron Man isn’t too far away thus dialling down the peril factor when it comes to the scrapes Peter finds himself in, but it’s a minor quibble.

The supporting cast are all great with nice work from Batalon (whom the film would be a lot duller without) Zendaya and Donald Glover. Marisa Tomei shines too in her scenes as the newly hip Aunt May. Having Keaton on board as the villain is a massive coup – his Vulture brings menace and brains and he has one of the best speeches in the film, bringing a serious note to an otherwise entertaining and enjoyable addition to the Marvel universe. Packed full of charm, it’s a perfect summer blockbuster that leaves your appetite whetted for the next instalment. Job done then.


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