Release Date: July 7th, 2017
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marissa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya
Director: Jon Watts
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios, Pascal Pictures
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
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Spider-Man: Homecoming is without a doubt the best Spider-Man we have ever seen on screen, better than Amazing, better than Spider-man 2, better than the 90’s cartoon. I enjoyed every single one of those previous Spider-Mans (or is it Spider-Men?) – yes, even Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though that one is certainly bottom tier, and can say with certainty this is the best Spidey to date.
Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds where many a reboot has fallen. It ditches the well-trodden origin story for something original and zags on us. Following his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man is back home and itching to be an Avenger. Tony Stark acts as a distant mentor with Happy Hogan as the go-between. Meanwhile, Adrian Toomes, played by Michael Keaton, has started up a profitable side business of using Chitauri tech to pull off heists. Peter gets on the case and the super-heroics that follow are sensational.
First, Tom Holland as Spider-Man. We already got a taste of this in Civil War, but after seeing his own movie it is certain, he is Peter Parker, and he is Spider-Man. Whereas most folks feel Garfield pulled off the Spider-Man persona, while Toby did Parker justice, Holland is perfect as both webslinger and high school nerd. He zips, he quips, and in social situations, he frequently slips. It’s perfect.
I mentioned the moving zagging on the audience. That’s because it consistently deviates just slightly from the Spider-Man mythos we all know. Flash Thompson is played by Tony Revolori, and is much more of a rich kid bully than a varsity football jock. We see Spider-Man trying to web sling in locales far from the norm, jumping from rooftop to rooftop in the unfortunately vertically challenged suburbia. It gives us a Spider-Man movie we have never seen before, and shows the strength of the character outside of what we have come to expect.
The other thing that Homecoming manages to do better than any MCU movie before it: exist in the Shared Universe. Many of the other flicks will give a knowing chuckle and wink to other characters doing something elsewhere. Doctor Strange references a hero with a busted back, that sort of thing.
Instead Homecoming takes a good look at what it would be like in a city that aliens recently attacked. There work in damage control, the construction company that handles the aftermath of super-fights, created in 1988 by the late Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colón. They develop what going to high school in a world with Captain America would be like, and that makes for one of the movies best recurring jokes.
Speaking of jokes, my god is this movie funny. The audience was roaring with laughter so frequently plenty of lines were missed. Bit parts and cameos abound as the faculty of the high school are played by numerous comedic actors you might not expect. The movie even has multiple villains, a little Sinister Six tease, that isn’t overstuffed!
I cannot wait to see Spider-Man: Homecoming again, it recaptures the fun, bright-eyed optimism that is all too often missing from the genre.