Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon
Running time: 133 minutes
“If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”
When I first heard that there was going to be another Spider-Man reboot I was very hesitant – the Spidey track record hasn’t been too good – “But” I told myself “Marvel is taking the reigns so it has to be better!”. Then when I heard that this Spider-Man would focus on the nerdy Peter Parker trying to juggle being an unpopular high-school student as well as a “friendly neighbour-hood Spider-Man”, I was both excited and apprehensive. Getting that structural balance right would be difficult but Marvel have done it before; the Guardians of the Galaxy films especially worked well in the mixture of superheroes and comedy. After Homecoming was released and the positive reviews came in I was just very excited to see it, and it did not disappoint…much.
Let me start with our new Spider-Man, Tom Holland. I think we can all agree that he is the best version of the do-gooder superhero we’ve seen on the big screen. Not only does he look like an actual high-schooler but also he is so endearing, we really cared for him. This is made evident right from the off when we see Peter’s video diary of his mission seen in Civil War; we see the character incredibly enthusiastic about proving himself worthy and helping people, we see his humour, and his down right dorky-ness. This carries on throughout and that adds an emotional layer to the film; when he’s in danger we’re sad and scared for him, despite cheesy Iron Man voice overs!
What’s more is he fails. A lot. This may not be an origin story
(thankfully) but we see Peter learning, often the hard way, how to become the hero. This was the main aspect that drove the plot and it worked really well. There were enough big set pieces to remind you that this is a superhero film, but since many of these were Spidey’s own fault they would be offset by moving character moments reflecting on these disasters.
The high-flying but grounded villain, Keaton’s Vulture, was a very interesting character. His motivations were a lot more sincere than other MCU villains, an audience was almost lead to sympathise for him, especially since his goal wasn’t world domination but instead was to steal just enough chitauri technology to make some money. Also, for anybody who has already seen it you’ll known what I mean when I say that incredible car scene! I’d have liked to have seen a little more of him being the ‘father’ though, just to bring home his depth of character. This was where my only complaint for the film came from; since the film is pretty long (just under 2 hours and a half) his character became a bit stretched and resulted in the film snapping back to the generic superhero final act of the hero vs the villain, a tad too much CGI, and lots of ‘BANGS’ and ‘KAPLOWS’.
Of course I have to mention the wonderful soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino – who also scored The Incredibles, Rogue One, and Zootropolis, the last of which has had some influence on this film. The orchestrated version of the original TV Spider-Man theme was a wonderful start to the movie and the way the new theme ( heard in the aptly named No Frills Proto COOL! ) sort of used the same sounds as the original sounded so cool and worked to show this is a different kind of reboot. In addition this tune is worked into the piece On a Ned-To-Know Basis and, as well as sounding awesome, helps make Ned even funnier. Michael Giacchino also cleverly used the music to make references to the rest of the MCU – the villain’s theme ( heard in The World is Changing and Vulture Clash ) mimics Alan Silvestri’s Avengers theme but in minor key cementing the idea that he is a villain motivated by the unfairness of society.
“The rich and powerful, like Stark, they don’t care about us. We have to pick up after them. We have to eat their table scraps.”
References like this establish Homecoming as part of the Marvel world and personally I think the amount of acknowledgements to the other films is about right, although some might are not so subtle, and maybe a little less Iron Man would’ve been appreciated. But I’m especially excited by the inclusion of potential future foes for Spider-Man, they popped up every now and then and could lead to a variation of the Sinister Six!
Overall a really fun, colourful, and character driven film that gets the balance just right! I’d definitely recommend the film whether you’re a Marvel fan, a ‘brat pack’ fan, or just want to see something a little different.