With great power comes great responsibility to make sure this one works!
I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN series. Being the most memorable starring Tobey Maguire, SONY decides on a reboot with Marc Webb’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN starring Andrew Garfield. The Webb series had its thing, but Webb’s web didn’t really find the masses tangled in it. They were entertaining, however, not as emotionally driven as Raimi’s, or up to SONY’s standards. (Whatever that was.) Love it, or hate it, we were all drawn to these movies. But months after the release of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 ( With Sinister Six plans on board), in early 2015 SONY does it again as news breaks about them joining forces with Marvel Studios for another reboot. This time, stepping back a bit and allowing them to not only spin Spidey’s web their way, but expose him on a much larger scale by joining the Avengers story-line.
Although having full film rights, all SONY really did was place their name on it. It was huge news and T minus whatever started. It’s finally here and I must say it was well worth the wait. As hard as it is for me NOT to talk about this flick with what’s presented in its entirety, all I can say is brace yourselves for what I think is the year’s best (so far) cinematic experience, and even more when caught on IMAX.
Following his grand “Hey everyone” intro, thrilled by his experience with the Avengers in CIVIL WAR (2016), Peter (Tom Holland) returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and guard dog, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). As Peter tries to fall back into his normal, daily routine, a menacing soul known as the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges, placing everything Peter holds dear to his heart in unexplainable danger. Although young, with the everyday pressures of any teenager, Peter’s moment has arrived to confront challenges that will allow him to become the hero he wants and/or is meant to be.
Oh, what a tangled web Marvel has weaved! (In a good way.) Reinventing the wheel is an understatement for how much of a thrill-ride SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is. It’s charming, fun, engaging, dramatic, funny, and overall explosive joy of adrenaline with a youthful twist and touch. The balance between heroism and teenage drama is nicely paced and presented. Placing Spider-Man in the MCU was the best thing ever to happen to this already established franchise. Not only did they take care of the origin story and do the heavy lifting in CIVIL WAR, HOMECOMING doesn’t spend time explaining why Peter would come up with the idea of becoming a superhero. It cuts to the chase by allowing its audience to grow along with Peter/Spider-Man, leading to memorable moments when we see him enthusiastically bond with Tony Stark/Iron Man. In turn, displaying struggles of a young man evolving in a world where odds are stacked against him.
On the flip, Michael Keaton as the Vulture is the best MCU villain since Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Watching Keaton’s subplot as he morphs into a much admired super-being can serve as a story all on its own. Never presented as a “bad guy,” there’s a charismatic touch among Keaton’s character Adrian Toomes. Doing it in the name of humility and family, the narrative taps into our psyche by generating sympathy for the “bad guy.” The same way we felt for Loki, there’s a touch of sensitivity and reason as the story-line plays parallel to modern times.
The other magic presented in this flick comes from its powerful supporting cast of players. Holding their own, the unique light they shine in this film is the diverse appeal that’s been placed upon this rehash. Fully dedicated in casting for the sake of casting, and not for “looks,” Marvel Studios has made its message very clear. A breath of fresh air considering we’ve seen this web spun before. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING will have its naysayers, most of it fanatical bullcrap. (All these films do.) It isn’t a perfect world. But close enough to it does exist, and if there were ever a sample of what “perfection” may look like, I think an all-inclusive, blockbuster, comic-book movie courtesy of Marvel would be it. So, three times may be a charm with this new series. Enjoy and stick around for those post-credit scenes.
Grade: A / Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Adaptation / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2:12
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.
Directed by: Jon Watts
© 2017 Marvel Studios/SONY