Rating: 4.5 / 5
The last thing the cinematic world needs is another Superhero origin story, and when it comes to Spider-Man we’ve had this in spades; both Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions depicted the well-known epic in great detail. So what does Spider-Man: Homecoming provide that’s different? In short, everything.
From the get-go, we see that the next instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is more light-hearted than its counterparts. Quirky, upbeat music laces Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker, and he is a delightfully award fifteen year old—geeky enough to make him lovable, and with more excitement than a child hyped up on red cordial.
Capturing the camp and sassy character originally penned by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Parker’s commentary in and out of battle make him the quintessence of Spider-Man, and you can’t help but root for the kid, even when he causes more chaos than order in his home town of Brooklyn.
Fast forwarding through his origin story (we all know he got bitten by a radioactive spider-okay?), we meet Peter straight after he is recruited by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) for the battle against Captain America (Chris Evans).
Despite his impressive form, Parker is hung out to dry by Stark, and his only advice is “don’t do anything I would do—or anything I would do,” hardly enough direction to give clarity to the burgeoning neighbourhood super hero who just wants to make a difference.
Tom Holland showcases the toll this isolation has on a teen struggling to find his place in the world, yet manages to avoid delivering an introspective biopic with his quick wit, throwing the character into exciting action sequences and hilariously navigating more cool super-hero gadgets than you can poke a stick at.
Wrestling with the concept of what it truly means to be a hero, as well as trying to keep his secret from his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and desperately trying to impress his crush Liz (played by Laura Harrier, who has conveniently fallen for the YouTube sensation that is Spider-Man), the film climaxes at three different points.
This ends with an emotional and exciting show down against infamous comic villain Vulture (Michael Keaton); yet a twist gives depth to the buoyant flick and subtly calls attention to the abuse of power by the privileged, biracial relationships and school bullying.
Unlike its predecessors, there is no melancholy recollection of the “with great power comes great responsibility,” in this film. Rather, it is embedded into the character’s DNA, and comes out with each failure and victory that follows.
Filled with Marvel’s trademark Easter eggs and intricately woven narratives, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will salivate at the nod to Tony Stark’s love life and are left guessing right to the end about the identity of Peter Parker’s long-standing comic love interest, MJ.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is more than a feel-good super hero flick. Rather, it is a welcome home celebration by Marvel Comics on the homecoming of one of its most iconic characters. Tom Holland is the perfect teen to don the Spidey Suit and usher it into a new decade of super-adventures where he doesn’t just combat evil geniuses in scary costumes, but defeats perpetrators of racial injustice and class division as well. Timely indeed.
Highlight: Holland’s witty portrayal of Spider-Man
Red flags: Some bad language, action violence, mature themes.