After an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-man is finally home where he belongs. The friendly neighbourhood web-slinger has his own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this is the first one that really feels like the Spider-Man comic fans know and love.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns from Germany with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and is eager for his next assignment. As he waits for a call from his minder, Parker balances his time between attending high school at day and fighting crime at night as the Spider-Man. Tracking down a gang selling alien weaponry, Parker encounters the Vulture (Michael Keaton), and decides that bringing his gang down will serve as the perfect opportunity to prove himself to Stark.
Holland’s enthusiasm for the role shines through
As enjoyable as previous Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were, the fact remains that Peter Parker is meant to be a high-school student, and Homecoming is the first film that employs that side of the character to great effect. Holland himself looks as though he could be a kid, and for every crime foiled, there’s a Spanish test to sit or finding a date for homecoming to worry about. This is Parker in his formative years (we avoid the almost customary Uncle Ben story, too), and the arc he goes through in trying to prove himself to Stark is a powerful one. Holland’s enthusiasm for the role shines through, and he shows that he can carry a film with his easy screen presence.
The film also benefits from, and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this for a Marvel film, a compelling villain. The ever-brilliant Keaton shines as perhaps the MCU’s most down-to-earth villain – his motivations are laid down from the outset, giving us time to get to know his character, and there are elements in there that suggest he may not all that completely villainous at all. I don’t want to give too much away, because there’s a plot beat later on in the movie that adds a whole level of depth to his Vulture – suffice to say that the scene in which he figures out who Spider-Man is sees him shift from jovial to cold-blooded in a terrifying instant, and it alone highlights the clout Keaton brings to this movie.
I can’t overstate how fun Homecoming is
One terrifying moment, though, should not take away from the fact that this is the funniest Marvel movie to date. It powers through on youthful energy, which comes across in both the high school sequences (which could be taken from a John Hughes film, in all honesty) and in Parker learning his superhero trade.
I can’t overstate how fun Homecoming is – summer is a time for breezy blockbusters, and this movie delivers that in spades. It is an enjoyable watch buoyed by strong performances around the board and the escapism only cinema can provide – the best Spider-Man film yet, and one of Marvel’s top pictures by far.