Spider-Man: Homecoming is Pitch Perfect Marvel [Review]
Directed by: Jon Watts
Screenplay by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Story by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Based on Spider-Man by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Laura Harrier
Running time 133 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. – Courtesy Sony Pictures / Marvel Studios
Pitch perfect is the best way I have been able to describe this film in conversation as a single, short selling point. It is the Spider-Man treatment the character and the Marvel Cinematic Universe needed. In many ways, it is both the lightest and darkest of the Marvel films. While baby Groot was adorable in Guardians 2, and there was a light-hearted humor to the Guardian’s films it doesn’t reach the joy evoked by Peter Parker having fun. While the darkest moments of Spider-Man: Homecoming can’t quite reach the darkest depths of Jessica Jones, it comes very close to the darkest moments of Daredevil. This film achieved these heights and depths without bludgeoning the audience with those moments. They developed organically, and were carried to fruition by two extraordinary performers, Tom Holland, and Michael Keaton. I say this now having been unenthusiastic about this film from the beginning. I did not want to see another Spider-Man movie, I didn’t want the tired story of a conflicted young man coming to grips with his new power and responsibility. Mostly, I didn’t want to see another attempt to build a film around a character that no screenwriter and director had managed to get right after 5 attempts. I am overjoyed to say I was wrong to ever have any doubts about Spider-Man: Homecoming.
There are a few things I would have liked to see more of, and less of. I would have liked to have spent a little more time on the relationship between Peter and his Aunt May. That relationship is a very important part of Peter Parker’s story, and Marisa Tomei did some incredible things with this role, I would have very much liked to see her get a little more time on screen. I would have also liked just a little bit more establishment of a timeline. I could have lived with a few less Easter eggs, they are a lot of fun, but sometimes were distracting to the story. With a story like this I don’t want to be distracted by wondering about the passage of time in relation to events in other Marvel films.
Among my friends we have often discussed villains in the MCU and how many of the films have a disappointing lack of strong bad guys. A standing agreement is that Kingpin from the Netflix Daredevil series is the most threatening villain in the entire MCU. However, after seeing Michael Keaton’s Vulture that argument may need revision. Without giving too much away there is a moment of confrontation between Spider-Man and Vulture that is absolutely chilling, and Holland and Keaton play that scene so beautifully that I will forever be in love with that scene. If I could point to a single scene that makes the entire film, this would be it. It is a conversation, there is no fighting, no mind-blowing effects, just dialogue, and perfect delivery.
Calling this the best Marvel film is going to come down to one’s own subjective preferences, but I think Spider-Man: Homecoming is strong enough to stand with the best of any super-hero film. Also, as with any Marvel film, stay in your seat through the credits.