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7/17/17

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING - REVIEW


With the last Spider-Man reboot still fresh in our minds, Marvel and Sony's new collaboration needed to break the mould and try a different approach to keep everyone interested. Tom Holland's new incarnation of the iconic web-slinger being one of the most popular aspects of Captain America: Civil War, this one looked like a promising re-imagining.

Wisely bypassing the familiar origin story to give us a brand new take on things, Spider-Man: Homecoming is arguably the least faithful adaptation of the Spider-Man comics out there and yet what it introduces is so cleverly weaved into the new Marvel Universe that it would take a rather stern purist to crucify it for the liberties it takes. Set soon after the events of Civil War, the film first introduces us to Michael Keaton's villain Adrian Toomes who was part of the clean-up crew post-Avengers until Tony Stark made his job obsolete. Toomes vows to come up with a new way to cash-in on the alien technology left behind and so The Vulture is born. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is bugging Stark for another mission, waiting anxiously to officially become an Avenger full-time while having to deal with High School. Tony Stark himself (Robert Downey Jr.) and his faithful driver/bodyguard "Happy" (Jon Favreau) pop up from time to time to guide, scold or ignore Peter.

Casting a younger actor in the lead role was always going to help sell the High School part of the story and Tom Holland, indeed, fits the part perfectly. Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield did a good job overall as both Spider-Man and Peter Parker but the former gradually lost his charm and the latter was just not convincing as a High School student. Holland is likeable as both sides of Spider-Man's personality plus he makes sense as a student so he certainly has the potential to be the best incarnation of the character. As for Michael Keaton, his Vulture is the best Spider-Man villain since Doc Ock as he manages to be intimidating and unhinged while staying very much human. The same can't be said for the underused Shocker. This is a reverse-coming-of-age superhero story in which a kid with tons of promise as a crime-fighter is thrown into a massive challenge but is then forced to consider his options and perhaps take a more humble route.

The trailer gives away most of the film's main action beats but that shouldn't make you enjoy those few exciting sequences any less. This isn't a big, bombastic superhero movie like most of Marvel's recent output but that gives it its own personality as more time is spent with Peter Parker interacting with his friends and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) or practicing with his cool new spider suit than with Spider-Man fighting bad guys. The supporting cast is solid, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon are likeable as Peter's friends but comic-book fans might have some complaints about changing familiar characters' personalities completely for the sake of another reboot: Flash Thompson is about as threatening as a puppy and MJ is, surprisingly, emo. This is basically Ferris Bueller's Day Off if Bueller had super-powers, Iron Man on speed-dial and was being chased by a murderous Michael Keaton instead of some grumpy Dean. The John Hughes vibe is obvious but it somehow works quite well in this Spider-Man movie, giving it bucket-loads of charm throughout.

Die-hard comic-book fans will have valid concerns, for sure, but as an alternative, MCU-friendly take on Spidey it's hard to deny just how much fun this movie is. Perfect lead, terrific villain, cool action scenes, lots of High School nostalgia, nifty cameos and the most versatile Spider-Man suit to date, this is another ridiculously enjoyable Marvel flick offering Spidey a promising future.

Get off the "web" and go see it.

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