by Scotty Daniels
Well, it’s finally happened. A Marvel movie has been released that I not only sat through the whole way through; was not only incredibly entertained by; but actually had made my mind up well before the end credits rolled. This is by far the best version of the eponymous web-slinger ever committed to film. This film, is the best Spider-Man film, period. This is coming from someone who isn’t a Marvel fanboy. I can’t remember the character’s introduction in Civil War to save my life (thank god for this film’s very useful epilogue!) and I’ve never read a Spider-Man comic. What I have done is grow up enduring the overtly goofy, tongue-in-cheek Tobey McGuire flicks of the early 00’s, very clearly a stylistic throwback to 60s occasionally bordering on Adam West Batman-level parody. I also fell asleep during The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so there’s that.
Spider-Man Homecoming is the perfect film to continue Marvel’s monopoly over comic book adaptations, and even improves on the standard set by previous films; the action is spectacular when needed but feels grounded in and driven by the characters motivations, the humour is side-splitting and as meta as you could believe but stops just before breaking the crucial 4th wall. The pacing and tone is energetic and consistent throughout and despite the hefty running time, never feels like it’s dragging.
The casting is on point: Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is not only a much more realistically aged character but infinitely more likable and possesses comic timing of an actor far beyond his years. Michael Keaton’s performance as Vulture is both hilariously meta (references need not be included) but surprisingly and simultaneously menacing and sympathetic. As goes the saying the best villains are the ones who in their mind think they are the Hero, the script very cleverly treads the fine grey area and allows the audience the benefit of the doubt to decide for themselves. The way in which the hero and villain’s stories inadvertently cross paths in the third act is a brilliant demonstration of how tension and humour can be used to both play off and emphasise each other and is arguably the highlight of the film. Supporting cast vary from decent to great, Marisa Tomei as (a much younger) Aunt May is always welcome and gets the final (and perhaps biggest) laugh of the film. Unfortunately, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark feels phoned in (at times literally) and his vignettes seemed at odds with the rest of the otherwise consistent performances. Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned however, steals the film. What an astounding turn from a young actor. In fear of giving away the best lines, this reviewer won’t be quoting or even explaining the nature of this actor’s brilliant sense of comic timing and delivery, you’ll have to see it for yourself.
Whilst this review may seem to be nothing but blowing smoke, it (hopefully) is anything but. Is it a perfect film? Pffft, hell no. Is it a perfect superhero movie however? It’s pretty far up there. A genuine accomplishment in amongst the consistent, yet (at least to me) not particularly outstanding Marvel series (with the glorious exception of Guardians of the Galaxy), this one got me good. Take my money Disney, take all the money.