Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review
Third time’s the charm. Spider-Man is back for a third rendition, and unlike the ill-fated Andrew Garfield series that got cut short just a few years ago, this new version is fast, fun, flighty and funny. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a blast from beginning to end, thanks to a lively performance by Tom Holland and an energetic, lighthearted approach from Jon Watts.
Spider-Man: Homecoming avoids many of the traps that tanked the Garfield series—most notably, Sony Pictures, now partnered with Marvel Studios, acknowledged that every person on the planet by now knows the basic origins of Spider-Man, and no one wants to see Uncle Ben die yet again. Watts and a legion of screenwriters (six by my count!) give us a markedly different Spider-Man than we’ve seen before (aside from Captain America: Civil War, where Holland made his debut), presenting a younger, hipper and tonally lighter character and story that will leave you in stitches.
The movie works best as a comedy—it thrives when Holland is 15-year-old Peter Parker, forced to deal with high school life, friends and crushes. Aided by Peter’s pal Ned (played by scene stealer Jacob Batalon), Homecoming is funny from beginning to end thanks to witty dialogue and several lively performances. There are a few stretches where the jokes don’t land as intended, but it’s generally consistent in the laughs department.
Homecoming also features some decent action scenes, even if it lacks any moment that really stands out (sorry, the ferry scene is too reminiscent of the iconic train sequence from Spider-Man 2). The climax is pretty solid and properly ratchets up the tension, even if it falls victim to the same problem other Spider-Man movies have suffered from—a villain who is hard to hate. Michael Keaton is great, but sometimes, especially in comic book movies, I want my villains a little nasty--Keaton's character is interesting and relatable, but perhaps too relatable.
The movie’s biggest weakness is its connection to the broader MCU, even though the filmmakers do a good job of incorporating Spider-Man into that world and making his involvement integral to the story. Homecoming would have benefited from one or two fewer scenes involving Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) or references to the Avengers; they sometimes work, and sometimes they feel forced and unnecessary.
Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t the deepest of superhero films, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Funny and entertaining, this is one web worth slinging.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.