Directed by Jon Watts
Starring Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr.
Running Time 2 Hrs., 13 Mins., PG-1
My Rating: B
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) is a breezy summer movie, a superhero film that invigoratingly feels less like a silly, inconsequential chapter in a comic book series. For that, it’s something of a breath of fresh air. Not necessarily because it’s innovative, but because it recognizes what a trivial thing a superhero picture is and doesn’t try to do anything besides have fun with itself. Like this year’s Wonder Woman (2017), it’s as light on its feet as it is colorful and action-packed. It gives us what we want without all the fat that comes with an overblown budget and a lengthy running time.
Rather than serve as a continuation of the storylines focused upon in Marc Webb’s take on the web-spinning superhero, Homecoming renews the story, kicking off from the new super’s intro in Captain America: Civil War (2016). With no retelling of Peter Parker’s “becoming,” it marks a stark difference from its earlier counterparts. Namely because the titular protagonist is played by someone who is age-appropriate for the role, and because Spider-Man is not totally the invention of a crafty teen but rather of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) determination to find a new Avenger to cultivate.
Homecoming is playful. In the film, Parker is a gangly teen obsessed with proving himself to the elder Stark. After participating in the central battle of egos in the aforementioned Captain America movie, he’s too eager to become a great to really be thoughtful in his actions.
Stark’s given Parker the Spidey suit in hopes of him acting as a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” doing little things here and there to better the community. But Parker isn’t satisfied. He wants to do more than just save the tree-clinging kitties of old ladies.
This gets Parker into a lot of trouble. While there is a big bad villain to drive the storyline (Michael Keaton plays Vulture), the movie is mostly about the teen coming into his own as a crime fighter. Most of the action sequences either end in catastrophe or start in the first place as a result of the kid’s own reckless eagerness.
Because Spider-Man is portrayed as an insecure adolescent, Homecoming feels right. This is what a teenage superhero would be like. Past features centering on the latter have amplified the rights and forgiven the wrongs as if they were forgivable quirks.
Homecoming captures the spirit of a teenager. Found is the need to prove something to authority, the accidental disregard for interests not completely your own, the awareness that you have talent without knowing exactly how to utilize it. The feature is a coming-of-age movie concerned with one’s increasing understanding of their identity as a superhero.
The screenplay, written by no less than six writers, sometimes loses the intimacy that could arise from a more personal touch. Similarly, Jon Watts’ direction puts more emphasis on the spectacle of Homecoming than the more humanistic elements that make it interesting in the first place.
But Homecoming is still refreshingly relaxed, and Holland instills the film with so much charm you might consider yourself to have icicles in your heart if you don’t come to like him immediately. Another Spider-Man wasn’t necessary. But Homecoming is just good enough to convince us that another reboot was after all.
A student at the University of Washington, Blake will major in Visual Communications or Journalism. petersonreviews.com