Wealth and fame, he’s ignored… y’know, maybe Tom Holland needs a better agent.
released 20 November (Out now on download) 2017 | 12 | blu-ray (4K/standard)/dvd/ download Director Jon Watts Cast Tom Holland, Zendaya, laura Harrier, michael Keaton
Nobody wanted another Spider-Man reboot until they got one… and then it all made absolute sense. This latest iteration of Spider-Man is perfect, a SpiderMan precision-engineered for the MCU now that Sony’s allowing Disney to play with its toys (Marvel having sold the screen rights for Spidey to Sony decades back). Because whatever you think of the two Amazing Spider-Man movies starring Andrew Garfield, his Spidey was not what the MCU needed, not least because he was too old for the part.
Marvel wanted a Spidey closer to the one Stan Lee created back in 1962 – a young teen, not a young adult, struggling with school life as much as supervillains. That’s what they’ve given us. Tom Holland’s wide-eyed, exuberant Peter Parker/Spider-Man is not some angsty X-youth moaning about their powers being a curse. He’s the kid who’s relishing his powers, who can’t wait for the school bell to ring so he can get swinging. It’s a brilliant piece of casting – as crucial as Marvel’s masterstroke of making Robert Downey Jr Tony Stark. He totally inhabits the role, with shy-boy charisma and a lithe physicality, simultaneously gawky and athletic. There will, no doubt, be an ongoing debate about whether Holland or Maguire is the best Spider-Man (sorry Garfield…) but the truth is they’re both excellent in different ways.
Whether Homecoming is a better Spider-Man film than the first two Sam Raimi films is a trickier question. It’s certainly hugely entertaining. Once again, Marvel has created a hybrid, merging the superhero genre with the high school movie; it’s no coincidence that Homecoming riffs on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at one point, and there are other moments when it’s pure John Hughes. All the main teen characters impress (especially Zendaya’s MJ, clearly channelling Ally Sheedy’s moody misfit Allison in The Breakfast Club) and the cast is pleasingly diverse.
It’s also a movie that reveals a new viewpoint on the MCU. Homecoming gives a real sense of what it’s like to be normal people living in a world of superheroes. That comes not just from the kids but from Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, the MCU’s answer to Walter White – a blue collar worker, shafted by the authorities, who becomes a supervillain to provide for his family. For once, the Big Bad isn’t the weakest link in a Marvel movie, with Keaton turning in a compelling and believable performance. Homecoming’s cameos from existing MCU characters also support rather than overpower the film; Downey Jr’s Stark hasn’t been this likeable since the first Iron Man film.
There are problems. Peter’s best bud Ned is a fantastic character, but did he have to become yet another MCU techie genius, hacking into Stark systems with ease? The big Vulture/Spidey showdown at the end is a letdown
Peter isn’t angsty – he’s the kid who’s relishing his powers
– neither visually spectacular nor emotionally engaging – while the earlier Staten Island Ferry action sequence stretches credulity too far for this movie. Thankfully,
Homecoming is a superhero film in which the action really does play second fiddle to the human, or superhuman, story. This Spider-Man truly is amazing.
Extras An enjoyable if a little light range of extras. The deleted scenes (16 minutes) contain some pleasant surprises. Alongside seven trad deleted clips, there’s also an extended version of the vlog Peter Parker makes at the start of the film (six minutes), a hilarious three-minute Midtown High News bulletin and a whole new doomed romance subplot for teacher Mr Henderson, edited into a two-minute montage. The gag reel is short but sweet (two minutes) and there’s a fun feature with Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon discussing “Pros And Cons of Spider-Man” (three minutes) in which Holland agrees with what Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man said in his second film – the costume does chafe.
The six making-of featurettes – “A Tangled Web” (six minutes), “Searching For Spider-Man” (eight minutes), “Spidey Stunts” (six minutes), “Aftermath” (five minutes), “The Vulture Takes Flight” (six minutes) and “Jon Watts: Head Of The Class” (five minutes) – are full of enthusiastic talking heads interviews and great behind-the-scenes footage, but they’re all very brief and a tad fluffy. It’s interesting to learn just how often Tom Holland (and not his double) was inside the suit doing his own stunts, but there are too many “he/she was perfect for the role/job!” soundbites and not enough real analysis of how everything came together (especially regarding the cooperation between Sony and Disney). You also get complete versions of the Captain America PSAs, and a gallery.
Principal Morita is the grandson of The First Avenger’s Howling Commando Jim Morita – also played by Kenneth Choi.
He didn’t think his new fitness class would be this hard.
Don’t leave Spider-Man in your home unattended.