Genial Spidey a refreshing Marvel
world of the comic-book character.
British actor Tom Holland
( The Impossible) is a convincingly adolescent Peter Parker, finding some pleasingly dorky and awkward moments for his still high-school aged hero. We were introduced to Holland’s Spidermen/Peter Parker in Civil War, and there was maybe an expectation that Spider-man: Homecoming would see the kid in the red and blue take his place on the starting team roster.
But no. Parker is told by
Robert Downey Jr’s Ironman basically to go back to school and look after his grades and family for a while yet. Which seems like not the worst advice in the world for a kid still too unsure of himself to ask a girl on a date.
The villain of the piece is the Vulture, played, unimprovably, by Michael Keaton. He is perfect as he goes about sketching in the character’s back story as Adrian Toomes, a borderline gangster who just wants to carve himself out his own slice of the American dream and knows he’s going to have to get his hands a little dirty to do it.
Done out of a lucrative salvage business by Tony Stark’s possibly self-serving co-opting of the contract on all the left-over alien technology and weaponry after the busted Chitauri invasion that was the centre-piece of The Avengers, Toomes has a superhero-shaped chip on his shoulder and is in no mood to see his plans challenged by any lycraclad adolescent with a squeaky voice and sticky wrists. Spiderman: Homecoming progresses via a very acceptable amount of set pieces and CGI carnage.
This Spider-man spins its charm and its magic out of never stopping reminding us that Spidey – pretty much alone of the current crop of big screen superheros – was still a boy when he first became a legend. Captain America might tell us he’s just a kid-from-Brooklyn, but he was already a grown man before he donned the suit.
Peter Parker, especially as portrayed by Holland and directed by Watts, really is just a kid-from-Queens – with all the awkwardness, charm and embarrassment that implies. We get this film and we want it to win, because at its heart is a plucky, vulnerable kid who seems to be genuinely physically and emotionally in peril in a way which his elders and mentors never really are.
Spider-man: Homecoming is a throwback to a superhero age. At stake are friends, family and neighbourhoods, not entire galaxies. It’s refreshing, grounded, human and extraordinarily likeable. Bravo. – Graeme Tuckett