SPI­DER-MAN: HOME­COM­ING. (M, 133 MINS) DI­RECTED BY JON WATTS

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT BUSINESS HUB -

Were you sur­prised to hear that Marvel had tapped Taika Waititi on the shoul­der to take the reins of the lat­est Thor in­stal­ment? Yeah, me too. But af­ter a bit of thought and a typ­i­cal re­viewer’s case of 20/20 hind­sight it seemed sen­si­ble with a whiff of in­evitabil­ity about it.

Marvel have a brief but proud and wildly suc­cess­ful tra­di­tion now of pick­ing direc­tors based on their abil­ity to es­tab­lish a cred­i­ble char­ac­ter out of in­cred­i­ble cir­cum­stances, and – maybe even more im­por­tantly – to tell a god­damn joke.

And by that cri­te­ria, Taika, with Ea­gle vs Shark, Boy and

Hunt For The Wilder­peo­ple on his showreel, was a prime can­di­date for Marvel as­cen­sion. For­get about the fact that he’s never made a film not set in New Zealand be­fore, let alone As­gard. By Marvel’s al­go­rithms, Taika is go­ing to do just fine.

And com­pared to Spi­der-man: Home­com­ing helmer Jon Watts, Taika is wildly over-qual­i­fied.

Watts has ex­actly two other fea­ture films on his brief CV. One is called Cop Car, and the other is called Clown.

I can’t say I saw any­thing in Cop Car that made me im­me­di­ately think Watts would be any­where within shout­ing dis­tance of the short­list of direc­tors to be handed the keys of the lat­est in­stal­ment of one of the world’s most money-print­ing-est ex­tant fran­chises. Which is what the Marvel slate cur­rently is. Nat­u­rally, I was wrong.

Watts and Marvel co-head hon­cho and cre­ative over­lord Kevin Feige have crafted a Spi­der­man re­boot for the ages. And they’ve done it by tak­ing the film back to its comic book ori­gins.

It’s set in the present day – and also in Marvel’s present, post

Civil War and years af­ter The Avengers and The Bat­tle of New York – but this Spidey is grat­i­fy­ingly true to the kid-cen­tric

Bri­tish ac­tor Tom Hol­land is a con­vinc­ingly ado­les­cent Peter Parker in Spi­der­man: Home­com­ing.

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