Su­per Spidey is back to his best

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reviews -

Just five years on from the pop cul­ture phe­nom­e­non’s first cine­matic re­boot in The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man, the web­slinger re­turns with an­other Brit – Tom Hol­land – un­der the mask.

Yes, the Lon­doner popped up in scen­esteal­ing form in last year’s Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, but this is his first solo ad­ven­ture as the char­ac­ter fully in­te­grates him­self into the Mar­vel Cine­matic Uni­verse fol­low­ing a deal be­tween the comic book gi­ants and Sony, whose planned Amaz­ing se­ries came to an abrupt halt with flaw-filled film num­ber two.

Thank­fully Home­com­ing isn’t just a re­turn to form for Spidey, it’s on a par with his pre­vi­ous finest big screen out­ing – 2004’s Spi­der-Man 2.

But while the de­bate over which block­buster is bet­ter could eas­ily fall on ei­ther side of the fence, there’s lit­tle doubt in my mind that Hol­land can now lay claim to be­ing the best cine­matic Spi­der-Man – and Peter Parker.

His ex­citable, charm­ing and, at times, im­ma­ture lead is the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of twitchy teen – Hol­land be­ly­ing the fact he’s ac­tu­ally 21 – and wannabe su­per­hero, whether un­der­go­ing an un­flat­ter­ing cos­tume change, car­ry­ing out mun­dane tasks or soar­ing through the skies to save the day.

He’s aided by a stun­ning screen­play – cre­ated by a six-strong writ­ing crew – that spares us a third take on Spidey’s ori­gin story and plants Peter back in high school.

Di­rec­tor Jon Watts (Cop Car) quoted the John Hughes come­dies of the eight­ies as an in­spi­ra­tion for the school-set drama and ban­ter and it’s easy to see the com­par­i­son as, from Peter’s buddy Ned (Ja­cob Bat­alon) and ec­cen­tric class­mate Michelle (Zen­daya) to the ob­ject of his af­fec­tions, Liz (Laura Har­rier), there are enough laughs and awk­ward and ten­der mo­ments to fill a non-comic book movie teen com­ing-of-age tale.

This is a Spi­der-Man that has to deal with aca­demic de­cathlons and home­com­ing dances as much as butting heads with the lat­est bad­die in town.

And what a vil­lain Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes – aka winged men­ace Vul­ture – makes. The for­mer Bat­man is manic and foul­tem­pered, but with very grounded, self­less mo­ti­va­tions in what is Mar­vel’s best non-Loki cine­matic an­tag­o­nist to date.

The Vul­ture-Spidey smack­downs thrill as they take to the air, but the apex of their face­offs is a ter­rific awk­ward, tense car ride.

Watts’ dizzying cam­era work adds scale and peril to an im­pres­sive Washington Mon­u­ment se­quence and a crack­ing Staten Is­land ferry con­fronta­tion shares sim­i­lar­i­ties to Spi­der-Man 2’s stand­out run­away train set-piece.

Throw in a thank­fully not overused Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) in a straight-talk­ing fa­ther­fig­ure role, a wel­come re­turn for Jon Favreau’s Happy Ho­gan and nods and winks to pre­vi­ous Spidey films and car­toons, and you’ll Mar­vel at how fresh a third big screen web-head in 15 years can be.

Tun­nel vi­sionTom Hol­land’s web­slinger gets set for hero­ics

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