Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
Runtime: 133 min
It's the third reboot of the Spider-Man series and the sixth film starring the "web-head". However, this is the first one to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and we all know that this changes everything.
Tom Holland made his debut as Peter Parker / Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War and he now has to continue with the teenager's life by going back to his daily routine, after the events portrayed in that last movie.
With the constant thought and drive of proving himself to Tony Stark / Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jr.), he struggles to be the low-key, friendly neighborhood superhero that Tony wants him to be, but when Vulture (Michael Keaton) appears Peter needs to deal with him without putting his family and friends in danger.
One thing that I just loved from the get-go is that this movie assumes that you know Peter's backstory: the death of Uncle Ben, the whole radioactive spider thing, etc. It just starts right after the events of the epic airport battle and this is something that's new and fresh. I really didn't want or needed another origin film with the exact same sequences of the last two series.
So, is Homecoming a great movie or not really?! It's pretty good. It's not perfect, it has its flaws, but it's by far the best Spider-Man movie since the '04 second installment of Sam Raimi. The fact that the story goes in a different direction, with some different characters is definitely a plus, but it also has some familiar characters that are slightly different from the previous films or comics, which is also a plus for me IF it doesn't turn the movie into the wrong path (which it doesn't).
Tom Holland showed some of his soul and humor in a few minutes in Civil War and now he has the opportunity to actually prove what he is made of ... Oh my, how great is he?! In my opinion, he is the best on-screen Spider-Man ever! He's compelling, captivating, funny and he actually looks and acts like a teenager. There are a lot of scenes where he shines and proves that he's one of the best castings Marvel has ever achieved.
In case you're wondering, Robert Downey Jr. doesn't show up that often in the film (every movie needs its marketing scheme) and when he does show up, he's there more for the comic relief moment than for an actual story or character development scene ... Except for this one incredible character defining moment with Holland, that I think it's brilliant and it captures the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" vibe. I loved it as I love the "father-son" relationship going on between Iron-Man and Spider-Man.
The villain. If there's one thing Marvel and DC Comics keep failing at is their villains, they are always these bad guys that love to destroy things and they want to kill everyone just because it feels good or whatever ... Not Vulture, not Michael Keaton. His backstory is captivating and even emotional, we learn the struggles he's been through life and how hard he wants to protect it. The first 15 to 20 minutes of the movie's runtime are dedicated to the villain, which is a pretty uncommon method to follow, but it works brilliantly. Keaton delivers as expected and elevates his character even more with his amazing performance.
The script is great, it is smart and extremely hilarious. It also focused more on telling a Peter Parker story as a teenager instead of just expanding the MCU by throwing some badass Spider-Man action scenes and this is what Marvel struggled at the beginning with the origin stories of its heroes, but it has been pretty much solved since the first Avengers film.
There's a great twist in the transition to the third act that transforms it into a much deeper and emotional final standoff between our superhero and the villain. Also, there are two post-credits scenes, so make sure you stick to the end.
So, what bogged the movie down for me? There are a lot of tones throughout the film: there's comedy, then action, then drama, then romance ... The balance of it all isn't as smooth and fluid as it should be, which affected the movie's pacing (during the second act, it briefly becomes a little boring).
However, my main issue with the film are the under-developed secondary characters. Besides Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), who actually gets a lot of screentime, the rest of the cast are basically either stereotypical teenagers or plot devices. I know that they're not the key to a great movie neither the big focus of attention, but when they're so connected to the superhero's personality and daily routine, I think they should have been way more explored (especially when one of the characters is directly linked to the big twist).
One way to solve the previous problem would be to balance the action scenes with those needed character-development moments. The action is mostly fine, but that's it. It's fine, it's not bad, but it's not great. It is entertaining, it is visually appealing and it has its beautiful comic moments, but it's far from being awesome (for example, I don't have the need to go on to Youtubeand search for THAT amazing unforgettable scene because there isn't one ... ).
All in all, Spider-Man: Homecoming delivers a very entertaining reboot of the series and it fits perfectly into the MCU. Tom Holland is the best on-screen Spider-Man ever, Michael Keaton is brilliant as the fully-developed Vulture and the script is super smart and extremely funny. A few tone balancing issues affect the film's pacing, the side characters are under-developed and the action didn't wow me, but it didn't change the fact that I loved this movie.