Marvel welcomes webslinger home with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”


Tom Holland stars in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the first “Spider-Man” film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Courtesy Photo of MOVIESTILLDATABASE). Buy Photos

Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters.

This makes it somewhat ironic that disputes between Disney and Sony have kept him from joining his brethren in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Luckily, they reached an agreement that allowed a youthful Spider-Man to steal scenes in “Captain America: Civil War” and be the star of this spectacular new film.

As a whole, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” captures specific contours of Spider-Man’s personality that not even Sam Raimi’s films did.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” takes place shortly after the events of the last Captain America film as Peter Parker tries to balance school with crime-fighting. And while high school and a coveted internship with Stark Industries pose their own problems, the stakes get higher when Parker tries to take down a supervillain known as The Vulture.

Like its titular hero, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a film with hybrid DNA. It draws on great classic films about teenagers, particularly the emotion and wit that flowed through the films of John Hughes, but it also has traces of “The 400 Blows,” particularly in a shot from Parker’s point of view as he ignores Aunt May.

This film’s depiction of Spider-Man is another one of its strengths. Tom Holland is excellent as Peter Parker. He is enthusiastic and delivers a nuanced take on Parker’s dilemmas, and he feels like someone you would know. He’s much younger and funnier than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of the character. This feels truer to how the original writers for Spider-Man portrayed him in the comics. .

The rest of the cast of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is excellent as well. Michael Keaton is a fantastic villain as The Vulture. Jacob Batalon and Zendaya are hilarious as Parker’s friends Ned and Michelle. Robert Downey, Jr. shows up to remind you why his performance as Tony Stark is so reliably entertaining.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” also has a great interest in the street level of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Its villains aren’t aliens or gods but humans who are struggling financially.

This eye for realism and attention to the humanity of every character is reminiscent of Will Eisner’s groundbreaking work on “The Spirit.”

This film has a few flaws. Laura Harrier is charming as Parker’s love interest Liz, but her part is underwritten. One sequence of Spider-Man at the Washington Monument is a little long.

But minor misfires aside, this movie will leave you excited for its recently announced sequel, as well as make you binge read a bunch of Spider-Man comics.

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