Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
Spider-Man, in his many comic book and movie appearances, is easily the most recognizable hero on the planet. He gives kids the spunk to go out and wreak havoc in their backyards, drive their parents crazy and can inspire a generation. Spider-Man did that for me when I was younger, and I remember waiting in line, oh so gleefully, anticipating the opening credits of Marvel's most bankable star. The first two Spidey's did the job they set out too, and the third stumbled….hard. And so, Sony did what they thought was best for the web-slinging comrade, they rebooted him and thus "The Amazing Spider-Man" was born. But those films, too, could not find the right cinematic footing. What was Sony to do with their most lucrative franchise? And with the whole world watching, I didn't think we had a prayer of ever seeing a semi-decent Spider-Man film again. I thought wrong.
In case you have been living under a rock, last summer Spidey was given the green light to cross over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and it's the best thing Sony could have ever done. Not only is "Spider-Man: Homecoming" arguably the best Spidey movie in existence, it's also one of the best superhero movies period.
Without forcing the classic origin story that, literally, everyone knows, director Jon Watts along with a handful of colorful writers, opted out of that route, for a more John Hughes-Esq "teenager" romp, that just happens to feature the web crawler. Tom Holland brings so much life to Peter Parker, the 15-year-old wannabe Avenger that faces normal everyday occurrences. He has a curfew, homework and is scared to ask the girl he likes to the big homecoming dance. All of this fills the voids of a Peter Parker backstory we all know and instead lets us hang with Parker and his friends. "Homecoming" pays homage to the earlier days of "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and the soundtrack should help transport you back to that decade.
Seeing how Spidey is in the Marvel universe now, that means Robert Downey Jr can pop in as Tony Stark (the aiding mentor to our beloved pal) and we get fun cameos from Captain America (Chris Evans) too. Stark plays a crucial role in the evolution of Parker's capabilities and even makes his head of security, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) his guardian. The banter of which is quite humorous.
While Holland is a terrific addition to the Marvel canon, and his charm, timing, and energy make for a blast of fresh air. Don't shy too far away from his nemesis, subtitled "The Vulture" played by Michael Keaton, and it's in these scenes where the script puts us into submission. I don't want to go to much into his background as to avoid spoilers, but some of the best dialogue is saved for him and one scene, in particular, had me pinned to the edge of my seat (trust me, when you see it, you will know what I'm talking about). It's easily the best staging of a scene I've seen all year and Watts pulls it off so effortlessly, you forget it's a Marvel movie.
The entire cast is rounded out by fresh faces, Parker's friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) or "the man in the chair" steals big laughs as the lovable sidekick companion and others, like Downey Jr, seem to be in perfect placement. (Jennifer Connelly adds her voice to Spidey's suit, parallel to Iron Man's J.A.R.V.I.S and it's good fun). Sure, "Homecoming" has all the Marvel qualities we come to expect in a film as such, with an action sequence on top of the Washington Memorial which could rival the studio's most creative works. Yet, "Homecoming" nails the character of Spider-Man right on the head as a quirky, goofy, teenager with big ambitions. And finally, our favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is right back where he belongs. A-