Thursday, July 13, 2017

Movie Review: "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017)

Director: Jon Watts
Year: 2017
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes

Peter Parker tries to fully prove himself to his mentor Tony Stark by fighting crime on the streets of New York as Spider-Man. His attempt to bring down a high-tech illegal weapons manufacturer may wind up being more than he can handle, especially when he has to balance his evenings of crime fighting with his school work.

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" is directed by Jon Watts, who is known for directing the indie films "Clown" and "Cop Car." This is yet another reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, only this time, Sony and Disney came to a deal to put Spidey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This version of Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, was introduced in "Captain America: Civil War." "Homecoming" picks up a short time after the events of that film. Peter is allowed to keep the suit Tony Stark made for him, much to his shock. Parker begins to use it in order to practice his crime fighting skills in Queens. However, his suit has been made with several restrictive modes, and Parker is also under the constant watchful eye of Stark and Happy, played by Jon Favreau, though they usually can't be bothered with Parker's minute problems. One night while trying to stop an ATM robbery, Spider-Man discovers a group of criminals using high-tech weaponry to pull off the heist. He wants to find the source of these weapons but may be in over his head when he has to face off against the leader of this illegal weapons manufacturing ring, Adrian Toomes, played by the incomparable Michael Keaton. All of this happens while Peter is just trying to live a normal high school life and dealing with everything that comes with being a teenager.

We have been excited to see this movie ever since Tom Holland's version of Spidey popped up in "Captain America: Civil War." He was great for the few minutes he was on screen, we just hoped Holland would be able to carry that presence through an entire feature-length movie. We can now say with great delight that he is most certainly able to do so.

Holland emulates the character of Spider-Man perfectly. He is funny and is able to portray the wide-eyed wonderment a kid with newfound superpowers may have upon learning his abilities. On the flip side, he is still capable of kicking major ass and getting serious when he needs to be serious. The supporting cast in fantastic as well. Jacob Batalon, who plays Peter Parker's best friend Ned, is absolutely hilarious and has stellar comedic timing. He acts as a sidekick of sorts to Parker when he gets in a jam. Batalon is extremely likable and is so charismatic that he even eclipses Tom Holland in some instances. Batalon is a true standout here, and his character gets even better once he discovers his best friend is Spider-Man. Zendaya doesn't get much to do in this movie, but she brings a great presence to the screen as Michelle, even when she's being brooding and awkward. We hope she makes it back for the inevitable sequel. Finally, Michael Keaton makes a tremendous villain. He always has a commanding on-screen presence and the role he plays here is no exception. Adrian Toomes is an extremely well-developed villain with motivations the audience can easily understand. He is a blue collar villain and was simply working a normal job as a salvager until his company lost its government contract. Now, Toomes is just trying to make a living in order to take care of his family. Sure, what he is doing is a liiiiittle bit less than legal, but at least we understand his motives, which has been a chief complaint about Marvel movies since the beginning.

In many ways, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is a coming-of-age story as Peter Parker tries to mature as both an individual and as a superhero. It is a really engaging story. When it was all over, our faces hurt from smiling so much. It's that enjoyable. This movie is a great addition to the MCU and is a wonderful film in its own right as well. We are so incredibly happy this didn't wind up being another Spider-Man origin story because everyone already knows that tale by now. We are thrilled for Tom Holland and everyone involved in this project because they have made one truly kick ass film.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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