<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by John Watts. Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Laura Harrier
Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes
Apart from the addition of Iron Man and Captain America, this ‘new’ Spider-Man film is pretty much the same as the previous ‘amazing’ ones with perhaps a bit more humour and irreverence courtesy the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
If anything made me hate reboots it was the torture of having to sit through how Spider-Man ‘became’ Spider-Man over and over again. It seemed like they never progressed beyond that point. And let me confess one thing: I think the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire films were actually the best ones. It just seems like it’s cool to hate them nowadays. You remember them, right? Will you remember the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films in 10 years? Probably not.
The new films take Spidey back to his teen years and that’s also something I’m not particularly fond of, simply because it’s about little kids in school and their dating problems.
Does Tom Holland make a better Spider-Man than Andrew Garfield? Certainly, especially since he looks the age where Garfield did not. What I didn’t like about Holland was his voice. That, coupled with an irritating, clichéd, token minority sidekick called Ned (Jacob Batalon), make some of the scenes in Homecoming downright annoying.
The first half of the film recaps the evens of Captain America: Civil War – thankfully skirting the ‘origin’ story completely – and Spidey’s attempts at going on a mission with the Avengers. Now that Sony and Marvel have an agreement to share their characters, Homecoming marks the return of the webslinger to the MCU and to give him a good send off, Tony Stark’s Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) plays father figure. In a way, this was also a good way for Marvel to make sure the film had a solid element that would pull in the crowds. It’s a good thing Wonder Woman didn’t need the addition of any other DC super heroes for her debut.
The bad guy in the film, The Vulture (Michael Keaton), doesn’t have any super origin story; he’s just a guy who found a business opportunity from salvaging alien technology. Because he’s not a big threat, the Avengers haven’t bothered with him in eight years, but Spidey doesn’t want elements like this in his ‘friendly neighbourhood’. That’s about it for the hero-villain story. Simple and lazy writing with lines from Keaton like: “I’ll kill you dead”, litter the film. Sure there are plenty of laugh out loud moments to distract you from the fact that the story is threadbare and lacklustre.
The so-called twist in the film is a surprise but not in a ‘shocker’ sort of way. It seems contrived and straight out of some soap opera reveal moment.
Marisa Tomei as the ‘hot’ Aunt May is totally out of place here. She adds neither wisdom nor wit to the story. There’s no spark between Holland and Laura Harrier and Zendaya as Michelle with the J at the end feels a bit odd at times, like she’s a spy or something.
Lots of cutesy moments and Robert Downey Jr. charm manage to keep the dull story afloat. Spider-Man: Homecoming is supposed to have the feel of a small super hero movie with just elements of the ‘heave lifters’ in there for support. I’m not sure if Sony will be keeping their hero to themselves for a bit more or if Spidey will become a cameo appearance in future Avengers films. With movies like Logan, Wonder Woman and Deadpool in the mix, it’s very hard to put Homecoming on a pedestal just because the film has Iron Man and some very funny cameos from Cap America (the last end credit scene is hilarious and worth the wait).