Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first solo film for Tom Holland in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU), and it is certainly a fantastic start.
We find Peter Parker, straight after the events of Captain America: Civil War, struggling to balance his life as an ordinary high school student and his crime fighting alter-ego. He has to prove himself however when a new threat emerges (Michael Keaton’s Vulture) which throws him into uncomfortable depths as he learns more about his abilities and new suit, gifted to him by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
First off, Tom Holland is an excellent Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and my personal favourite one yet. He captures the nerdy side of the character, along with his wit and quips with excellent comic timing and delivery. His passion to impress Tony Stark, to improve, and to become an Avenger really drives his character and feels very genuine, as does his care and compassion for other people. This side of his performance adds a certain emotional weight to the film, making the jeopardy feel even more genuine.
Michael Keaton’s too is brilliant as the Vulture. He brings a real menacing aura to the character, but also a humanity. He’s a family man, and his motivations are made clear, even if he is a villainous character. He’s certainly the most fleshed out and developed villain we’ve seen in the MCU so far (perhaps despite Tom Hiddleston’s Loki), and plays a key role to the film’s sense of jeopardy.
On top of excellent character and comedic writing, writer John Francis Daley and co. have managed to create a truly unique and fresh feel to both the character. Despite this being the 6th Spider-Man centred film and the third incarnation of the character, the film’s plot, setting and themes feel very different to what we’ve seen before.
Centring on his high school life, more focus on Peter learning his skills, and adding some fresh new uses of Spider-Man’s skills and web shooters (such as web grenades) all adds to make this Spider-Man film the most creative.
The choice to go for a high school film/coming of age genre (to add to the superhero action components) is a perfect choice for the teenage character and his story. This genre combining is something Marvel has proven to be excellent at with their other films, and they’ve certainly done just as well here.
There’s not much to pick fault in with this film, however there are a few problems regarding the editing and transitions. It’s clear that a lot has been cut from the film as there are a lot of rough, jarring edits/transitions, particularly in the first act. This means some lines land awkwardly and some cuts are very strange and distracting. This doesn’t take away from the overall film, and is mainly in the first act, but it is very distracting and difficult not to spot.
In conclusion, this is the best Spider-Man film so far, and certainly the best portrayal of the character. The comedy, overall writing, characterisation, performances and establishment of the characters is absolutely excellent.
It’s one of the best MCU films to date, and certainly one of the most fun.