Spider-Man: Homecoming is a welcome return

Sony and Marvel Studios have teamed up to bring us the latest Spider-Man incarnation, who is now part of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) yay! But does their collaboration swing seamlessly or send our hero hurtling towards the ground?

Spider-Man: Homecoming wastes no time with origin or overindulgent backstories and dives straight into the meat of the story. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a salvage company owner who is driven out of business when Tony Stark’s newly formed Damage Control Department swoop in and take over the clean up of the aftermath of the Chitauri battle from the first Avengers movie. Subsequently, Toomes decides to take his operation underground. Skip forward 8 years, Toomes is running alien tech and weapons on the black market, as classic Spidey villain Vulture.

After a little reminder via a video diary, Spidey’s story picks up directly after the events of Civil War. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is trying to balance his school and Spidey life while he waits for Tony Stark to come a knockin’ again. In the meantime, Peter needs to prove himself as a hero. As far as romance goes, it was pleasing to see high school crush Liz (Laura Harrier) is a suitably balanced hot nerd rather than the usual ‘out of his league’ type.

Tom Holland plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man with such innocence that you really get to know and love both sides of his character; the nerdy shy teenager with all the angst of a normal kid and the pure of heart hero. Michael Keaton again plays a ‘winged freak’ brilliantly (as he did in Batman and Birdman) and conveys his villain with depth and intensity. I felt both sympathy and disdain for the Vulture who will no doubt go down as one of the more memorable MCU villains. Jacob Batalon, playing Peter’s best friend Ned, delivers a fun performance providing quite a few laughs as our high school hero’s sidekick. Donald Glover appears all so briefly, but shows us just what a great talent he is, maybe there are plans for his character in future MCU films?

For those who have watched the trailer and feared that it looked like Iron Man 4, don’t fret, Tony Stark doesn’t overstay his welcome. The film has changed a few characters from the comics that purists may freak out about but I feel these changes work well and some are beautifully subtle. The score by Michael Giacchino is good but still can’t beat Danny Elfman’s score from Sam rami’s 2002 Spider-Man

What surprised me the most about this movie was the third act which can so often let a film down, but somehow ‘Homecoming’ goes up a gear with a great use of tension that is worked brilliantly into the story. Don’t forget to stick around as there are two post credit scenes including one that is my favourite so far in the MCU.

Spider-Man : Homecoming is a brilliant homage to classic 80’s high school comedies. Tom Holland embodies the spirit of Peter Parker in this action-packed caper with lots of Spidey doing Spidey stuff. Tom Watts directs this high school John Hughes-esque superhero film beautifully balancing the comedy and action.

Reviewed by Ian Wright

4.5 stars