Movie review: You’ll enjoy being caught up in the web of the new ‘Spider-Man’
There’ve already been a number of big screen Supermen, and a few Batmen, so no one should have a problem dealing with a third Spider-Man re-jumpstarting this franchise. Nothing can or should be taken away from Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield, the previous two fellows to don the Spidey suit, but British actor Tom Holland, who first played an extended cameo of him in “Captain America: Civil War,” now brings a whole new sense of fun and wonder to the role, as well as a blast of exuberant energy.
In a prologue to “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” hard-working demolition foreman Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is overseeing a crew that’s cleaning up huge mess that, it’s hinted, was caused by some kind of alien attack. Government agents appear, tell Toomes and his men to scram, and they do, but not before taking some of the definitely other-worldly spoils of the battle with them.
The short version: Toomes is inventing and selling weapons that nothing on Earth can withstand to lots of nasty guys. He also eventually makes use of the weird technology to build himself a spectacular flying suit, turning himself into something he calls The Vulture.
Then it’s on to a scribbly set of credits that introduce “a film by Peter Parker,” pretty much a collection of shaky-cam clips that show the huge battle Spider-Man took part in in that previous Captain America film, all shot from Spidey/Parker’s viewpoint, jumping and fighting and having the time of his life.
The end of that segment is where this new film’s story really begins, with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his loyal assistant Happy (Jon Favreau) dropping Peter off at home in Queens with not much more than an “I’ll call you.”
A couple of months go by, and Peter feels stuck back in the rut of normal everyday life. He’s a very bright sophomore attending the Midtown School of Science and Technology, sharing an apartment with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), hanging out with his one friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and pining after a senior, the lovely Liz (Laura Harrier). But there’s also his nightlife, which consists of putting on the blue and red suit, swinging through New York, catching bad guys, and showing off to an adoring public. A nice touch, that shoots the energy level up even higher, is the accompaniment of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” to the goings-on.
Complications develop early on, as does the trademark appearance by Stan Lee, this time at the 17-minute mark, when he shouts at Spidey, “Don’t make me come down there, you punk!” But he’s the least of our hero’s worries. There are some masked men robbing an ATM with a very strange weapon (one they just might have gotten from a Mr. Toomes); his goofy pal Ned stumbles upon his secret identity, and is sworn to secrecy, but comically can’t shut up about it; Peter is just short of obsessed with Liz, then finds out that she has a sort of crush on Spider-Man; and Happy won’t return any of his calls about “when is my next mission?”
Six different writers are credited with the screenplay, which is usually a sign of unfocused mayhem in a movie. But though this script goes in a lot of directions, it always keeps two characters firmly in focus: Peter Parker and Adrian Toomes (and, of course, their alter egos). Peter wants nothing more than to become an Avenger, after that brief taste of being one in the previous film. But Tony Stark doesn’t think he’s mature enough to do it without getting killed. The Vulture is a bad guy arms dealer who does it to support his family, as he’s a loving husband and father. But he also happens to be a psychotic killer. Both Holland and Keaton play the parts magnificently, and their brief verbal exchanges are some of the best parts of the film. Another is the revelation of just what the Spidey suit — designed by Tony Stark — can do (taser webs, anyone?), and yet another is the great ending, and the ending after that, and ... nope, don’t leave yet ... the one after THAT.
— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now.
Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers; directed by Jon Watts
With Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier