In this age where today’s moviegoing audiences roll their collective eyes over the sequels and remakes that now so frequently populate cineplexes across the country, it’s inescapable that the “Spider-Man” franchise is not brought up as one of Hollywood’s biggest re-boot offenders, having wrapped the previous take with Andrew Garfield in the title role only three short years ago.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the latest installment in the Marvel franchise, but thankfully, comes with a fresh new spin (pun intended).
Stepping into the web-slinger’s new spandex – or rather, new suit that’s as tech-filled and tricked out as Iron-Man’s (the new suit being a present from Stark Industries) – is the young Tom Holland, the next British import to play the spider-bitten superhero following his predecessor Garfield. The young Holland, with his smaller-than-most build, lends pitch-perfect casting to the role, bringing a constantly-amazed, mouth-agape enthusiasm to this Peter Parker. Parker continues to count down the hours in the school day until he can begin his “internship” with Stark Industries and put on the Spidey suit and swing around the city, stopping petty thefts and burglaries, as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. This barely satiates his desire to fight real crime and super-villains (a desire that would give the Avengers a run for their money).
The millennial-set movie fits perfectly into the millennial-aged mindset of kids today, as the movie’s high-school students refer to Spider-Man as “the Spider-Man from YouTube.”
What makes “Homecoming” a winning outing is, apart from all of the fight scenes, how the movie portrays our super-hero as a regular old high-schooler, which director Jon Watts (“Cop Car”) – and five other credited screenwriters of the film – tap into so well and get so hilariously spot on from start to finish. Exposing Peter’s nerdy sophomore existence, Watts and company perfectly portray Spider-Man experiencing all of young-adolescent life, getting teased by the likes of bully Flash (Tony Revolori), navigating flirtatious chemistry with school-mate Michelle (Zendaya), and hanging out with pudgy pal and best friend (and the movie’s funniest character) Ned, (Jacob Batalon). And it’s Ned who helps Peter build a thousand-piece Lego Death Star while the two dream of becoming popular and catching the eyes of certain classmates. All of these things are as important to Peter as tracking down the Vulture (Michael Keaton), the city’s new supervillain who attempts to gain power by stealing new Stark Industries technology to develop other worldly weapons for the black-market.
Watts is also credited for casting a diverse group of high-schoolers who more accurately resemble the multi-ethnic swath of today’s kids, in roles that tap into the anxieties and pressures of young adult life. The millennial-set movie fits perfectly into the millennial-aged mindset of kids today, as the movie’s high-school students refer to Spider-Man as “the Spider-Man from YouTube.” While this formula makes for a winning outing, this reviewer is curious to see how far Peter will be stretched as the character matures through high-school and how these light hearted years will be managed and dealt with in future sequels as the stakes get higher. But for now, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” stands as one of Marvel’s most recent successes and one of this year’s most entertaining big-screen events.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language, and brief suggestive comments. 133 minutes. Now playing in theaters everywhere.