“Spider-Man: Homecoming” offers plenty of tie-ins for comic fans and solidifies Spidey’s future in the Marvel film universe. In this installment, young Peter Parker tries to prove his worth to his mentor, Tony Stark, in hopes of securing a future as an Avenger. He’s enabled in his mission by friend Ned as the two track down the black market alien-weapons dealer, The Vulture.
Fans of the comics, and all-things-Spidey, will enjoy the nods to Ned, Betty Brant, Flash, Liz, Herman Schultz, Prowler, Phineas Mason, Jim Morita, and “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Michael Keaton revitalizes the Vulture by giving viewers a deliciously wicked reboot. He’s an average Joe, blue-collar contractor who won a bid to salvage and scrap buildings after the Battle of New York. Corporate red-tape gets in the way and he’s forced to find other means to make ends meet for his family and employees. Keaton is a welcome reprieve from the cookie-cutter villains. This Vulture isn’t brooding or bloated with verbose, maniacal plans. He is a man who got screwed politically and is giving it back to The Man.
For Action Fans, Tom Holland is the third actor to play Spider-Man in 15 years (and the fifth in the 55-year history of the comic in TV or film). If you’ve seen one – in my opinion – you’ve seen them all.
Interestingly, 21-year-old Holland is the youngest actor to portray our web-slinger and fits comfortably in the role of a shy, high-school nerd. He’s clumsy, cute and has limited experience with life. He is fueled by his passion to stop troublemakers but has some issues when it comes to identifying the culprits. These traits lead to realistically humorous moments and the urge to root for this kid to get it right. Marvel doesn’t skimp on action and there are new technologies to enjoy like “Training-Wheels mode,” web grenades, taser webs and “suit-lady.”
Family Audiences will enjoy that “Homecoming” is teeming with diversity. Ned, Flash, Michelle and Liz are nestled perfectly into their roles and bring a mature balance, which exceeds their years. Ned (Jacob Batalon) is the affable bestie who keeps his friend’s secret but is brimming with excitement while trying to remain incognito. Flash (Tony Revolori), is less a bully and more a coddled jerk. Michelle (Zendaya) drops side-splitting one-liners that will leave viewers in anticipation of her next appearance. Liz (Laura Harrier) completes the cast as Parker’s high school crush. Unlike damsels of old, she doesn’t need to be rescued, she doesn’t pity him and she’s not smitten. When Parker disappears one too many times, Liz puts her attention back in her education: She has an academic decathlon to win. #GirlPower.
Of course, appearances by Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. are rich with veteran banter and mockery. Even with the excessively long run-time, “Homecoming” will not disappoint and even the most jaded viewer will find a reason to smile.
Spidey Fans: 4 out of 4 Miners
Action Fans: 4 out of 4 Miners
Family Audiences: 3 out of 4 Miners