Synopsis : Peter Parker returns home after his thrilling experience with the Avengers. He tries to adapt to his new life. Simultaneously, there is a new threat.
Review : Spider Man : Homecoming puts the events of the past 9 years in perspective in the opening few scenes. This is the first MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) film whose protagonist has grown up in the post-Iron Man world. And while superhero films didn’t worry about the effects of their heroes and villains on normal, everyday people, last year changed all that. Beginning with the polarising Batman Vs Superman : Dawn Of Justice, films have started to take into account the fact that there are lives that are changed irrevocably because of the climactic showdowns of these superbeings. Homecoming builds on that.
When we first meet Peter Parker, it is after watching a film (documentary) made by him on his first meeting with Happy Hogan and Tony Stark. That small iMovie sequence is in itself a huge departure from comicbook movies’ norms. There, Peter is a substitute for us viewers. His excitement embodies what we feel when we come face-to-face with people we revere, or love. Imagine getting a chance to meet the Avengers actors roster. How’d you feel?
We are thankfully spared the whole Spidey origin routine because everyone knows that by heart now. Still, there is a sequence that references the spider-bite. The plus side of the sidelining of the origin is that we get a lot of time to see our hero grow into his role. As with most superheroes, he struggles with his new powers and duties. His problem is compounded, though, because he is a teenager with his own problems and he doesn’t have a father-figure, other than Tony Stark who is, well, Tony Stark. Peter wants to please and emulate him. But anyone who has watched or seen Mr. Stark knows what that could mean for our hero.
The film also gives us an antagonist who isn’t driven by a desire to end the world. Like Deadpool‘s Francis, his motive is personal, marking a necessary evolution in superhero movies that are all-too-often guilty of the same old save-the-world trope. Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture, wants the best for his family in a world that he deems to be growing unequally, with rich and powerful people like Tony Stark (him again!) on one side and poor, left-out guys like him on the other. He is prepared to wrest his destiny if the world won’t let him have it.
A good thing about this film is the emphasis on characters. Peter and Toomes are of course, multifaceted. But Aunt May and Liz, the two leading women of the movie, also get chances to shine in limited screen time. Marisa Tomei is gorgeous even at 52 and Laura Harrier is really cute in this breakout role that should ensure bigger vehicles for her in the future.
And then there is the trademark Marvel humour and banter. The exchanges between Tony and Peter, as the trailers suggested, are the funniest and a recurring source for laughs.
But not all is rosy here. The second act drags at times. I struggled to keep my attention in this part. The growing animosity between the hero and the villain could have been speeded up. There is a counterargument that the pacing helped make the film more grounded, but I found it lazy. Also, the final fight is underwhelming. For a movie that successfully bends the conventions of its genre, it didn’t quite satisfy me when I walked out as the credits rolled (that’s right. I couldn’t watch the mid- and post-credits scenes because the theatre didn’t play them!).
The performances are top-notch across the board. Tom Holland carries the title role with élan. Michael Keaton provides rich shades to his villain. Robert Downey Jr. is all class and style. Jacob Batalon as Ned, the geeky sidekick of the hero, is terrific too.
The story and screenplay parody the genre and movies in general on numerous occasions. Director Jon Watts has an assured hand here and the cinematography and visual effects are excellent too. If I have a grouse, it is that the 3D isn’t worth spending extra bucks on. You could, and should, comfortably enjoy the movie in 2D.
As far as superhero movies of 2017 go, this would slot behind Logan for me.
Verdict : Spider Man : Homecoming is the right webslinger film for the MCU. With its healthy dosage of fun and drama, it makes for a enjoyable viewing.
Viewing Guide : No nudity, cussing or gore in the film. The whole family should go to the theatres.
Genre : Superhero, Action.
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Have you watched Spider Man : Homecoming ? How do you think it is? Did this review measure up to your own appraisal? Please tell me in the comments section.
Thanks for reading.