Monday, July 10, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming: Movie Review

   Let's say it right up front: I loved this movie!

   That's because Spider-Man: Homecoming gets it right.

   It gives us a Peter Parker - played perfectly by Tom Holland - who manages to be nerdy but sweet, young but not childish, and powerful but anxious to make his mark while learning his trade.

   The mistake most films (and the comic books) often make is that they present Peter as a loser. Done properly, he's a teen with typical problems. Can he work up the nerve to ask a pretty girl out on a date to the Homecoming dance? What are his career goals? How can he deal with school bullies?

   Add on top of that the challenges of being a super-hero: fighting the bad guys; keeping his identity secret; and protecting the people in his (friendly) neighborhood, all while figuring out his new powers.

   So Peter has a lot on his plate. Then he's recruited by Tony Stark (the masterful Robert Downey, Jr.) to help with the Civil War (which we see in flashback), and he's given a high-tech superhero suit in the bargain.

   The film also flashes back to the aftermath of the first Avengers movie, as a salvage crew led by Adrian Toomes (played with a perfect balance between menace and intensity by Michael Keaton) finds a more profitable use for the alien technology left behind. The comic book version of The Vulture never impressed me as being a real challenge for Spider-Man, but the film version certainly succeeds in ramping up the threat level.

   What follows is a terrific mix of action sequences, a dollop of love story, lots of humor and dozens of Easter eggs for long-time fans.

   Throughout the film, you care. You cheer for Peter as he fights overwhelming odds - and as he tries to navigate the challenges of high school. That's the perfect age for Spider-Man - as a brash young man, joyous in his amazing abilities, fighting to overcome the odds, big-hearted, heroic and very funny.

   The film includes a terrific supporting cast, including: Marisa Tomei as the hottest (and funniest) Aunt May ever; Jacob Batalon gets lots of laughs as Peter's best friend Ned; Jon Favreau is great as Tony's right-hand-man-and-Spidey-liaison Happy Hogan; Laura Harrier glows as the smart and lovely Liz; and Zendaya is a pure delight as the acerbic Michelle.

   I suppose if you worked hard at it, you could find something to pick at - but the missteps are very minor. It's loaded with surprises, great action sequences and lots of plot points for future films.

   When I saw it, the packed house laughed and cheered and ooh-ed throughout. They loved it, too!

   In a year loaded with great super-hero movies, Spider-Man has managed to nail down the best one of the year - so far!

Grade: A



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