Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Laura Harrier, Jacob Batalon, Kenneth Choi, Tyne Daly, Gwyneth Paltrow. Directed by Jon Watts.
The hype is deserved. Spider-Man: Homecoming does highlight Peter Parker’s teenaged immaturity, and it does play out like an 80s teen movie with songs by The English Beat and A Flock of Seagulls. Its star, Tom Holland, even has a young Michael J. Fox thing going on and there’s a scene (with a meta video clip) that pays tribute to Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.
And yeah, it’s somehow even fresher a breath of air than The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield seemed when it hit theaters just five years ago. I wrote that Garfield’s swinging through the city seemed more fun than I’d seen it before, and somehow Tom Holland’s seems even more fun than that. Perhaps I’m suffering from a long-running recency bias, because Emma Stone seemed a more heartbreaking love interest than Kirsten Dunst, and Spidey’s new crush, played by Laura Harrier, is even more heartbreaking than Stone.
If that’s the case, I cannot be the only one. This movie is fun, and it’s funny, and Spidey has a new sidekick named Ned, who’s played by a Filipino American actor from my homestate of Hawaii, and that’s pretty cool too.
The villain is the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton in kind of a fascinatingly crude costume that’s sneaky agile. Keaton is a fine villain, and good performances by charismatic supporting actors boost the overall quality of the film to a level consistent with the other titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most notable are Marisa Tomei as a hot Aunt May, Martin Starr as the academic decathlon coach, and Zendaya as a quirky classmate. I don’t know how long he can keep saving movies, but Robert Downey, Jr. holds this one together in a supporting, but almost always spiritually present role as Peter’s mentor. It’s almost unfair, the way he’s really the steadying influence. It leads one to wonder if Holland has what it takes to carry a movie himself.
Thank goodness we’re spared the origin story in this one, although the movie does run long at two hours and thirteen minutes. I could have done with shorter action sequences, especially the climactic showdown with the Vulture. May I also be among the first to say enough already with the Stan Lee cameos? Enough!
A fun movie, almost a tonal, thematic opposite to the other huge summer superhero movie I also enjoyed, Wonder Woman.