Over the past decade, Sony has owned the film rights to Marvel’s web-slinging superhero. But despite Spider-Man’s massive, multigenerational fan base, Sony has struggled to give the legendary character an equally legendary story on the big screen.
Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004) were the makings of a solid franchise, but then 2007’s Spider-Man 3 seemed to cast a dark spell over the superhero’s cinematic legacy. This was soon followed by the two most disastrous films featuring Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
So it turns out that the masterstroke in Spider-Man: Homecoming is taking the protagonist back to class and treating the whole thing like a high school movie. This is the third time in 15 years that they’re taking a stab at the web-slinging superhero, and after Tobey Maguire got too old to keep playing the part, and the Andrew Garfield films failed to hit the sweet spot, we’re discovering that the key to re-energize the franchise lies in two simple words: Go young.
Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up where Captain America: Civil War left off. The movie also spares us all the backstory, and takes care of the radioactive-spider-bite in a single line of dialogue. Same is the case with the death of Uncle Ben. And though we do not hear his famous speech on power and responsibility, this gives the creators much more screen time to explore the inner workings of the freshly minted 15-year-old superhero.
Since, our Spider-Man here is yet to find his purpose, in the meantime he’s busy trying to make a crime scene out of every other suspicious incident, and often gets badly scolded for the extra effort. This is a trait that is badly missed-out in superhero movies. There is absolutely no humour. Every superhero has a deeper-than-the-ocean purpose and the villains are busy devising even deeper and complex evil plans. There are hardly any light moments. No longer does superman save the neighbourhood cat. This is the trait which is filled in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the film shines with this.
Tom Holland as the teenage Spider-Man, brings goofiness to the part, which makes the character genuinely likable. In this character-driven coming-of-age comedy, director Jon Watts surrounds his leading man with an ensemble of characters who’re key to Peter’s life: his worrying Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), his nerdy best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and of course his mentor figure, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), who’s too busy to actually mentor him.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Spider-Man movie we’ve all waited for since 2004. A movie that’s fresh and entertaining, and one that marks a welcome return for a superhero we’ve all missed.
I’m going with 4½/5 for Jon Watt’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Go watch the movie while it’s still in the theatres. This might be the last movie that can afford to feature a friendly neighbourhood superhero.