Film review: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

So here it is, yet another Spider-Man reboot with a completely new cast, this time featuring young British actor Tom Holland in the title role. It seems there’s a global conspiracy to conscript everyone on earth into the role of Spider- Man.   Although not quite an origin story or a remake, this film Spider-Man: Homecoming is, in many ways (which this reviewer won’t spoil) a re-imagining of the classic 2002 Sam Raimi film.

Spider-Man: Homecoming follows directly from last marvel comics outing, Captain America: Civil War in which Holland’s Spiderman made his debut. He’s now been recruited as an intern with Tony Stark aka Iron Man who hopes to mentor the young web-slinger through the awkward early phase of his superhero career. Spidey’s journey to fuly-fledged superhero is thrown off kilter by typical teenage issues such as school and a crush on a classmate (Laura Harrier). Almost as distracting is a bitter conflict with resident super villain, The Vulture (Michael Keaton), who is essentially a disgruntled building contractor in a hyper-destructive yet silly-looking mechanical wing suit.

For the most part, this film is a perky, kid-friendly action-comedy where the majority of gags manage to raise a chuckle. At over two hours, though, there are inevitable flat spots and the film soon becomes repetitive. Also, some of the action is hard to follow due to extreme close-ups, choppy editing and too many scenes filmed in the dark. The effects vary in quality with some scenes remarkably realistic and others oddly clunky as if they were originally concocted in the early 1990’s.

As a character piece, Spider-Man: Homecoming works better than most Marvel offerings. Tom Holland is an energetic and likeable Peter Parker/ Spider-Man while Michael Keaton brings a menacing but also a vaguely sympathetic quality to Adrian Toomes/ Vulture. His role is also an odd case of art imitating art as Vulture recalls the character about which Keaton fantasised in the lauded Birdman. Among the supporting cast, Jacob Batalon as Parker’s portly sidekick Ned is at first funny but his stereotyped shtick wears thin. Marisa Tomei is a welcome inclusion as a younger more seductive Aunt May than the versions we’ve seen previously. Annoyingly, the great actor Bokeem Woodbine is wasted here as one of Vulture’s henchman. The film of course keeps one foot in the Avengers franchise with frequent appearances from Robert Downey Jr as Peter’s mentor Tony Stark and some amusing cameos from Captain America (Chris Evans).

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a little familiar and not quite as thrilling as the first two Sam Raimi films but it’s mostly fun and sees Holland establish himself as one of the better performers in the Avengers uber-franchise.

Nick’s rating: ***

Genre: Action/ Superhero/ Science Fiction.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Jon Watts.

Release date: 6th July 2017.

Running time: 133 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.

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