Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Sixteen years after the release of the original Spider-Man starring the now-iconic performance of Tobey Maguire, comes the third reboot of the franchise. Coming off after a critical disaster with many critics bashing the film for its incoherent tones and abrupt lack of relevance to its own story, the prayers of fans have been answered all over the world as Marvel Studios took helm of the project with Sony Pictures being pushed into a distributing role. While some were uneasy of the choice at first, there is no denying just how successful this first film from the Marvel Studios-Sony partnership is. Blending creativity, smartly written dialogue, and a sheer glee in every scene, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an action-packed, riveting experience that proves to easily be one of the best films that Marvel Studios has ever put out.
Unlike many recent films released in the summer of 2018, the screenplay of Spider-Man: Homecoming is brilliant. It has some of the best written dialogue out of the entire genre, much less the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. The jokes are fluid and the dramatic moments never feel cheesy or off-handed and are all ultimately well placed throughout the film. Unlike Marvel films like Ant-Man and the Wasp which tries too hard to be funny and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk which does the exact polar opposite, Homecoming strikes a careful balance in each scene that provides the audience with a rather stylish and charming pace. It’s an impressive feat, considering the rather childish approach to the film.
Spider-Man: Homecoming unlike every other film before it, starring the famous Web-slinger, succeeds large in part due to the execution of the tone and atmosphere. The film truly feels like a high-school film and has a mild glee to it that it is both endearing and effective. Every scene in high school with the charming Tom Holland as Peter Parker and likable Jacob Batalon as Ned proves to be the best, even topping some of the spectacular action sequences in the film involving Michael Keaton as the Vulture.
In addition, the roster of characters present are all excellent to boot. Tom Holland, coming after a spectacular debut in Captain America: Civil War, continues to have a stride of likability and charm that easily makes him the best on-screen incarnation of the character. He solidifies him as one of the leading highlights of the new age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and single-handedly propels the film to new heights. Jacob Batalon, as mentioned before, is likeable as the brainy nerd Ned and the chemistry he shares with Holland is both memorable and entertaining. Placed in supporting roles, Zendaya as Michelle, Laura Harrier as Liz, and Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, all prove to be worthy choices for their parts, even if their screen time and performances are somewhat muted. The same could be said for leading highlight actors, Donald Glover and Robert Downey Jr. Glover is charismatic in his role and reveals an easter egg that will send hardcore fans ballistic and Downey continues to refine the father-son relationship that was mildly introduced in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. None of these two actors’ roles is particularly large and both could have been removed from the film without any real detriment to the quality.
Finally, there is villain Michael Keaton as the Vulture. Even in 2018, with the arrival of Josh Brolin’s Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Keaton still holds up as one of the best villains in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. More than any other villain in the franchise, including Thanos, Keaton’s character’s motivations and goals are clear right from the start. It even leads to a scene during the third act which sent me into a rather confusing moral state, a feeling that no other villain in the comic-book film genre has provided. He is both intimidating and relatable as he never once is overshadowed by the rather ludicrous idea of his character. In addition, the chemistry he shares with lead star Tom Holland is enjoyable, even if it isn’t used to its greatest extent.
As a whole, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming is a stunning reform of the iconic character that lovingly takes everything about his world and justifies it on the big screen. It has an excellent screenplay, featuring snappy dialogue and a well-rounded pacing, balancing an even mixture of humor and dramatic moments. It has a roster of performances from Holland to Keaton that are easily some of the best in the respective actor’s careers. It has stunning visual effects and action sequences that both impressive and thrill on every imaginable level. Due to these reasons and so many others, it is simply undeniable that Spider-Man: Homecoming is more than just a great film…it is the best Spider-Man incarnation ever to be put in cinemas.
Score: 9.0 out of 10