HOLLYWOOD—I know I’m not the only person who was flabbergasted when Sony Pictures revealed that another, yes, a second reboot was about to transpire for the “Spider-Man” franchise they first launched in 2002. In 2012, the studio re-launched the franchise with actor Andrew Garfield that I thought was ok. It wasn’t terrible, but it looks like Sony may have finally found the perfect formula with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” with Tom Holland taking on the titular role
So what is it about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” that clicks on so many cylinders? Well for starters we finally have a Peter Parker (Holland) that actually seems like a teenager. He has that angst of dealing with high school, not being popular, and suffering from being the geeky nerd. The audience can identify with the character a bit more in my opinion, and Holland brings a level of charisma and youthful energy to the character. I can honestly argue this is the first flick in the franchise, where it feels like we get to really see the ins and outs of Peter’s life, with the exception of the whole Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Iron Man storyline courtesy of Holland’s appearance in “Captain America: Civil War.”
Yes, the writers tie in that storyline quite well, the notion that his best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon), who provides plenty of hilarity throughout the film’s narrative. With Ned knowing Peter’s secret, the duo work around the madness of prepping for the Academic Decathlon in Washington D.C., and Peter plans to do battle with The Vulture aka Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton).
Keaton is fantastic in this villainous role; he’s the everyday guy that you feel for when he loses his job without cause, and has to find a way to support his family. There is a twist in the narrative that I prefer not to reveal as it slightly throws the audience off, if you don’t expect it. The Vulture is a worthy foe for Peter Parker, who is learning to navigate his skills and newfound powers. He’s not a villain that is gifted with over the top powers; he takes what he has and elevates everyday items into dangerous weapons that make him a formidable foe.
I’ll just say The Vulture might be one of my favorite villains depicted in the entire Spider-Man franchise next to Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” If you’re not going to give the audience the entire backstory on the villain, making them personable is an effective tactic to draw the viewer. Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya and Laura Harrier round out the rest of the cast in the movie, who all have notable elements to the story. I will admit the chemistry between Holland and Harrier was slightly lacking for my taste, and I wasn’t certain if the writers were pointing at the evolution of Michelle (Zendaya) aka MJ for future installments in the franchise.
There are so many golden opportunities for fans of the comics to spot potential villains who are likely to become adversaries of Spidey in upcoming sequels depending on where the franchise goes. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which is helmed by director Jon Watts, delivers interesting characters, a fun backstory, and narrative that keeps the audience fully engaged and a hero and villain who are forced to question their end goals in life. This latest installment in the franchise is proof that with the right story life can be brought back to a franchise that many thought was dead in the water.