After the events of Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is eager to prove himself to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and join the Avengers as a fully-fledged member. But Parker has to balance his ambitions with the realities of his daily life as a teenager in high school. However, when he tries to take down a gang of arms dealers led by a dangerous criminal (Michael Keaton), he gets more than he bargained for...
t's been said many times, but it holds true - comic-book movies work off genres. The Dark Knight's a crime saga ala Michael Mann, The Winter Solider was a '70s conspiracy thriller, and Spider-Man: Homecoming works off the blueprints of a teenage comedy-drama. Utilising teenage drama, of course, is nothing new for Spider-Man. However, where the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man failed was that it essentially turned it into Twilight. Here, it's more closer to John Hughes' Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and has the same carefree and light comedy.
om Holland was introduced in Civil War as the webslinger in a brilliant cameo that acted as a sort of respite from all the heavy drama lacing the film. He injected some much needed mirth, and the fear was that Spider-Man's youth and cheeriness mightn't work in the context of a larger story. It could either become diluted to the point where he's a nothing character, or it could be overused and become saccharine and unconvincing. Thankfully, this isn't the case and the character's vigour and enthusiasm carries over and informs the story. Spider-Man is like any other teenager; he's desperate to prove himself and be taken seriously, and thus makes him relatable to audiences. We've all been there at that age, trying to convince adults and peers that we are who we believe ourselves to be. Holland captures this, but doesn't overplay the hand and turn it into a stroppy teenager the way Maguire and Garfield did. His relentless optimism carries him along, and the film never sags because of it.
espite having six credited writers on staff, the film doesn't feel cluttered or uneven and has a clear through-line that moves it along. While it may be somewhat front-loaded in terms of action in the first hour or so, the film never sags or loses your attention throughout. Director Jon Watts cleverly dispenses with exposition and world-building in a scene or two, keeping the pace light and breezy like Spider-Man himself. The few nods and winks to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe are dropped in lightly; Captain America appearing on TV screens as a PSA narrator ala Troy McClure, Tony Stark only getting involved when the stakes get too high for Parker to handle, the Avengers being some sort of higher goal for him to attain. Instead, what Watts captures so well is the boundless optimism of the teenage years with warmth and humour in the way that John Hughes did.
verall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a bright, fun-filled comic-book blockbuster that has a big future ahead of it.