Review: Spider-Man Homecoming sees the webslinger given a youthful makeover

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck Zlotnick

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck Zlotnick - Credit: Archant

Jon Watts' reboot of the Marvel Comics superhero - the third iteration in 15 years - spins a web of rites-of-passage drama, buddy comedy and welcome low-key spectacle.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck Zlotnick

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck Zlotnick - Credit: Archant

Spider-Man: Homecoming (12A)

***

Homecoming is a damn strange word to find post colon in a superhero movie title. What next? Captain America: Spring Break? Thor: Harvest Festival?

Homecoming is indicative of two essential elements of the film. Firstly, that this is a proper teenage, high school Spider-Man. Our new webslinger Tom Holland, and all his little school friends, genuinely look like they are in their mid-teens.

Jacob Batalon as Ned and Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck

Jacob Batalon as Ned and Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Picture: CTMG/Chuck Zlotnick - Credit: Archant


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This could be a much slicker and bigger budgeted version of the kind of American teen dramas that Nickelodeon turn out. There isn't the Grease factor of having actors who are in their late twenties pretending to worry about growth spurts and acne.

More importantly, it marks out that the character is being brought into the Marvel fold. The opening shot announces this as a Sony film, but it is Sony in name only. It's clear that the Marvel machine is doing all the work and making all the decisions, and that the people behind The Amazing Spider-Man films have had their hands very gently eased off of the levers of power.

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This first full film for the third different Spider-Man in a decade and a half, is a spin off from the last Captain America film where he was first introduced.

The great relief is we don't have to go through the radioactive spider bite again. The only hint of an origins yarn we get is a quick whip through the events in Civil War.

The story though is all about his first faltering steps as a super hero, his awkward auditioning to be a member of the Avengers and acceptance in the adult world. He's a small timer, a peripheral figure in the bigger superhero world.

This smaller scale really works for the movie. It's great to have a film where the city/world/galaxy isn't at stake at the finale.

His baddy (Michael Keaton) is a once decent working man just trying to get by. Against that, you can't help but notice that the way the character's actions are visualised hasn't advanced that much since the first Sam Raimi film in 2002. The action sequences here are comparatively mundane but the film works because it has great humour and strong characterisations.

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