Spider-Man: Homecoming (PG13)
Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr
Directed by Jon Watts
Now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the web-slinger’s new solo adventure — his sixth in 15 years and the second reboot — picks up shortly after the events in Captain America: Civil War, with Avenger-in-training Peter Parker (Tom Holland) resuming his normal high school life. But homework has to wait when he has to stop Adrian Toomes (the brilliant Michael Keaton), aka The Vulture, a black market arms dealer, from selling weapons made from alien technology.
First things first, the most exciting thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming aren’t the action sequences — not that they aren’t any good, it’s just that I’m too numb to enjoy them, especially this time of the year when every other Hollywood blockbuster ends on an explosive note. (I’m still recovering from a concussion caused by Transformers: The Last Knight — thank you, Michael Bay!)
Oh no, what’s really amazing about this Spidey flick are the parts between the action, the human moments before the desktop artisans take over with their digital arsenal. At its core, Homecoming is a John Hughes teen flick revisited with superhero elements; with Holland channelling the charm of Marty McFly (Michael J Fox’s character In Back to the Future), while Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man is his Doc Brown.
There’s an interesting dynamic created when you smash Parker’s naiveté into Stark’s cynicism. Contrary to early concerns, Stark doesn’t hijack the movie from Parker; he appears once in a while to check up on his protégé, giving him either some words of wisdom or a verbal lashing — you know, mentor duties. Delightful too is Parker’s bromantic banter with BFF-cum-sidekick Ned Leeds (newcomer Jacob Batalon).
To see a less angsty Parker having the time of his life, enjoying his superpowers, is akin to watching Ferris Bueller taking a day off in his best pal's 1961 250 GT California Ferrari. Now substitute that car with a souped-up Spider-Man suit. (***1/2)