“What were you thinking?” says Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker (Tom Holland), after a botched encounter with bad-guy Vulture (Michael Keaton). “Stay close to the ground,” Stark says. “Can’t you just be a neighborhood-friendly Spider-Man?” Later, Parker vents frustration to BFF Ned (Jacob Batalon): “They treat me like a kid all the time, but I can handle an Avengers mission!” That’s the setup for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” latest entry in this action-flick franchise.
Will Avengers accept Spider-Man as a member? Will Peter find a date for high school homecoming? Will you be entertained? I was.
Tom Holland plays likable Peter Parker/Spider-Man in this third telling of his story: Tobey Maguire was Spider-Man in 2002, Andrew Garfield, in 2012. Holland is the most youthful and, at 21, closest to Peter’s 15 years. He’s an adolescent, unsure about everything – including who he is. Holland nails Peter’s teenage angst. As Liz (Laura Harrier), Peter’s crush, says, “Whatever’s going on with you, I hope you figure it out.” Michael Keaton is Adrian Toomes, Vulture, Spider-Man’s nemesis but, while he sells alien-technology weapons to criminals, he’s a family man. “Nothing is more important than family,” he tells Spider-Man, “but if you interfere with my business, I’ll kill you and everyone you love.”
Others in the large cast include Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Peter’s mentor, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. Playing Peter’s teen friends are Jacob Batalon and Laura Harrier, Ned and Laura. Listen for Jennifer Connelly as “Karen,” voice of Spider-Man’s new, high-tech Avenger costume, replacing his hand-made suit.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a teenage-superhero movie – and more. Directed by Jon Watts, it has the usual action sequences — Washington Monument is best – but, thanks to script by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley and others, it’s also a smart, sometimes funny, coming-of-age story. A confused adolescent, Peter learns to make “mature decisions,” as mentor Tony Stark says, and, as the story unfolds, comic moments entertain. When things go right for bad-guy Vulture, he chirps “Hot dog!” and “Bingo!” “Crappy suit,” says one of his henchmen, about Spider-Man’s ill-fitting, no-tech original costume. And it’s Peter’s dependence on the awesome Avenger Spider-Man suit (“I’m nothing without this suit!” he says) that gives us the movie’s takeaway. “If you’re nothing without it,” says Stark, “then you don’t deserve to wear it.”
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action, violence, language, and suggestive comments, “SMH” runs 133 minutes. Enjoy.
How Spidey got mighty,
His coming-of-age tale –
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” –
See it soon – without fail.