Spider-Man: Homecoming ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I admit, I had almost negative interest in Spiderman: Homecoming prior to it's release; I was never a big fan of the overly campy Sam Raimi trilogy (2 was the only one I really liked), I avoided the first Amazing Spiderman out of apathy for another origin story so soon, and everything I heard about Amazing 2 made me (and a lot of other people) stay far, far away. Fortunately, that film's failure had a silver lining, as it lead Sony to share the character's film rights back with Marvel in order to steer the franchise back on course, leading to the release of the Homecoming you see before you.

Its title obviously refers to the fact that, despite playing a supporting role in 2016's strong Captain America: Civil War, this is the webbed one's very first solo film within the "Marvel Cinematic Universe", but, of course, despite the MCU never even coming close to releasing a bomb in 9 years and a whopping fifteen film's, that alone didn't guarantee the success of Homecoming, since I was never the biggest MCU fan (heck, I (I didn't even like the first Avengers). However, despite my inconsistent relationship with both the previous Spidermans and the Marvel films, and an overall fatigue with the superhero movies that have been dominating Hollywood in the decade & a half since the original film's release, director Jon Watts still managed to deliver a rather fresh and entertaining new start for your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman here, proving that you can teach an old spider new tricks... or something.

After a flashback to the backstory of the film's antagonist (Michael Keaton's The Vulture) and an amusing little recap of Spidey's involvement in the events of Civil War (done from the novel angle of Peter Parker filming Instagram-style selfie vids), the (Iron) man himself Tony Stark drops Peter back off in his home swinging grounds of Queens, with a shiny new suit, and an exhortation to just be a "friendly neighborhood Spiderman" for the time being, and not try to bite off more than he can chew.

And refreshingly, both Peter and the film itself manages to do just that for the 1st half, "grounding" him in, well, his local neighborhood, showing Peter struggling to balance the duties of being just another high schooler who has to worry about studying, bullies, and how the girl of his dreams feels about him, alongside his "extracurricular activity" of being Spiderman after class, lifting up an entire row of lockers to access his stash of web fluid and webbing his backpacks up behind dumpsters (which still doesn't prevent them from getting stolen) as he apprehends petty bike thieves, use his plentiful downtime to send multiple, unresponded-to texts to Tony's assistant in the hope of being let inside the Avengers loop, and just generally try prove his worth as a hero to the (sometimes justifably) not-always appreciative locals.

And, instead of every action scenes here constantly taking place high up amongst the skyscrapers and cityscape that define Spiderman's hometown, Homecoming balances sort of the large-scale setpieces you've come to expect from Spiderman (such as him using his webs to steer a massive, crashing cargo plane, attempting to hold together the Staten Island Ferry as it splits in half, and a truly "spectacular" scene set all the while on top of a crumbling Washington Monument) alongside action beats set in far more domesticated, mundane locations, such as a robbery inside a small local ATM, a Ferris Buller-style chase in a sleepy residential neighborhood (a cinematic similarity the film itself acknowledges in an amusing little aside), and a fight that takes place on the bus parking lot of the local school while the film's titular 80's themed homecoming dance goes on inside, unaware of the chaos occuring outside.

It is this dichtomy, this contrast between Spiderman's larger, more typical superheroics and the unexpected, down-to-Earth relatablity of Peter's dilemmas, both in and out of the costume, that ultimately makes Homecoming successful, and a relative breath of fresh air in an overdone, incredibly overcrowded genre. Don't get me wrong, as this isn't a perfectly film or anything; at times, it overrelies on using its connections to the larger MCU as a story crutch, some of the characterizations were lacking (such as Peter's incredibly cliched, one-dimensional school bully, or Zendaya's annoyingly "ironic", pointlessly off-putting MJ), and the overall film can't help but help but have a general air of familiarity if you've seen any number of modern superhero movies, but despite all that, Spiderman: Homecoming was still a fun, entertaining time at the local cinema, and one I wouldn't hesitate from recommending you swing on in to check out.

Final Score: 8