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Film Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man: Homecoming is an excellent reboot of the franchise that's full of fun, colourful characters, and exciting scenarios, with stellar performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton. 

A few months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is eager to go on a mission with The Avengers again. His mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) doesn't think he's ready for that yet and insists he stick to small scale, local crime fighting. When dangerous, highly advanced weapons start making their way to the streets, Peter sees an opportunity to prove himself - but is he up to the challenge? And, more importantly, can he balance his life as Spider-Man with his high-school troubles as well?

Tom Holland already proved his mettle as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War and now, in his first feature-length outing, he shows he's well on his way to being the best incarnation of the superhero yet. He's already the best teen Spider-Man. There's an earnest, kid-like quality to him that simply wasn't there with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield - who were excellent Spider-Men in their own right, but never did fully come across as high-schoolers.

Peter's enthusiasm in Homecoming is matched only by his lack of experience. He's itching for action but it's clear that he's got a long way to go and much of the movie is about him learning, growing and settling into the whole superhero thing. That and his age clearly distinguish him from the much older, more seasoned Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Captain America.

Speaking of said Iron Man, many people were worried that this movie would end up being 'Iron Man 4 feat. Spider-Man' given how much we saw of Tony Stark in the trailers, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Tony's role is pivotal in a few ways, but it's decively small. He's in it the movie just long enough to properly build up his mentor/mentee relationship with Peter without ever stealing his spotlight. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a movie about the little guy through and through, and that kind of scaling down gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe some much needed downtime in between the sprawling, ensemble epics like Civil War and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War

Antagonist Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) isn't trying to take over or destroy the world, he's an average Joe trying to get by after he got screwed over by the government. It just so happens that his particular way of getting by is the sale and manifacture of high-tech weapons using stolen alien technology. Keaton is phenomenal as the sinister Vulture, bucking Marvel's trend of casting great actors as lackluster, forgetable villains: this is a bad guy that's interesting and imposing both when he's in and out of his supervillain get-up. 

The high school shenanigans keep things light and fun. Marvel movies are well known for their sense of humor and Spider-Man: Homecoming delivers laughs in spades. The Odeon at Leicester Square has seats for over 1600 people and it was packed for Homecoming's preview screening - the crowd often laughed, cheered and even clapped, myself included. 

The supporting cast is excellent. Peter's best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) is a delight and the hillariously aloof Michelle (Zendaya) has a tendency to steal every scene she's in. The movie's take on Flash is bound to turn some heads, however. We've already seen the jock bully version of Flash twice in previous franchises, so it makes sense to go in a different direction, but Tony Revolori's dweeby douchebag Flash seems like an odd fit for the character. As for Aunt May, Marisa Tomei shines in a small, but key supporting role.

Homecoming separates itself from previous Spider-Man movies not just on the back of its connections to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and its much more youthful protagonist, but by also giving Spidey a significant upgrade. The high-tech Spider-Man suit courtesy of Tony Stark comes with a wide variety of cool gadgets, such as different types of webs, the iconic spider-trackers and web-wings, and so much more. 

While Spider-Man does have a lot of new neat tricks up his spandex sleeves, the one area Homecoming doesn't quite excel at is the action scenes. They're not bad, and many are fun and inventive enough to keep you engaged - but they're never really all that exciting. Spidey's epic fight with Doctor Octopus on top of a moving train is still the bar to beat there. 

Marvel is at the top of its game and Spider-Man: Homecoming is yet another major win for the studio. It's great to see one of their most iconic and beloved characters in such good hands. Homecoming is an absolute blast. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming will be in cinemas 7th July 2017.

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