In the past 15 years, we’ve had three Spider-Man franchises, and three web-slinging crusaders. With Spider-Man: Homecoming out this week, we get our youngest of them all in Tom Holland, with able support from Zendaya, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, and the bird-man-like villain Michael Keaton.
Our Tom hailed the film as “one of the best superhero films in years, and […] a very hard film to quibble with.” Now it’s out in the wider world, we got the team together to talk about the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
Patrick – 4/5
It’s testament to the strength of this third Spider-Man iteration in little over a decade that at no point while watching Homecoming did I find myself thinking “Oh, I liked it better when Tobey Maguire did that,” or “I miss Andrew Garfield’s surefooted wisecracks.” The comparison with previous versions feels almost pointless, such is the freshness and youthful vigour of this collaboration between Marvel and Sony. Granted, part of my goodwill to this film has been built on the foundations of Marvel’s recent back catalogue, notably the superb Civil War, but Tom Holland’s genuinely relatable portrayal had me charmed throughout.
David – 4/5
What a breath of fresh air! Despite all the marketing misgivings, Spider-Man: Homecoming truly delivered a film of joy. Each creative decision made by director Jon Watts aids the film in a new, exciting, youthful way. The performances from Holland and Keaton are pitch-perfect, and the decision to angle Spider-Man as a “teen comedy” is a very wise move. To go even further, it’s safe to say Homecoming is the comedy of the year. Genuinely.
I’m actively keen to see how these characters develop. Young, fun, invigorating characters with real room to grow. If this is Marvel 2.0, I’m down for it.
Jack – 4/5
Homecoming is an absolute blast. It’s the merriest Spider-Man film, light-hearted even by the MCU’s standards, but this doesn’t stop it from having real stakes and drama. Keaton makes for a wonderfully menacing villain opposite a star-making turn from Holland as Peter Parker. Holland is funny, scared, and utterly charming as the world’s most popular superhero, backed by an hilarious rapid-fire script and a tremendous supporting cast, from Hannibal Buress to Donald Glover to Tony Revolori. A big aerial showdown towards the end is a disappointment, but it’s a relatively short blip in what is otherwise 130 minutes of pure fun.
Kambole – 4/5
Having recently written about Spider-Man 2, I’ve been worried about this. Imagine my relief when Spider-Man: Homecoming turned out to be a entirely fresh and surprisingly thrilling take. The lessons of great power and responsibility are implicit this time, as Peter is constantly torn from what he wants and loves in order to try and do the right thing – though he’s often quite clumsy (thousands-of-dollars-of-property-damage clumsy). Jon Watts handles the small-scale stuff far better than he does the big stuff, but the film breathes new life into an ever-diversifying MCU.
Steph – 4/5
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a lot of fun, and Tom Holland is a charming Peter Parker. He’s well-cast as a teenage superhero struggling between saving the day from criminals, and joining in on fun stuff that teenagers should be doing. There’s plenty of trademark Spidey wit, and an action scene in the middle that just has to be seen on the big screen. While some of the scenes that tie this film into the MCU can be a little dull compared to the rest, this is a light-hearted and enjoyable reboot of the character.
There’s a lot to like, and even love, about Homecoming. Tom Holland cements his status as the best cinematic Spider-Man ever, Michael Keaton makes for a truly compelling villain, and there’s great action and gags aplenty. But the film wants to be a high-school drama and a superhero movie at the same time, and the individual moments – even the great ones – never gel into a cohesive whole.
Calum – 4/5
There hasn’t yet been a Marvel movie that wasn’t very funny – but Homecoming refuses to load itself down with the same baggage as an Avengers, a Strange or even an Iron Man 3. In that sense, this deft and grounded saga is both one of 2017’s finest comedies and one of its series’ finest releases.
The sole problem is that it can’t push this far enough: a Marvel movie is still a Marvel movie, and we never get enough emphasis on the pointedly ordinary “Homecoming” of the title. The high-school bent is refreshing; the superhero universe remains an increasing straightjacket.