★★★★ – “Tom Holland’s Spidey is the best yet.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier and Zendaya.

Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges. (12A cert; 133 mins)

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With this being the third iteration of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, and the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it can be said that the origins are well-known, as is the character. The concept of another reboot was a surprise for many, some liked the idea, others didn’t. I was within the latter. That said, with the announcement that Spidey would be joining the MCU, I was curious. Directors Anthony & Joe Russo handled the use of Spider-Man perfectly in Captain America: Civil War. Tom Holland won me over. He became a glowing highlight for me and many others. After that; I was excited to see Spidey in his own movie again.

Finally, after a long year of waiting; we have Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming. Crossing between “high school romantic comedy” and an action-packed adventure, this telling of Spidey’s roots is refreshingly fun, albeit a little messy. Instead of introducing Peter Parker all over again, we’re thrown right into his world. Peter is struggling to balance his superhero antics with his high school life, but when he discovers a new threat, he begins to hear a calling.

It begins very strongly, setting up the villain and continuing the overarching story from Civil War. But, as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) mentors Peter, his involvement becomes a tedious distraction. I understand that Peter (Tom Holland) is a kid, but I want to see his evolution into the strong asset that he can be. Every time Spider-Man tries to help, Stark is there to bring him back down. I get it, he’s being protective. But, this is supposed to be Spidey’s movie. I felt it was a little choppy with its storytelling and wasn’t quite sure on its comedic placement. There were times when a serious tone was present, which is exactly what is required to help you connect with the characters, but then it pulls you out with a misplaced joke. That said, there were a couple of serious scenes that were played out very convincingly by Holland and Michael Keaton. Especially within the third act, as Stark’s presence seemed to have dissolved quite significantly.

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Apart from a few misguided comedic elements, Spider-Man: Homecoming is highly entertaining. Tom Holland is the best Spidey yet, there’s no denying. There’s a great balance between his life as a student and his Stark “internship.” He delivers his lines brilliantly both in and out of the suit. Also, his interactions with Jacob Batalon are perfect, they capture ‘nerdy youth’ in a nutshell. Then comes Michelle (Zendaya), a sassy student who keeps an eye on Peter and his happenings. She becomes a fun addition to the cast and I hope to see her return in the future.

As aforementioned, Keaton delivers his lines very well. The character of Vulture is dark and not be messed with, and this is evident right from the start. There’s a clear reason behind his path in life, and it’s revealed momentarily. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), Happy (Jon Favreau) and Liz (Laura Harrier) all appear in smaller roles, but present a likeable charm and a comedic element that works splendidly.

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The cinematography and editing is smooth and clean, no scenes with jarring issues or a misunderstanding of what’s happening on-screen. Everyone in the special and visual effects departments have done a skilful job with the action sequences, it’s all very easy to follow and great to look at. Something I was very pleased with was the sound. This film sounds incredible. Any time you see the Vulture coming, you feel the air pulsating and the low frequencies crunching. Truly amazing work by all involved in the sound design.

Michael Giacchino’s original score is functioning as it should, with memorable motifs and an energetic funk, but as its own listening experience, it can be a little bland. However, it does support the picture as it should, and becomes a fine component to the overall experience.

Verdict; Though Stark’s involvement can be tedious and the comedy a little misused, Spider-Man: Homecoming is still an enjoyable action-packed thrill ride. Tom Holland’s Spidey is the best yet.

Spider-Man: Homecoming★★★★ (7/10)

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