Spider-Man: Homecoming Screen 65 of 12 reviews

Spider-Man: Homecoming

2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Poster
  • You know how this origin story goes... Director Jon Watts (Cop Car) and his half dozen screenwriters know that you know all this, and thankfully skip over unnecessary explanations to dump us right into Peter's life as a junior superhero and sophomore in high school.

  • Watts joins the elevated-to-a-franchise pack by leapfrogging from the scrappy, inventive, direct-to-DVD/streaming genre shaggy-dog stories Clown (2014) and Cop Car (2015) – and sketch comedy before that – to the sort of effects-driven three-ring circus of a movie that dominates summer release schedules. The trick is to retain some original directorial personality in an ocean of money and pixels (and not be replaced by a biddable non-auteur mid-shoot), which Watts manages very well.

  • It’s pretty cute that Peter Parker’s morning commute to high school in Homecoming is soundtracked by Spoon’s “The Underdog”... This sly bit of soundtrack curation suggests that Homecoming is staking out a more modest corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — a little piece of real estate adjacent to the AOR nostalgia of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but less gentrified. This little hint of marginality... is central to the charm of a film that uses the outskirts as an organizing principle.

  • I’m perhaps not the best person to draw the distinction between something called “fan servicing,” which I understand is very, very bad, and giving an audience what it wants, which I have been told from an early age is at least kind of good. That said, I can report from where I sat at a preview screening that was evenly divided between what I suspect were sympathetic-from-the-get-go reviewers and enthusiastic fans and their families, “Homecoming” is a comprehensively crowd-pleasing success.

  • The first true Gen Z superhero movie, not for the simple fact its protagonist was (technically) born in the 21st century but because this Peter Parker reflects the anxieties and aspirations of today’s youth – those raised in the shadow of 9/11 who are now starting to come of age in a permanently switched on world. He’s not an authority figure or a role model but someone who thinks and acts as real teenagers do, someone prone to speaking out of turn and screwing up because, hey, that’s what growing up is all about.

  • Past a certain point, the action becomes wearying, though things do perk up with the arrival of a nice little plot twist. And here and there, Watts orchestrates some wonderful moments: One of them is the sight of Spider-Man balanced deftly atop the first car of the 7 train into Queens, riding high like a surfer conquering an unruly wave. But the real pleasures of Spider-Man: Homecoming lie in its quieter moments, and in the interplay between the actors.

  • For its initial hour, “Homecoming” moves along breezily enough, though sometimes with too much forced airiness. It works best when it sticks close to Peter and is content to be a light, good-natured story of a teenager who’s navigating through, and often badly fumbling, the competing demands of school, home and his emergent Spidey self. Mr. Holland looks and sounds more like a teen than the actors who’ve previously suited up for this series.

  • What's fascinating though is to keep tabs on the ways these corporate properties try to charm us—while also openly advertising their deficiencies. They didn't even try to make the movie look good. The cast is supposedly diverse, but when the whole movie looks as washed and ready-for-daytime-TV as a stick of chalk, with the frozen-dinner formalism to match, who can tell? You say black person—I say wack person. The studio doesn't care; neither should we.

  • The film’s subject is demagogy, a teen-age superhero boy’s abuse of his powers to show off—to win celebrity, to win friends, and, above all, to impress a girl in his high school. Of course, he eventually learns better... but the movie’s makers nonetheless want to have it both ways. That hedging is the movie’s central creative strategy, and it results in a strangely oblivious film, one that undercuts its story with exactly the sort of praise-hungriness that its hero learns to overcome.

  • Deep within the Marvel laboratories, it seems genetic experiments have been taking place as the DNA of the comic-book action flick is spliced with that of other films. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the labradoodle of this cross-genre breeding programme. Part superhero movie, part high-school coming-of-age story, it’s bouncy, likable and completely devoid of threat.

  • The latest reboot of the Spider-Man saga is programmed to be ultra-frisky, like a robot Jack Russell Terrier. The whole movie takes its cue from Tom Holland’s super-motivated Parker. The comedy-drama is geared to make Parker ease up. But the message has a hollow ring to it because the film is every bit as psyched on its own hyperactivity and gimmickry as Parker. It’s as if “Spidey” has become a synonym for “antsy.”

  • By partially demonstrating what a newer, fresher superhero movie might look like, Homecoming ultimately underlines its own genre-defined limitations.

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