SYNOPSIS: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine -- distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.
Marvel hits another one out of the ballpark with Spider-Man: Homecoming!
The film’s success is due largely to the enormously appealing Tom Holland who portrays Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I had to look up Holland’s bio to insure he’s not really 15. The 21-year-old does an extremely convincing job of playing a nerdy high school sophomore, including moments of brilliance contrasted with awkward shyness and bumbling.
As the film begins, Peter is still living with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) while sneaking out at night wearing his home-made Spider-Man suit to protect Queens from the bad guys. He’s become sort of a hometown hero even though he’s still working out his spiderweb-casting and other super powers. He’s also allied with the Avengers as a protégé of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) since his encounter with them in Captain America: Civil War. His contact guy to Stark is a reluctant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) who strives mightily to keep his boss’s mentee out of trouble.
On the home front, Peter hangs out with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who accidentally discovers Peter’s secret identity and has a hard time keeping his mouth shut, especially around the girl Peter’s crushing on, Liz (Laura Harrier). Add to the mix sardonic Michelle (Zendaya), and opportunities for humor abound.
Michael Keaton plays alien material salvager turned baddie Adrian Toomes/Vulture with charm and understated menace. He’s quite effective as the successful businessman stymied when the government hijacks his enterprise and leaves him and his crew without resources or recourse. He decides to steal alien technology to make super-weapons to sell on the black market and does so successfully until Peter’s alter-ego Spider-Man discovers his identity and his operation.
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Peter wants to go after Vulture full on, but Tony Stark nixes the idea. Still Peter ends up in several dangerous confrontations with Vulture and his team, including the two big action scenes set at The Washington Monument and on the Staten Island Ferry. As he fights evil, Peter also struggles with the souped-up Spider-Man suit Tony Stark has made for him. He communicates with his high-tech gear through a Siri-like voice he dubs “Karen” (voiced by Jennifer Connelly). In true teen-aged form, he bungles things as often as he’s successful, creating an effective, sustained line of suspense throughout the film.
Chris Evans appears as Captain America via a series of televised PSA’s giving advice to young people, and Gwyneth Paltrow makes a brief appearance as Pepper Potts. Both provide humor and a reminder that this is an on-going franchise of films. Stay for the credits to see a bit of a preview of what’s to come.
Nonetheless, it’s Holland who carries the film. He perfectly demonstrates Peter’s skills as well as his frustrations. As he says to his friend Ned, “Mr. Stark treats me like a kid” to which Ned replies, “You are a kid”. Peter responds, “Yeah, a kid who can stop a bus with his bare hands.”
You’ll experience a few unexpected twists in the story line, definitely keeping you engrossed and engaged with the characters. Do not miss this fine film. I can hardly wait for the next one! - J.A. Hyde