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Spidey is the king of spin in Homecoming

07 July, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Tom Holland in Spider-Man Homecoming

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Directed by Jon Watts
Certificate 12a
☆☆☆☆

Not another Spider-Man film, surely? How many more of these re-imaginings do we really need? In the past 15 years we’ve had Tobey Maguire then Andrew Garfield take on the mantle. I mean, surely there are other stories out there that deserve a fat budget thrown at them? What more is there to be done?

The answer to all these questions is simple: forget any others you have seen. Forget they exist. This one is dubbed Homecoming for a reason.

We had a little teaser of what this new Spidey would be like in the Avengers film Captain America: Civil War when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) headed to Brooklyn to ask the geeky teen Peter Parker (Tom Holland) to come over and lend a hand.

The little cameo there was packed with humour, from Stark’s ribbing about Spidey’s rubbish onesie outfit to chatting up Aunt May. It was an enjoyable aside – and now that aside has been taken up a notch.

Our story starts with a salvage team clearing up the mess left from an Avengers bust-up with aliens in the middle of New York. Adrian Toomes – aka The Vulture (Michael Keaton, as wonderful as ever) – is the blue collar boss who is told, as he removes bits of kit, that he is sacked as the powers that be are now taking over. It’s a little opening allegory of big government/corporate America messing with the little guys – and it sets a brilliant tone.

Toomes is fuming – and turns his anger into pilfering as much of the material as he can, and then, with the help of his engineer friends, building some super-bad weaponry that he sells on to criminals.

Meanwhile, Spidey is just your average 15-year-old in Queens, who pretends he has an internship with Stark Industries. In fact, while Stark used him in Captain America: Civil War, he has since been left well alone and is not an Avenger, despite his repeated text messages asking to be brought on board. Instead, he tries to do battle against petty crooks in his neighbourhood, romance a high school sweetheart, and keep his secret skills safe from the prying eyes of both Aunt May and his best mate, Ned (Jacob Batalon).

But he gets drawn into trying to stop the Vulture, prove he is ready to be an Avenger, and deal with the hormonal rollercoaster he’s strapped into.

This isn’t just a superhero film with massive special effects, nor just another one of the Marvel stable’s ability to bring some light-hearted banter on board. This is also a classic teen love story – which is crucial to Spidey’s tale – and I can’t see any teenage boy in the world not watching this and firing imaginary webs from his wrists as he leaves the auditorium.

It’s fun, charming, good to look at and tops what has come before from the already impressive Marvel Studios. There is even a nice line set up for the surefire sequel.

Add to this some political commentary – there are some digs at Trump’s America – and you have a film that manages to give us laughs, action, drama, love and a hero you can’t help but root for. What a refreshing, and frankly lovely, surprise.

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