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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ review: superhero with a teen-comedy twist

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Marvel’s Spider-Man is a sassy young boy well on his way to becoming the superhero the world adores

When it comes to Marvel’s films, the audience is bound to expect and successfully receive cool combat, amazing special effects, world-saving plots, and witty wisecracks and double innuendos. It seems the company has taken a different route with their latest offering. Those predictable tropes have been completely eschewed with a firm focus on Spider-Man’s coming of age.

With Spider-Man: Homecoming, the audience is spared being regaled with the age-old origin story. Instead, the film dives into the thick of things, picking up immediately after Captain America: Civil War that saw Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in an extended cameo. A clean-up crew headed by Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton) is in charge of salvaging the debris from the previous film’s fight. After being replaced by Tony Stark aka Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) team, Vulture embarks on an illegal business creating weapons from the alien power source found at the site.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Storyline: Spider-Man is aching to fight crime but Iron Man won’t let him. Our superhero has no choice but to ignore all advice when the Vulture is on the prowl.

Meanwhile, Parker is back to his regular life awaiting Iron Man’s summon to go on a mission. Everyday, he texts Happy (Jon Favreau), Stark’s head of security-turned-bodyguard. Our young superhero can’t wait to be officially part of The Avengers but is instead told to lie low. So Parker waits till school is out to put on his swanky spidey suit (courtesy Stark) and fight crime. Often, he’s more a nuisance than saviour, providing much humour for the audience.

Homecoming is not your average superhero film. Were it not for its protagonist’s abilities, it could very well be any other delightful teen comedy. It even has a school homecoming dance! Holland is perfectly cast as a young boy yearning to be a man. His performance, in line with his character’s age, is youthful, funny and even aggravating as kids his age are wont to be. The film is entirely the actor’s playground with all the other characters taking a back seat. Downey Jr. is reduced to playing a surrogate parent constantly admonishing Spider-Man while his aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is a mere gag, with constant comments being made at her age and sex appeal. Keaton does as much as he can with a menacing character, never fully making the audience quake in their boots. Even Spider-Man’s love interest, a decidedly progressive choice, Liz Allan (played by African American actor Laura Harrier) is just passable.

The film is a tad slow to begin with, Marvel films begin with a bang but Homecoming takes its own sweet time for the fun to kick in. Don’t be discouraged though, for when the film arrives, it packs as many punches as you’d expect it to. There are more than enough fight scenes, web-slinging, swinging from trees and fancy gadgets. While you’re chuckling away at its juvenile but funny jokes, watch out for several cameos. There’s comedian Hannibal Buress (Broad City) playing a coach, Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) as an uncharacteristically chirpy teacher, even Donald Glover (Community) aka Childish Gambino as a criminal among others. And there’s a really cool homage to the 80s classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quite firmly establishing the film’s teenage flavour. All in all, a fun film for fans of the comic book and the uninitiated.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:22:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/spider-man-homecoming-review/article19224071.ece

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