Superhero movies are relentless. Not just in their commitment to over-the-top action scenes, but also in their release schedules. If you’re anything like me, you are finding it increasingly more difficult to get enthused about the genre, especially after its recent saturation at the box office over the last decade. So when walking into a screening of Spiderman: Homecoming one can’t help but feel skeptical. But one shouldn’t be. The third generation of Spiderman on the big screen is a blast, compiling the best elements of Marvel’s signature style and melding it with the conventional beats of the teen rom-com.
Homecoming manages to be a surprising hit due to a number of factors; it’s strong, dynamic and fascinating characters, it’s down-to-earth story and the star-making performance of Tom Holland in the titular role. The films action scenes, although exhilarating, are not the draw cards of this film. It is not trying to reinvent the action genre or deliver a heart pounding ensemble piece like Captain America: Civil War, but is instead attempting to juxtapose the struggles of being a teenager with the struggles of being caped crusader.
In this regard, the film hits all the right beats held together by Holland’s terrific, smart mouthed and quirky performance. The surrounding ensemble contribute equally to the genre mash, with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) as the necessary, but reluctant father figure, his best friend Ned (hilariously brought to life by newcomer Jacob Batalon) as the comic relief that develops into a necessary component of the plot and the love interest, Liz (Laura Harrier), who is the conventional damsel in distress. However, her relationship with Peter is nuanced enough to make for a great reveal in the film’s third act.
The light hearted attitude, visually vibrant cinematography and more upbeat score, contributes to a film that is able to distinguish itself from other Marvel affairs through its high energy and young-blooded style, something arguably more fitting for a superhero movie.
Homecoming is by no means a game changer, but its strong grasp on tone, effective character development and its countless memorable and hilarious moments make it one of the best Spiderman films to date, and swings it into the higher ranks of its relentless genre.
★★★★ (4 stars)
Spiderman: Homecoming is currently in theatres.