Just when Doctor Strange looked to be squeezing the last drops from the dried-up Superhero Origin Story format, Spider-Man swoops in to doodle all over the blueprint. Homecoming is confident that you either know or don’t care all that much about how Peter Parker got his spider powers or that he had an Uncle Ben who died tragically. It skips all that to focus more on Parker growing into the role of an Avenger/actual adult – and it’s so much more fun because of it.
Tom Holland completely owns the Peter Parker role. Not only does he actually look like a teenager (as opposed to the fully-grown men who played him in the past), he naturally pumps out the character’s endearingly good nature and naïve determination to prove himself to his idol Tony Stark. It’s in his voice, his comedic timing, and his eyes which he probably stole from a loyal puppy.
As The Vulture, Michael Keaton gets a far better acting gig than other Marvel villain roles. His motivation seems simple at first: protect his successful thievin’-n-dealin’ business he grew from the underground up. However, when the film shifts its gears with a great plot turn, the character becomes more complex, and Keaton chews the resulting tension up like muesli.
The only significant let-down in Homecoming is its night-time action scenes. The lack of light in combination with frantic edits and a CGI overload make it difficult to spectate the spectacle (it’s probably worse in 3D). One of these scenes is the film’s big finale, so don’t go in expecting a magical crescendo of a climax.
Fortunately, this Spider-Man isn’t about the big moments; it celebrates the small ones. Everyday Joes and Janes matter, collateral damage matters, Peter’s social life matters. It really says something when the two most intense moments aren’t explosion-heavy events with millions of lives on the line – they’re scenes involving an elevator and a conversation in a car.