When I was a kid Spider-Man was my favorite super hero. I was 12 when I picked up the Amazing Stories comic in which he first appeared and collected Spider-Man comics religiously for the first couple of years of publication. Unlike D.C.’s super heroes and even the early Marvel super heroes, Spider-Man was someone I — and other teens — related to and understood.
My biggest complaint about the dark and often boring webs spun by the Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire version and the Marc Webb-directed Andrew Garfield version that even the impossible not to love Emma Stone couldn’t save, was that the producers didn’t come close to getting Spider-Man’s personality right.
After 15-years of Spider-Mans, the Spider-Man: Homecoming producers got it right and fans of everybody’s favorite web-spinner are grinning ear-to-ear. Well, at least this one is.
Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up just after Spider-Man and Ant-Man did their Captain America: Civil War airport comedy routine and tossed a dozen very funny zingers at anyone within earshot.
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That was the first hint that the next Spider-Man would be done right.
Tom Holland’s (The Lost City of Z) Peter Parker has been asked by Tony Stark — aka Iron Man — to concentrate on high school and ease into crime fighting. The kid just can’t resist going after bad guys and sees himself joining The Avengers in the very near future. He constantly watches his cellphone and counts the minutes until school is out hoping he’ll get that all important Avengers call.
It doesn’t happen.
The plot leap frogs from there and leads Spider-Man to Michael Keaton’s The Vulture, whose gang is selling high-tech weapons to criminals.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is from a story and screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (Horrible Bosses 1&2, Vacation) with some help from Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers who help put ink to the batty Lego Batman Movie script. Director Jon Watts and his writing partner Christopher Ford add to the script.
Normally that many hands on a script ends up with a web more tangled than that caused by a fly in a real spider web. Not so in this case. This is a very funny script and — for usually dry super hero movies — an entertaining story and movie experience. Added to the fun is unexpected and tasty twist or two.
In the comics, Spider-Man was always tossing off hilarious one-liners while hanging perilously from this precipice or that. The fresh-faced Holland is a breath of fresh spider air and totally gets the character. Unlike his predecessors — one too stiff and the other too dark — Holland plays Parker’s alter ego as unsure of just about everything: school, life, girls, his doting aunt and his place in the super hero world.
All he knows for sure is he wants to do good, save people and become an Avenger. How to get it done is part of the film’s fun.
Holland gets a lot of help from a supporting cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., whose Iron Man more or less blows the kid off and passes him onto Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan, who is equally eager for Spider-Man to stay a naive high school kid and out of his hair.
All of those scenes — and a couple of dozen others — are packed with great one-liners and good humor.
Some of us liked Maguire’s Spider-Man. Others thought Garfield a bit better. Usually people like one or the other. I suspect Holland’s Spider-Man is one we can all agree upon.
Movie name: Spider-Man, Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts
Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Jennifer Connelly, Stan Lee, Chris Evans, Logan Marshall Green
Mr. Movie rating: Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s, the AMC Kennewick 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.