First Word: Spider-Man Homecoming is a good movie, but not quite as good as the 93% on Rotten Tomatoes would imply. This film often undermines the emotional stakes of the film for an easy laugh. However, Spider-Man Homecoming at its core is a fun summer blockbuster.
Synopsis: When Peter stumbles across a criminal organization making and selling weapons out of leftover technology from various superhero/supervillain battles, he springs into action, despite warnings from Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Happy (Jon Favreau) to leave things to more seasoned crime-fighters. 7.5/10
Characterization: I really like Holland’s effort to mix true-blue “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” heroism with a teen boy’s natural immaturity and awkwardness, but he needs a better movie. The concept is to show Peter’s high-school experience as a dweeb with a secret (a rival boy refers to him as “Penis Parker” a half-dozen times) who has a curious internship with Stark Enterprises (which makes Iron Man a co-star in the film). The result, however, is one problematic scene after another. What’s good? Jacob Batalon as Peter’s tech-nerd buddy and Zendaya as a sarcastic, tomboyish brainiac always poking Peter for quality sidekicks. But the rest of his school experience makes little sense. Like how does Peter not get expelled from school when he seems to leave every day, whenever he wants, for crime-fighting? And that “Homecoming” part of the title proves meaningless to the title. And his teen romance is a heat-free snore. And in the “hero can only be as good as his villain” department, Holland doesn’t get much help from Michael Keaton as businessman Adrian Toomes/Vulture. The guy’s got his own flying suit, made with alien-material left over from an Avengers fight that his company was hired to clean up for salvage. But then the feds pushed him, and he got mad in a “These guys are always screwing the little guy” theme that goes nowhere. A half-dozen credited screenwriters on this film couldn’t figure out anything for him and his henchmen to do, so Keaton spends almost all of his time in dark warehouses working on alien-scrap metal weapons that he sells underground to bad guys. Keaton basically plays a disgruntled dad out in the garage. They also couldn’t figure out how to use talents like Marisa Tomei as Peter’s aunt (she’s basically window dressing as the “hot aunt”) or Donald Glover as a low-level crook (his role is an embarrassingly underwritten waste). Tyne Daly as a tight-lipped fed and Bokeem Woodbine as a henchmen with an alien toy have cameos so poorly conceived that they should have been played by unknowns because they’re distracting. Better yet, they should have been scrapped. And then there’s the glorified cameo appearances of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, who’s more playboy-jerk here than ever in limited screen time as a pseudo-father figure. Then there’s Jon Favreau as Stark’s sideman/chauffeur, who’s tasked with mentoring young Peter and then spends the film ignoring him in a completely phoned-in performance. 6.5/10
Cinematography: Indie-filmmaker John Watts made a movie full of jokes and two great action sequences. The scene on the Washington Monument and the Ferry are great. However, most of the actions scenes in this movie are shot in the dark and there is a noticeable shadow. It is often difficult to completely see what is going on during moments of intense action. 7/10
Conclusion: I love Spider-Man so this review could be a little harsh. I did find this film entertaining, however, I also found it to be poorly crafted. I enjoyed Tom Holland in the role, but as a whole Spider-Man: Homecoming is coolly calculated to be the “fun Spider-Man movie,” but when it is about nothing, someone didn’t take it seriously enough.
Final Score: 7/10