Spider-Man: Homecoming


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This Spidey isn't exactly what audiences are used to, but this time it's a good thing.

If it seems like there's been a lot of Spider-Man iterations on the big screen over the last 15 years, that's because there has been. The latest, Spider-Man: Homecoming, is a merger of sorts, pulled in by the almighty Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while this film can't help but have some Spidey déjà vu, it's still a lot of swooping, sticky fun.

How does one even concentrate in high school after they've become the Spider-Man and done insane stuff like fighting alongside the Avengers? How does one balance homework with keeping the streets safe, all while getting home in time for Aunt May's (Marisa Tomei) dinner? This is the web of conflicts that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) wrestles with here, while under the watchful eye of his mentor, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

Even though Spider-Man may feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, the film itself is light, jubilant, and spiked with humor. While it boasts some impressively rendered set pieces, like a death-defying close call at the Washington Monument, or a splitting debacle on a Staten Island ferry, the film's most endearing moments come when Peter is hanging out with his best friend (Jacob Batalon), gushing over his crush (Laura Harrier), and during the teen comedy stretches and high school blunders that are always just a few steps away from becoming a "Degrassi" episode. And speaking of things getting real, the stakes skyrocket when Peter must face off against the story's powerful winged villain, Vulture (played with a teeth-grinding grit by Michael Keaton), who runs on "alien junk."

One of the keys to the film is that we never get the impression that Spider-Man is invincible, or that things come too easy for him. After all, he's a rookie in the superhero world (and, again, only 15 years old), a freshman just trying to figure everything out. The talented Tom Holland is great for the role, playing Spidey with a wide-eyed glee and a bounce in his step, while still remaining vulnerable and virtuous. It's these aspects that make the seen-it-before tropes tolerable. Fresh, even.

So what'll be next for our young hero? Prom? Graduation? Who knows? But, as every MCU aficionado knows, do be sure to *stick* around after the credits for a hint at what may be to come.