“Spiderman:  Homecoming”

 

            This “Spiderman” movie works because of its excellent cast, starting with the lead, Tom Holland.  He's the first to be cast as Peter Parker who was actually still a teenager at the time, and that really helps convince the viewers that he really is a high school student, and he really does suffer from youthful immaturity, which is part of the whole appeal of “Spiderman” in the first place.

            Peter Parker lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and is an intern with Tony Stark Enterprise, which means that the young Spiderman is already under the tutelage of veteran superhero Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.).  Iron Man assures Peter that he's going to be part of the Avengers team eventually, but first he needs to learn to live under the radar, get used to his skills, build his confidence, and just be low-key for a while.

            That isn't so easy to do when there's a lair of the bad guys in the same neighborhood in Queens.  This particular gang, led by Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), is dangerous because they've gotten hold of certain alien matter that gives them super weaponry, and in Toomes' case, a flying costume, where he becomes Vulture.  Spiderman has already had some run-ins with them, but things get really complicated when it turns out that the doting father is of Peter's prom date is none other than....Mr. Toomes.  Who's smart enough to figure out who Peter really is.

            Peter's secret isn't safe from his best friend, either, but that turns out to be a good thing, because Ned (Jacob Batalon) becomes an important backup resource.  But Ned is just dying to tell everybody the big secret, which puts even more pressure on Peter Parker to stay cool and not show off his skills in public, even though the girl he likes, Liz (Laura Harrier), claims to have a crush on Spiderman.

            Throw in a little Academic Decathalon drama, a few hallway locker scenes, and a chemistry class complete with failed experiments, and we can almost project ourselves right back to high school, with all its attendent anxieites.  And we weren't even trying to bust the local bad guys in our spare time.

            This “Spiderman” is likeable and fun to watch.  Because this superhero is oh, so human.

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Who's your favorite superhero?

2)                  What awkward moments do you remember from high school?

3)                  Whatever happened to your prom date?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association