by Paislee House, Film Critic
Another weekend, another superhero movie. Lucky for superhero fans, 2017 is shaping up to be one of the best years for the action-hero genre, and this weekend brings us “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Though Spider-Man has seen many iterations in recent years, “Homecoming” spins a refreshing web that will keep you glued to your seat.
“Homecoming” is the first Spider-Man film that truly feels like Peter Parker is in high school, which is the film’s greatest strength. One of Spider-Man’s biggest appeals has always been that he’s just a kid with superpowers, which might be why so many comic book readers find him relatable.
On top of having powers, Peter Parker deals with issues that almost everyone else does. He has to do homework, he crushes on girls, and he lives with a guardian, all of which restrict him from having the same freedoms of his adult-superhero counterparts. “Homecoming” capitalizes on all of these elements and as an audience we are able to laugh, worry and relate to the adolescent problems of young Peter Parker.
In addition to feeling like a film set in high school, “Homecoming” looks like a film set in high school. The cast is brimming with young Hollywood stars like Tom Holland, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Laura Harrier and newcomer Jacob Batalon, all of whom are under the age of 22 with the exception of Harrier. Tom Holland as Spider-Man is one of the best cast superhero roles yet. His character tries to balance the great responsibilities as a superhero and life as a teenager with humour and a believable nervousness. Speaking of nervousness, Holland has mastered an American accent for the film and gives Peter a voice that can only be classified as young, nerdy and full of excitement. Holland brings out Spider-Man’s best qualities as he tries to figure out what it means to be a friendly, neighborhood hero.
Although he is up against a tough crowd of talented, young actors, Michael Keaton excels as Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture (I’m going to keep calling him Birdman). Too often superhero films have one-dimensional villains that fall into the chaotic evil character archetype. However, “Homecoming” switches things up in giving us a fleshed out villain whose motives are understandable and whose actions could even be applauded at times. Given the depth and dilemmas of his character, Keaton plays Vulture menacingly but with a hint of likability. I found myself almost rooting for his character because his struggle is that of a blue-collar man fighting a corporate entity that put him out of business.
Not only is the story, feel and cast of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” wonderful, the score and soundtrack are impeccably curated. The soundtrack features many classic rock songs like “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” by The Rolling Stones and “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. This use of classic, beloved songs gives the movie another layer of relatability. As teenagers, we love the sounds of rebellious rock rolling out of our headphones as we trudge to class, and I loved hearing them as Peter Parker navigated New York.
For the film’s moodier moments, audiences’ ears are filled with a score by Michael Giacchino who has created music for many Disney films like “Up” and “Rogue One.” Giacchino’s score accents dramatic moments in the film with such gusto that I leaned over in my seat to literally say the words, “This music kicks ass.” One notable moment in the film, after Peter has been dropped off at his school’s Homecoming dance, features a steady stream of bass drumming in line with Peter’s footsteps that forces you to feel his sense of unease.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” gets a lot of things right. The movie is fun and relatable and gives Peter Parker space to be the kid that he has been all along. Michael Keatons’ multi-dimensional villain gives the story weight and complexity, and a young, believable and talented cast make the film fun to watch. Director Jon Watts hasn’t had much experience, but “Spider-Man: Homecoming” proves he has much in store for Spidey fans everywhere.