Spiderman: Homecoming 08.07.17
Hardly anyone was there in the theatre auditorium and I was surprised, at the first Friday night showing of this third iteration of Spiderman at the Cameo cinema. Perhaps people are going to Cineworld, Vue and Odeon for the super-technology experience. I had the intimate cinema screening room almost to myself.
I'm glad I did. What unfolded before me was the Spiderman movie I thought was impossible, something fun, optimistic, one I could connect with. The strengths of this film are those essential ingredients for any superhero movie: yes, Tom Holland is a charming lead as the believably youthful 15-year-old Spiderman, but so too are his high school friends, none more so than the heavy-set best-friend Ned, whose world of geekdom is epitomised by the Lego Death Star these two companions excitedly try to construct, a peripheral but poignant running theme within the film. Another of the nerd-gang with rich potential is Zandaya's ungainly Michelle, whose obvious, unrequited crush on Holland's Peter Parker, as well as her self-confessed having no friends adds several gentle touches of light to proceedings. Spiderman: Homecoming is a film about the awkward, anti-alpha outsiders, and like Nolan's Batman and the best Ironman films, we have a superhero supported by, and constantly interacting with, peers of different shapes, sizes and degrees of popularity.
If the heroes are more relatable, then so too are the villains. Michael Keaton's Vulture is what you'd hope for in this kind of genre: his 'descent' into crime is treated sympathetically, he's a family man and an employer whose much-needed contract for a particular job is taken away without compensation. The film doesn't go too far down this route of the wronged little-man, admittedly – into the second half, Keaton's character shows little remorse for his increasingly destructive actions. Yet this potential retreat into two-dimensional evil is offset by a twist in his relationship with Peter Parker and one of Parker's closest friends. A car-based dialogue ensues, between Parker and Keaton's villain, of a creepy tension you can cut with a knife. It's one of the film's many highlights.Spiderman: Homecoming, to conclude, is a film I would put next to Nolan's Batman and the first Ironman and Avengers films. Without over-stuffing events with too many heroes or villains, it tries to imagine heroism and villainy with tenderness, by displaying the perspective of the loser and the spurned. In turn it produces a bracing, whirlwind fantasy, and for once I can say: bring on the sequel.