Spider-Man: Homecoming represents the 3rd iteration of Spider-Man in a very short space of time and thankfully it is one of, if not, the best. This is spoiler free – well pretty much.

Kicking off not long after the events in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Holland) is dealing with the come down. For a young teen, having all the adventure and excitement really makes school and everything else pale into insignificance and Parker is having a hard time adjusting. He has this great secret that he can’t tell anyone, despite being a “loser” still at high school. Keen to prove himself, Parker stumbles across some alien tech weapons (the city is still cleaning up the damage from The Avengers – a hilariously named Dept of Damage Control is in charge of that) being sold and that leads him to battle against The Vulture/Adrian Toomes (Keaton). In among all that, Parker is forced to deal with high school politics, friendship – Parker’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) is so funny, his comedic timing is fantastic – and of course love.

Grounding the story in the (movie) reality of high school, gives scope for plenty of laughs and plenty of homages to high school films of the past. The awkwardness of Parker is played on too. Not only is he an awkward guy, he is an awkward superhero. A very funny interrogation scene is a great example of this. This extends to his interactions with Tony Stark (Downey Jr) as well. Stark is totally unavailable despite Parker craving that father figure. Parker just wants to impress him and Stark, being true to his character, keeps Parker at arms length until required. It’s a great dynamic that plays well in the film’s story.The actors are all great, but Spider-Man: Homecoming might just be the first Marvel film that actually has a good villain, possibly since Loki was introduced. Keaton’s Toomes has purpose, is a multi-dimensional character and it is such a welcome change from the one dimensional bores of previous MCU villains.

The action is great, the story has a near perfect balance between the laughs and the required emotional content. It is a fantastic film with some excellent twists. The best MCU film in quite some time. One that isn’t bloated nor a paint by numbers origin story. Bring on more of this!

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

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