Rating 3.5/5

Ever since the release of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War last year and the introduction of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, fans and movie goers alike couldn’t wait for the new Spider-Man in his first solo outing within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was fun to see the character within this universe and this film appeared to be more fun, vibrant, and comical than Sam Raimi’s take starting in 2002 and Marc Webb’s reboot in 2012.

And another thing about reboots/remakes, I have heard people say that this is the third reboot of Spider-Man. That’s fine to say, but the truth is it isn’t. The character didn’t come to the big screen until Raimi directed the Tobey Maguire picture in 2002. And of course that spawned two sequels. It wasn’t until 2012 when Webb directed The Amazing Spider-Man (what would then be a reboot). It wasn’t a remake because it was a different story than 2002’s Spider-Man. This installment is of course not a remake, and I don’t consider it a reboot. Although, in a way it is because it is rebooting the character within the MCU, but at the same time it holds it own as a stand-alone Spider-Man film.

Okay. Enough of that.

While Raimi seemed to kill his franchise with Spider-Man 3 and Webb doing the same with the 2014 follow-up The Amazing Spider-Man 2, this film appeared to punch some life into the character. This first solo outing did not disappoint. Director Jon Watts brings much more fun and a new take on the character than we’ve seen in the other five films. I’m not sure why it took six writers to put together this film, but what’s done is done. Watts co-wrote the script with Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Either way, the filmmakers brought the character back to the beginning. Peter Parker received his powers when he was only a teenager. This film really brought out the angst of a teenager wanting to do more with his powers, and his impatience and eagerness to help along with his sarcastic quips.

And as I have said before, I am not anywhere near a comic book aficionado, but what I do know is this take on the character seems to be more in line with who the character is. It may be correct to assume this was generally a crowd-pleasing success. There are those that would still probably knit-pick on some details here and there, but I believe most would still appreciate the web-slinger in the vast MCU.

The new Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker) is Tom Holland. He brings a fresh charisma and charm to the youthful, unlikely hero. He is also younger than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were in their respective outings as the web-head. Additionally, Holland plays a younger Peter Parker than the previous films. His cameo in Captain America: Civil War last year was definitely surprising and seemed to steal the show at that climactic battle.

I will admit this film has a bit of an ambiguous beginning. Or maybe I just missed something. The film takes place within a few months after the events of Civil War, but supposedly begins eight years prior in what was left after Loki released his carnage in New York from 2012’s The Avengers. That timeline doesn’t seem to quite add up but I assume Marvel knows what they’re doing.

I probably won’t go on about plot details here, but just say the story slowly unfolds in the beginning. And I say that because it just moved a little slow for me in a couple of places, but I see that it was for the establishment of plot points and character introduction and development. And overall, the film moved at a decent pace for its length at roughly 133 minutes. I won’t say the performances here were really moving and captivating, but they weren’t bad either. Holland’s performance really stood out though. He looked younger, playing a younger version of Peter Parker than we’ve seen in the other films. Marisa Tomei returns as at Peter’s aunt May where she was first seen in last year’s Civil War. I think she fulfilled the role nicely with the amount of screen time she had. Although, I still somewhat question the casting choice. I mean, again, she was adequate in the role but the look of her character wasn’t what I was expecting. (But that’s okay. I won’t judge). Peter’s love interest Liz (Laura Harrier) was a nice addition. I do know that Peter had romantic interests other than Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. What added to the humor and various comedic moments was the interaction he had with his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon). Even the appearances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau added to the humor and gave their usual energy and humor to Tony Stark and Happy Hogan. I think the film focused on the inner struggles of Peter coming to terms with his powers and his eagerness in wanting to do more.

I suppose that is why there wasn’t much of a villain in the story as I would have liked. And while Michael Keaton’s acting was not to blame here, and not to say he didn’t have a bad performance as Adrian Toomes, but I was kind of hoping for a little more out of his character. That might be the case as the post-credit scene hints. It is nice to see Keaton making some films again. And to go from playing a superhero in Batman to an actor playing a superhero in Birdman to playing a villain in another superhero movie, is something that I don’t think has been done before. Kudos to Keaton!

This was a fun film and a great addition to the MCU. The cinematography was great and the use of colors and locations added to the film. That is something I’ve noticed comparing Marvel and DC. Marvel uses bright colors and is more fun and vibrant and seems to show off more energy. The DC universe just appears to be more dark and gloomy. But at any rate, I was pleasantly surprised with this solo outing from the web-crawler. Of course, it’s Marvel. I don’t think there has been a Marvel film released that I haven’t enjoyed.

 

 

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