Generally, when a film franchise reaches the six-movie mark, signs of fatigue set in. Remember Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack, and Police Academy 6: City Under Seige? But Spider-Man: Homecoming is a thrilling exception. It’s one of the best in the series.
After the three Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire, the franchise has been rebooted TWICE, first with Andrew Garfield for two installments, and now with Tom Holland. Future generations will be arguing about who was the best “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” just as James Bond fans debate who was the best Agent 007 (it’s Sean Connery, by the way, followed by Daniel Craig).
Holland might be the best yet. He looks the part, for starters. Peter Parker is a 15 year-old high school sophomore who is something of an outcast at school but an “Avenger” wannabe in his off-hours when he dons his Spidey suit and fights whatever crime he can find. He thinks he’s ready for the “A” team, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), thinks not.
Peter’s unrequited crush on a senior (Laura Larrier) provides enough drama in his life until he discovers a plot by an entrepreneurial criminal (Michael Keaton as the Vulture), who is hawking deadly weapons fashioned out of gadgets from the Avengers’ demolished headquarters (You don’t have to have seen Captain America: Civil War, in which Spidey made a heroic cameo, but it helps). When neither Stark nor right-hand man “Happy” Hogan (Jon Favreau) takes him seriously, Peter attempts to take on the Vulture himself.
An unsung hero of Homecoming is Jacob Batalon as Ned, who is ecstatic to discover his best friend Peter’s secret identity. Marisa Tomei costars as Peter’s way-cool (and much hotter) Aunt May. Chris Evans has a couple of amusing appearances as Captain America.
With Homecoming, Spider-Man at last takes his rightful place in the Marvel movie universe. But it will thoroughly entertain even those who can take or leave comic book movies. A hilarious reveal at the end (the best since Tony Stark declared “I am Iron Man”) makes one anxious for the next one. Best to take the advice of Captain America in a wink-wink gag about sticking around through the end credits for a possible bonus scene: “One of the most important traits a solder or a student can have is patience.”