Spider-Man: Homecoming – Jon Watts

Those of you who know me are aware that I’ve been getting bored with superhero movies. They tend to recycle the same formula, lack a clear vision, incorporate a villain as a second thought, and subsequently fall short in the third act. Not so with Spiderman: Homecoming.

Now, to be clear, this latest Spiderman reboot has some of the standard flaws of superhero movies, especially of late. For example, there’s a fair bit of stilted exposition through dialogue, some awkward and heavy-handed attempts at checking the “diversity” box, and shockingly poor attempts at Easter eggs that lack the subtlety needed to be considered in that category.

And yet, even those shortcomings aren’t so glaring in Homecoming. On top of that, the story feels organic enough, the directing is fluid enough, the cast is strong enough, and the conflict is compelling enough that mistakes melt away with ease.

Needless to say, I was thrilled with this movie.

Now, I’ll admit that Spiderman was my favorite superhero growing up. I loved the Tobey Maguire movies, even making excuses for the third. But I knew that last one was bad, and I knew there was a lot to be desired in the first two. When I went into the Amazing Spiderman series, I had grown enough to adjust my critical bias. And I saw that they went from “not bad” to “awful.” As such, going into Homecoming, I set a very low bar.

Of course, that helped in adjusting my expectations, but I think the main thing that won me over in this movie was Michael Keaton. He’s the most compelling bad guy in a superhero franchise since Heath Ledger. His character has everything you could ask for with the acting chops to deliver it all beyond comparison. I could write an entire article just about the story dynamics available through this villain (and I probably will).

Add to that a realistic internal struggle, a solid representation of life in the throes of puberty (Stan Lee must be proud), a superbly-acted kid protagonist (yeah, he’s 19, but he’s excellent in the role of a 15-year-old), and a fairly grounded plot, and you have a fantastic story. You might even forget that you’re watching a superhero movie. Probably not, but it’s that well done.

So I was pleased, and I think you will be too. Check out the movie, because the story is phenomenal.

5 out of 5 stars

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