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Film review – Marvel reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming turns spotlight on Tom Holland’s charming webslinger

There is something for everyone in Jon Watts’ version of the superhero’s origin. This time, Peter Parker is at school and becomes part of the Marvel Universe

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 July, 2017, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 July, 2017, 5:32pm

4/5 stars

You could almost call this Spider-Boy: Homecoming.

Tom Holland, who first stretched into the Marvel superhero’s spandex for last year’s Captain America: Civil War cameo, is only 21. The British actor looks in his late teens, making him ideal casting as the adolescent New Yorker, Peter Parker, who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and starts developing acrobatic powers. His boyish enthusiasm for the role shines through in this stand-alone blockbuster.

For sheer fun, Spider-Man: Homecoming is hard to beat. The set pieces – at the Washington Monument, on the Staten Island Ferry and a finale next to Coney Island – are thrilling.

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Then there’s the humour, much of which comes from the franchise taking Peter back to school. From his relationship with his geek friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), who swiftly discovers his friend’s secret identity and has a hard time keeping it quiet, to his bashful romancing of fellow pupil Liz (Laura Harrier), there’s a charming innocence to this incarnation.

There’s also the Marvel factor: unlike the previous films by directors Sam Raimi and Marc Webb, this is the first time Spidey has been able to mingle with the Avengers. It means Homecoming is part of a wider Marvel universe – with Parker taken under the wing of Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) and his right-hand man Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).

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In another director’s hands, this premise could have been overexploited, but Jon Watts (Cop Car) – one of six credited writers on the film – deploys it sparingly.

Best of all, Michael Keaton appears as the villain Adrian Toomes, a regular Joe who begins selling high-tech weapons culled from alien technology on the black market. Fresh off Birdman , there’s a delicious irony in Keaton playing Toomes (aka The Vulture), who has a metallic flying suit at his disposal. But this isn’t played for laughs; Keaton is fierce in the role.

Comic fans will delight in the result, but casual filmgoers looking for some unadulterated popcorn pleasure will be just as satisfied.

Spider-Man: Homecoming opens on July 6

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