The second Spider-Man film reboot has arrived and this time we focus on an all new younger 15 year old Peter Parker still going through high school and who is desperately wanting to become an Avenger. So much so that when a new villain Vulture is threatening his neighbourhood he will do whatever he can to thwart his evil plans. This is the first Spider-Man film to take place within the MCU and as a result you have the appearance of Iron-Man and other familiar MCU properties riding along. Thankfully these connections don’t take over the film and it is all integrated really well. Unlike Raimi’s Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Man this follows a much different story structure that adds for a good amount of surprises i for one didn’t see coming. The action is fun, the humour is largely very on point, Michael Keaton’s villain is simple and great, Tom Holland kills it, and it was just a very good thoroughly enjoyable movie.
The way this movie opened was different for a Spider-Man film, typically the first thing we have seen before the title card is Spider-Man’s origins….. the death of Uncle Ben blah blah blah. But here the film has taken this time to give a very brief and simple origin for the Vulture so that where in the main story of the film Peter Parker is already Spider-Man, and Adrian Toomes is already the Vulture. This saves so much time in the story and allows everything to move a lot quicker once the movie kicks off. The first two acts of the film were really good and i thought it was all very strongly executed. From (re)introducing us to this Peter Parker to giving more insight into the going-ons with Vulture to throwing in some good action scenes here and there i was liking this movie. But for me it is the third act that really excels beyond what the film had done previously. It goes bigger, you get some significant developments to Peter’s character, and it was just a tonne more exciting than the rest of the film. That doesn’t mean what came before wasn’t important because without all the setup the third act would be nothing.
I will start off with the villain as that is the talking point most of the time with these Marvel movies but here i think all the talk surrounding Vulture should be on the good side. I really liked Vulture in this film and so much of that is to do with how incredible Michael Keaton is as the character both in and out of the suit. He doesn’t want world destruction or domination, what he really wants to do is take from the rich, sell to criminals, and provide for his family, just like the Fast and the Furious crew family is the most important thing to him. This doesn’t make him a good person but it gives you some perspective to see that he isn’t a total dick and his aspirations started from a place of love. There is another very minor villain in the film whose name is lame and thankfully doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time because he wasn’t great at all.
I also really enjoyed the way the supporting cast is integrated into the film, whether they be for comedic purposes or plot purposes everyone served their role very well. Tony Revolori (‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Dope’) who plays Flash was annoying and a douche but being part of his character he pulls it off really well and didn’t overdo it. Jon Favreau returns here as Happy and he is a fantastic addition to this film, he adds to many of the comedic moments and really needs to keep up appearances in future Marvel films. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron-Man and seriously, at this point in the MCU do i still need to point out he’s good in the role??? Danny Glover as Aaron Davis isn’t in the film much so don’t get too excited there, Zendaya is actually pretty good in the film, and Jacob Batalon who plays Peter’s friend Ned is great here and absolutely not annoying. He puts in some good jokes here and there but most of all he is just a really good companion for Peter throughout the film.
And then you have Spider-Man himself played by Tom Holland who has absolutely nailed the character both in and out of the suit. He is quirky and funny and exactly how you’d expect a teenager would act being in control of these powers. The vast majority of this film is spent with Spider-Man following through all of the ups and downs of his current mission. Which is great considering one of the larger concerns going into the film was that all of the Iron-Man and wider Avengers connections would hold the film back. There are a lot of really really cool references to the MCU in the situation it is currently it, referencing events from Avengers, Avengers 2, Civil War etc. But at no point in the film did i feel like this was an Avengers movie, it was all just extra and someone who hasn’t seen all of those films isn’t going to be lost at all. And despite his extensive screen-time in the trailers Tony Stark/Iron-Man is only in the film very briefly as a part-time mentor for Parker.
So in the end this was a very good movie that puts Spider-Man in a coming-of-age film where him having to deal with high school/teenage problems as well as evil villains plays a big part in shaping his character. Is it better than the last two (first) Spider-Man films???? I would place it above Amazing Spiderman but Raimi’s first Spider-Man is still too iconic. It is well paced in the first two acts as it builds towards an explosive and dramatic third act that pays off brilliantly. Michael Keaton is incredible as Vulture and really makes the villain his own, and his back and forth with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is great making for some awesome scenes. The connections to the wider MCU don’t bog the film down and now Spider-Man is officially an integral piece of the MCU puzzle going forward.