Well, 2017 has been a great year for superhero movies so far. Earlier in the year, LOGAN was critically-acclaimed and a box office success. Then came GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 2, then WONDER WOMAN. All very successful. Now here comes SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING, the best movie about the Marvel wall-crawler in years.
This movie delivers thrills and good fun aplenty. It was a wise decision for Sony to agree to share their property with Disney's Marvel Studios. The result is a marriage made in heaven. Spider-Man is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which means he can share the screen with the likes of Tony Stark/Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America, which is actually the case in this movie. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) appears in several scenes, and is a sort of mentor to Peter Parker (Tom Holland). The whole movie plays as a sort of "John Hughes"-style teen comedy reminiscent of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". It is the most lighthearted of the six Spidey films that have been released so far. Basically, the film chronicles Peter Parker juggling his duties as a superhero with the day-to-day responsibilities of being a high school student, with all the melodrama that entails. SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING moves along at a brisk, energetic pace, providing lots of action, some drama, and quite a bit of humor.
Of course any superhero movie needs to have a supervillain (or two. or three) to cause problems to our hero. In this movie, this comes courtesy of The Vulture (Michael Keaton), and to a lesser extent by the under-utilized Shocker. Michael Keaton makes The Vulture into an almost sympathetic character, a criminal who steals to provide for his family.
The Spider-Man costume, which has been created by the genius inventor Tony Stark, reveals some interesting new features during the course of the movie, which I won't reveal here since I try to write spoiler-free reviews when discussing new movies.
There are certain things about the movie I don't particularly like: one of these is Aunt May, who is a big change from the frail, elderly Aunt May traditionally seen in the comics. This Aunt May, played by Marissa Tomei, qualifies as a middle-aged "hottie", which is a big divergence with the Aunt May that most fans are familiar with. And Peter simply calls her "May". Come on, Peter: show your aunt some proper respect!
Also a bit disappointed that Spider-Man/Peter Parker's greatest foil---and one of the most entertaining characters in the Spidey comics---Mr. J. Jonah Jameson of course, is once again Missing In Action. He hasn't been seen since 2007's SPIDER-MAN 3, 10 years ago.
Flash Thompson, traditionally a bully, is merely a spoiled rich kid in this movie.
Once again, the main villain finds out Spider-Man's true identity. In all six films, only Electro never did find out.
Anyway, despite some minor gripes (I'm nitpicking, as any self-respecting geek should), SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING is greatly entertaining, and and improvement over the past three Spider-Man movies. Only the 2002 and 2004 films are superior, in my opinion.