Thursday Night Movie Club
Spider-Man: Homecoming
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Release Date: 7 July 2017

Director: Jon Watts
ACTORS:
Tom Holland
Michael Keaton
Robert Downey Jr.
Marisa Tomei
Jon Favreau
Gwyneth Paltrow
Zendaya
Donald Glover
Jacob Batalon
Laura Harrier
Tony Revolori
Bokeem Woodbine
Tyne Daly
Abraham Attah
Hannibal Buress
CHARACTERS:
Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Adrian Toomes/Vulture
Tony Stark/Iron Man
May Parker
Happy Hogan
Pepper Potts
Michelle
Aaron Davis
Ned
Liz
Flash
Herman Schultz/Shocker #2
Anne Marie Hoag
Abe
Coach Wilson
Spider-Man: Homecoming movie poster Spider-Man: Homecoming movie poster Spider-Man: Homecoming movie poster
Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man: Homecoming is a different Spider-Man movie than its predecessors. This is the first Spider-man film under the control of Marvel Studios. The result is more a throw-back to the comic book series.

This is not another origin story. Everyone knows the story. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a sophomore in high school. Peter has already been bitten by a spider. He has already built his web-shooters. Peter is still trying to find his way in the world as both Peter Parker, high school nerd, and Spider-Man.

In a quick bit of storytelling, the film opens in the aftermath of the destruction in New York after The Avengers first team-up. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is the lead contractor on the salvage/clean up. Suddenly, Anne Marie Hoag (Tyne Daly) from the U.S. Department of Damage Control arrives. Just as suddenly, she shuts down Toomes operation and kicks him off the site. Toomes hasn't returned all of the alien technology his team collected. He begins manufacturing weapons and selling them on the black market.

Eight years later, Peter Parker has come up on Tony Stark's radar (Robert Downey Jr.). Stark presents Peter with his new suit. Just as quickly, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) whisks Peter to the Berlin airport, tells Peter to put on the suit and get moving. Peter promptly joins the battle between The Avengers from "Captain America: Civil War".

After his tryout with The Avengers, Peter is overly anxious for his next mission. Peter bugs Happy to no end. Peter texts Happy daily. He calls Happy whenever he encounters the slightest suspicious happening.

At school, Peter is part of the Decathlon Team. The team is heading to Washington DC as part of the National Championships for the smartest high scholars. Peter drops off the team because Stark might call him at any second needing Spider-Man's help. Peter is becoming distracted.

One night idly wasting time as Spider-Man, Peter comes upon a robbery. Four men are trying to steal the cash from an ATM machine. These robbers are using Toomes alien weapons. Spider-Man has the upper hand casually tossing funny one-liners. Suddenly, the weapon shoots an energy beam across the street. Peter knows the owner of the deli shop. Peter was having fun being Spider-Man. Suddenly, things have become deadly serious. Someone could have died.

Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland star in Spider-Man: HomecomingPeter reports everything to Happy but, once again, Peter is frustrated that he hasn't heard back from Happy or Tony Stark. This is serious weaponry. Why aren't Stark and the Avengers all over this threat?

If Stark won't get involved, Peter will. Peter's timing is terrible. He and his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) are invited to a high school party at Liz's house. Peter has a crush on Liz (Laura Harrier). Peter is barely at the party when he spots the same bluish glow from the ATM robbery. Spider-Man to the rescue. Peter Parker's life can wait.

Spider-Man breaks up an arms deal. But he is hopelessly out-gunned. The van is filled with the advanced weapons. Peter manages to use the technology Stark put in his suit to put a tracker on one of the hoodlums. Suddenly, a mechanical flying machine resembling a Vulture swoops down and grabs Spider-Man soaring high above the ground. Spider-Man frees himself and activates a parachute. He becomes entangled in the suit. He is rescued from certain death by Iron-Man.

Despite Peter's excitement, Stark tells him to stop. For his safety and others. Peter is not ready. But the die has been cast. The game is afoot. Spider-Man has come this far. There is no turning back.

Unknown to Peter Parker and Spider-Man, they have both set in motion events that have deadlier consequences. Rather than turn over the alien technology to Stark, Peter and Ned begin analyzing it. Ned takes the plasma with him on his tour of the Washington Monument. As soon as Ned passes through security, the X-rays energize the plasma. It will explode. Peter's foolishness endangers the lives of his classmates and everyone else visiting the site. As Spider-Man, he rescues everyone. But Peter put them in danger in the first place.

Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingPeter still can't leave this alone. Spider-Man breaks up an arms deal aboard a cruise ship. However, Spider-Man is interfering. Stark has listened to Peter. He is investigating Toomes. Stark called the FBI to inform them what was going to transpire. As Spider-Man fights The Vulture, disaster strikes. With all of his super abilities, Spider-Man only makes matters worse. Iron-Man saves the ship and passengers, not Spider-Man! If Spider-Man hadn't interfered, would the calamity have happened?

At this point, Spider-Man is too reckless. Stark takes back his custom-designed Spider-Man costume. Stark never mentions one little bit of crucial information. Spider-Man's inauguration in the Avengers struggle was not life or death. The Avengers were not out to kill each other. Spider-Man has gotten in too deep. Peter's possible death weighs heavily on Stark. Peter emulates Tony Stark. Stark wants Peter to be better than him. Peter has potential. All is not lost.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a lighter movie than previous Spider-Man films. There is no mention of Peter's Uncle Ben. Neither he or his Aunt May are broken up over this. Is Ben dead? Does he work in another city. Are he and May divorced?

Peter is overly anxious to prove himself, or just be noticed. But he is noticed. Fellow student and captain of the Decathlon Team Liz (Laura Harrier) has a crush on Peter. She is happy Peter came to her party. As hostess, she has to tend to the other students so she doesn't have much time for Peter. Surprisingly, Michelle (Zendaya) is also at the party. Michelle doesn't have any friends. When Peter asks why she is here, Michelle replies, "You're here." Her reply is sarcastic. Does it have a double meaning?

Jacob Batalon and Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingPeter's best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) discovers Peter's secret identity in a wonderfully funny sequence. As Spider-Man, Peter sneaks into his bedroom, crawls on the ceiling carefully closing the bedroom window with his foot. He uses his webbing to slowly close the door. Peter drops to the floor, takes of his mask, turns around to find Ned sitting on his bed. Ned is every bit as exited Peter is Spider-Man as Peter is. Peter warns Ned he cannot tell anyone. Ned spends every minute bugging Peter at school with questions.

Tom Holland is perfectly cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. As Spider-Man, Holland slings one-liners faster than Don Rickles. The ATM sequence is one line after another. The alien shocking device flings Spider-Man into a wall. Just as quickly, Spider-Man rejoins the battle slinging more lines. Very funny.

Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man crawls up the Washington Monument while the computer voice in his suit tells him how much time before detonation. Holland says, "This building is tall." Moments later, Spider-Man reaches the top. He turns around and is suddenly frozen in a panic. The computer voice inquires why he isn't moving. Holland replies, "I've never been up this high."

As Peter, Holland is a wonderful Peter. Peter is only fourteen. Life's growing pains are coming at him fast and furious. He just wants to fit in. In high school, being the smartest one in class alienates Peter. Students are more interested in your abilities like sports. Peter has some serious abilities. He can't tell anyone though. Peter would like nothing better than to silence his tormentors by telling them "HE" is Spider-Man. Even young Peter knows how dangerous letting his secret identity out in public. Being rich and famous gives Tony Stark a level of privacy and security that Peter doesn't have. May would be in serious danger as would his fellow classmates. They may not care about Peter, but he cares about them.

Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingJacob Batalon is every bit as funny as Holland. Ned is all raging hormones too. Like Peter, he can't leave things alone. He pesters Peter with questions incessantly. "How far do your webs go?", Ned asks. Peter doesn't really know. Later in the film, Spider-Man finds himself in an area where there are few buildings. He shoots his web and watches as it disappears in the darkness. Ned wants to help Peter as Spider-Man. He wants to be the "Man in the Chair", an allusion to Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred.

Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture, is not very menacing. He is an independent salvage contractor. He sunk everything into cleaning up the mess the Avengers created. He just wants to provide for his family and the families of the men who work for him. In a stroke of pure luck, Toomes stumble upon the perfect business model: Develop and sell weapons that no on uses. For eight years his business has flourished flying under the Avenger's radar. Four idiots breaking into an ATM for petty cash can bring down his empire.

Michael Keaton stars as Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture from Spider-Man: HomecomingFor the most part, Michael Keaton is OK as Toomes. Toomes is just a regular guy. He isn't out to rule the world. He just wants to earn a buck. Following the trail, Peter happens upon Toomes. Peter just knows this stranger is involved. Peter gets the shock of his life on Homecoming night. Liz, Peter's date, is Toomes' daughter. The father of Peter's prom date is a criminal.

Keaton shines in the critical scene as Toomes drives Peter and Liz to Homecoming. As he asks Peter innocent questions, Peter's answers raise Toomes suspicions. Keaton's demeanor slowly changes with each of Peter's revelations. Toomes puts the pieces together. Peter is Spider-Man! Toomes hands are tied. He cannot silence Peter with his loving daughter in the car.

The Vulture from Spider-Man: HomecomingToomes tells Liz he wants to speak to Peter alone. Liz thinks her dad wants to talk to Peter about the date and afterwards. Toomes pulls out a gun, not really showing it to Peter. Keaton makes Toomes meaning perfectly clear when he calmly, with a touch of malice, tell Peter to "Stay out of my business."

Holland is also fantastic in this sequence. The meaning of Toomes questions slowly dawns on Peter. Peter's hands are tied. He cannot do anything to Toomes with Liz in the car or in front of the Homecoming gathering. Too many lives are at stake. Now is not the time for Peter to screw up.

Tom Holland has done such a marvelous job creating his iteration of Spider-Man. The audience knows that this Spider-Man is Tom Holland. While in the Spider-Man outfit, the character remains Peter Parker, both characters so skillfully portrayed by Tom Holland. When the Vulture tries to escape from a dazed Spider-Man, Toomes yells, "Don't try to stop me." Peter yells back, "I'm trying to save you." Holland's delivery is honest and true. His acting is a real joy of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Tom Holland stars in Spider-Man: HomecomingSetting Spider-Man: Homecoming apart from the previous films is the level of humor and the variety of ways to use humor. At Liz's party, Spider-Man follow the glow of the alien weaponry in the distance. The problem is Spider-Man is out in the suburbs. There are no buildings, only trees. Spider-Man crashes into sheds, falls into a swimming pool, and scares two young girls sleeping outside in a tent.

Another use of humor shows the creativity of the screen writers. Spider-Man stops a man from stealing a car. The car belongs to the man. He locked his keys inside. As the car alarm blares, neighbors lean out of windows complaining. One of them is Spider-Man creator Stan Lee in his customary cameo. After yelling about the car alarm, Lee promptly starts hitting on a woman next door. Spider-Man: Homecoming ends with one of the funniest, extended sequences in any Marvel-based film. Hysterical!

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an excellent start to this new Spider-Man series. Here's to hoping the producer, director and writers take a page out of "The Dark Knight" and make the next film amazing!