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A Still Raw Superhero

Saturday, July 08, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier and others
Rating: * * * 1/2

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' assumes that its fan base knows the story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. In Jon Watt’s new film, the beginning of yet another franchise, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is a fifteen-year-old nerd, not quite sure what to do with his superpowers.

He has to keep his secret, so pretends to his schoolmates that he is interning with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) aka Iron Man and personally knows the Avengers gang, while waiting for Stark to actually call and offer him something exciting to do. Only the mandatory side-kick Ned (Jacob Batalon) discovers that Peter is Spidey and wonders why he doesn’t use it to impress girls, in particular, Liz (Laura Harrier).

Still, Spidey can’t just be fighting neighbourhood crime, he needs a proper villain, and that is Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). He was a salvage contractor stiffed of his work by Stark’s minions, so he turns to selling arms and flying around in a suit with metal wings as The Vulture. Spidey keeps coming in the way of his operations and they get into battle mode, but Stark has to come by to help (once, amusingly, when he is attending an Indian wedding), and give the young lad lectures on restraint.

Peter discovers his modified or rather augmented suit, with a Siri-like artificial-intelligence assistant, guiding him, which allows him to pull off a super rescue of his school mates caught in the Washington Memorial, in one of the film’s impressive sequences.

There are some other enjoyable action scenes too, but not enough plot (what were the six writers doing?). Hopefully, future films in the franchise will make-up for it. One certainly hopes, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) will have more to do than just worry about Peter’s whereabouts.

If the film is still fun despite its generic look and clunky bits, it’s because Tom Holland is so earnest and the character’s desire to be a real superhero so infectious, that any young person would relate to that longing for achievement as well as peer acceptance. So what if he is a superhero, this Spidey is adorably ordinary.

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