Spider-Man Homecoming is more a pat on the back with half measured niceties than a triumphant and cheer-inducing return. The sixteenth Marvel picture in the cinematic canon boasts an adolescent high school Peter Parker, (Tom Holland) whose desire of wanting to be an Avenger gives way to realising the nobility of the moniker, “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man.” While this central plot point injects the film with a working class and localised focus, the picture ultimately proves to be an overwrought and suffocating exercise in lightness.
Homecoming portrays the Wall Crawler with as much red-faced clumsiness as his civilian identity. Interrogations go south; powers are misunderstood and heroic moments end in humiliating pratfalls. The movie is all frolics, and no responsibility as the severe guilt-ridden neurosis that has been a staple of the character since 1962 has been viciously removed.
Consequently, the film retains little dramatic heft (aside from one plot development in the third act) and the action sequences never feel particularly dangerous. The climactic showdown between Spider-Man and The Vulture (Micheal Keaton) is a far cry from the sadistically grungy Green Goblin and Webhead fight at the end of Sam Rami’s first picture.
Though the performances do provide the film with some buoyancy: Holland excels in a spirited central turn as the titular character, whose natural perchance for gymnastics transforms into a source of deft physical comedy. And the old codger portrait of Adrian Toomes in the comics is given quintessential Keaton life: as the actor imbues the character with a relaxed casualness that masks a highly motivated and live wire nature.