Eppler: "Homecoming" ends "Spider-Man" losing streak

Eppler: "Homecoming" ends "Spider-Man" losing streak

Finally! Another good "Spider-Man" movie. It's been a while. Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" from 2004 is a stone-cold classic, but since then it's been a rough go for the character. "Spider-Man 3" was panned, not entirely fairly, so the studio panicked with an ill-advised reboot followed by an overstuffed sequel to that reboot that even the most ardent fanboys will admit weren't very good. 

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" is so good because the filmmakers learned some lessons: One villain instead of three, skip the origin story with the spider bite and dead Uncle Ben, and remember Peter Parker is a kid.

This is a high school superhero movie with a John Hughes flavor - where suiting up for the big dance feels as significant as suiting up to fight crime and raging hormones are stronger than any superpower.

Tom Holland is well-cast as a 15-year-old Spider-Man with the actor delivering on the promising debut as the character in last year's "Captain America: Civil War."  In "Homecoming," he's been Spider-Man for a while but he's still rather clumsy, immature and figuring out his abilities. When his best friend (a very funny Jacob Batalon) learns the secret, it's a way of doing the origin story in a different way by answering questions. 

One of the big problems with these Marvel movies has been the lack of a memorable villain. Leave it to Michael Keaton to fix that. Ironically, he's grounded as Vulture, even relatable. He's not trying to take over the world - he's a criminal trying to provide for his family. Keaton is sympathetic and still scary. It's also a pretty good joke having the actor from "Birdman" playing a birdman in this movie.

Unfortunately, "Homecoming" can't shake the stink of corporate think by being forced to fit in to the Marvel Cinematic machine. I don't like the high tech Spidey suit, and a side-plot involving moving Avengers gear is dumb, but at least we get the always welcome Robert Downey Jr., whose Tony Stark serves as a mentor. 

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" is a fun movie with a light touch. And for the first time in a while, we can feel like this character has a bright future again. 

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