A welcome return to its wide-eyed roots for the jumbled Spiderman franchise, this not-an-origin story keeps it real and, within the superhero genre, believable.
The filmmakers wisely focus on the fact that Peter Parker is just a 15-year-old, 21st-century kid, with all the frustration, awkwardness and reckless ambition that implies. He’s still hilariously struggling to control his awesome new powers but, like most in his age group, also to define what kind of person he wants to be.
What raises this movie above others of its ilk is a sparkling and inventive script that brims with humor and relatability (for all ages). The problems to be solved are more high-school level; no saving the planet and all that. Been done.
An endearingly awkward Tom Holland tackles the webslinger honors with a nice balance of unabashed geekiness and teenage savvy. Though all that unnecessary Avengers nonsense is largely and thankfully kept at arm’s length, Robert Downey, Jr. shines as Spidey’s wisecracking mentor.
And in a bit of risky casting, Marisa Tomei turns up as a kind of hot Aunt May, Peter’s guardian. Who knew? The risk pays off. Michael Keaton oozes searing menace as the film’s supervillain, “Vulture.” Alone worth the price of admission. Also Jon Favreau, Bokeem Woodbine and Zendaya
Looking for an antidote to superhero fatigue? This one will bring out the kid in you. It’s infectious, light on its feet, full of surprises, self-aware and extremely likeable. In a nutshell: your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Movie. (133 min)