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dir Jon Watts
prd Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal
scr Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
with Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, Donald Glover, Logan Marshall-Green, Bokeem Woodbine
release US/UK 5.Jul.17 17/US Columbia 2h13
Get back in class: Batalon and Holland
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
An entertaining blast of fresh air, this reinvention of the iconic superhero plays more like a comedy than an action film, keeping the audience laughing at character-based humour even in seriously intense moments. This brings the people into sharp relief, deepening our involvement as the plot twists and turns. And the film is beautifully anchored by Tom Holland, a young actor who seems almost unnervingly perfect for the role.
Still giddy from his involvement with the Avengers, Peter (Holland) is frustrated that they haven't been in touch. Neither Tony (Downey) nor his assistant Happy (Favreau) will answer his calls, so Peter gets on with trying to be a hero in New York. And they still won't take him seriously when he tells them he has discovered goons dealing illegal alien weaponry, with winged mastermind Toomes (Keaton) running things. All of which is distracting him from high school, as his pal Ned (Batalon) discovers his identity and he finally speaks to his crush Liz (Harrier).
Director Watts orchestrates this movie with remarkable skill, maintaining a exhilarating momentum that propel us with the characters into both intimate and epic situations. The action scenes may be obscured by choppy editing and shaky camera work, but unlike most blockbusters, every moment is centred on the characters rather than the spectacle. This not only lets actors deliver textured performances, but it gives the story a kick of internal logic, as even the most crazed mayhem emerges almost organically.
Holland is the first actor to properly depict Peter as a teenager, excited by his powers and unaware that he's in over his head. Holland makes him hilariously clumsy and impulsive, and adeptly plays his reactions. Meanwhile, Keaton delivers a steely, scene-stealing performance as the complex Toomes, a working class guy just trying to get his break. In the film's final act, the character comes to life with unexpected layers of comedy and terror.
Everyone else pops up now and then for entertainment value. Downey thankfully never takes over the movie, Batalon is a sparky sidekick, and Zendaya quietly pulls focus as a cynical classmate. There are also a series of hilarious cameos for Chris Evans. In other words, this feels like the summer blockbuster that just keeps giving, constantly catching the audience off-guard with another hilarious moment, genuine thrills and witty Marvel gags. And it reminds us just how nimble Spidey can be compared to those lumbering Avengers.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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