Susan Granger’s review of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios)
Are you ready for the on-going Spider-Man origin story? This one finds the webslinger joining Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, cavorting with the Avengers like Iron Man and Captain America.
Frantic 15 year-old, high-school sophomore Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is frustrated because, although he’s been given an awesome high-tech suit by billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), he’s told not use his superpowers except on a local level, reporting to Stark’s flunkie, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).
“Can’t you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?”
Although he’s supposed to keep mum about his alter-ego, in chemistry class Peter thoughtlessly tinkers with his web-fluid formula in chemistry class, blowing his cover to his quintessentially geeky best bud Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) and, eventually, to his bewildered Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).
While Peter’s grades are suffering at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, his hormones are ranging over a flirtatious senior (Laura Harrier), who’s running the Homecoming celebration.
She’s the daughter of Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), a villainous salvage contractor-turned-contraband alien-arms merchant. Flying with huge metallic wings, he’s known in the comics as The Vulture.
Riffing on the iconic comic-book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, it’s a fragmented collaboration between team of six screenwriters and Jon Watts (“Cop Car”), whose direction is uneven.
Filled with running gag references to other Marvel movies, there’s a segment in which Captain America (Chris Evans) figures not only in Peter’s history class, as the teacher lectures about conflict over the Sokovia Accords, but also in gym, saying, “So you body’s changed. I know how that feels.”
There are also amusing cameos from Zendaya (as Mary Jane, a.k.a. MJ), Donald Glover (as burglar Aaron Davis), and Stan Lee (as an irate Queens neighbor). But I felt the final post-credit scene with Cap chiding the audience for its patience fell flat, although a Spidey sequel is obviously in the works.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a scrappy 7, evoking fond memories of the adolescent angst in John Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”