The key to any superhero movie is not in casting the person best suited to play the title character, but rather finding the best person to play the character’s true identity. Quite honestly, any well-toned actor can play Spider-Man; nailing the role of Peter Parker is way more important.
Director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming works because of the actors he employs in the film’s two crucial roles; Tom Holland, as Spidey, and Michael Keaton, as The Vulture. These two ably carry the film, with strong support from actors such as Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Bokeem Woodbine and Robert Downey Jr.
The film picks up after the happenings of last year’s Captain America: Civil War. Spider-Man, fresh off of aiding Team Iron Man against Team Captain America, has returned home to New York; he’s also now in possession of a super-suit designed for him by Tony Stark (Downey). He’s told to lay low and get used to the suit, by becoming a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”
But Parker wants to do more to prove that he deserves to be a full-time member of the Avengers. That lands the wall-crawler directly in the path of The Vulture. Vulture’s team is making weapons out of spare parts salvaged from the wreckage of the various Avenger-related episodes (for example, a gun made out of Voltron’s arm).
Holland brings a youthfulness and charm to the character that was sorely lacking when Tobey Maguire played the part in the early aughts. Holland finds Parker’s insecurity and vulnerability, a characterization more in line with the comics that he first starred in. The actor is endearing and likable and, despite being 20, plays the role of a 14-year-old to perfection. Peter Parker was always the superhero you wanted to root for, and that’s what Holland brings to the role.
Then, there’s Keaton, as Parker’s foil, The Vulture. He flawlessly plays the role of a villain, who is a regular Joe who has been pushed into a corner one too many times. Keaton is one of those actors who can terrify you simply with a look. Add to that an intense, slow-burning delivery, and you get Marvel’s first truly frightening and believable villain since the Cinematic Universe began in 2008.
While I could watch a four-hour Marvel film, most people will find the movie is probably a little longer than it needs to be at two hours and 13 minutes. But you won’t be bored, and for fans of the MCU, you’ll be ecstatic about this film and its place in Marvel’s vision. Spider-Man Homecoming is not the best movie in Marvel’s highly profitable cinematic universe, but it’s the best Spider-Man film ever produced.