Here we go again. The third Spider-Man film in fifteen years has swung into cinemas, this time with the full might of the Marvel cinematic Universe on his side (it would take a large amount of this review to go into the complicated history of who holds the rights to which Marvel characters, so let's just say it is complicated). And with a new Spider-Man comes this light, fun, occasionally silly, mostly disposable summer blockbuster.
After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to launch Sony's own superhero universe (in a case not too dissimilar to Universal's overly-confident attempt to set up the Dark Universe) Spider-Man was brought into the extensive Marvel Cinematic Universe, and reintroduced to us as one of the best things in the bloated Captain
This Spider-Man feels closer to a Marvel's equivalent of a Harry Potter film, and is relatively stripped of the darkness of the Amazing Spider-Man years. It strongly establishes its franchise potential with a young likeable cast supported by a ludicrously talented group of adults. Many of the bit parts feel like a who's who of Netflix, with teachers and henchmen played by actors who broke out in the likes of Orange is the New Black, Better Call Saul, Fargo and Silicon Valley. Head and shoulders above these though is Michael Keaton. The one-time Batman is having a lot of fun here, with a stronger-then-normal villain who has an compelling motivation. It is particularly refreshing for a villain to not want to destroy the world, but to make their slice of it a little better. Tom Holland makes an effectively earnest Spider-Man, even if he can't quite escape the sarcastic hero vortex that plagues modern blockbusters. It is also worth highlighting the perfect sidekick in the form of Jacob Batalon's Ned and the intriguing, sarcastic Michelle, played by Zendaya.
Marvel have honed their formula to perfection and Spider-Man: Homecoming is another fine example of this. They are the cinematic equivalent of the Big Mac; processed, unlikely to satisfy your hunger for long, but a safe, easy meal that does exactly what you'd expect. There are few surprises in this Spider-Man, with the action crisp, the developments expected, the ending predetermined. It doesn't come close to touching Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man movies, and feels far less culturally significant than Wonder Woman, but it is one of the more enjoyable additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe of late and puts the friendly neighbourhood hero back on good terms with the audience.