Watched On: DVD (Redbox)
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
I've been waiting to see this movie for a very long time and I'll just get it out of the way right at the top of the review: I absolutely loved this movie. Instead of yet another origin story, we get a Spider-Man movie. No, 'with great power comes great responsibility' no inevitable romance with Mary Jane Watson. So much baggage that seemed to have weighed down this franchise is jettisoned and what results is probably the best Spider-Man movie to date.
The movie opens immediately in the aftermath of the Battle of New York, which took place in the first Avengers movie. A local salvage contractor, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is eager to bring in his crew to start cleaning up the Chitauri technology and repairing the damage, but the government has other ideas. Anne Marie Hoag (Tyne Daly) head of the newly formed Department of Damage Control (a partnership between Tony Stark and the Federal Government) informs Toomes that they're taking over the salvage effort. Toomes, facing financial ruin, persuades his employees to keep the technology they've already salvaged and starts to construct advanced weapons to sell.
Flash forward to eight years later and Peter Parker is just settling back into life in Queens after the events of Captain America: Civil War. He quit the school's academic decathalon team to focus on his crime-fighting as Spider-Man. After Tony Stark deems that he's not ready to be a full member of the Avengers, Peter is eager to prove his worth to Stark. When he witnesses an ATM heist using advanced weaponry, he intervenes and returns to his apartment, only to find his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) waiting for him.
Attempting to find the owners of the advanced weapons, Peter is warned off by Stark, but continues his research, eventually tracking one of the criminals to outside of Washington D.C. He rejoins the Academic Decathalon Team to go to the National Finals in D.C. and uses that opportunity to sneak out and attempt to stop another weapons heist. He fails and ends up being locked into a DoDC facility for the night. He figures out that the power core he and Ned retrieve turns into an explosive when exposed to radiation and races to the Washington Monument to save his friends from certain disaster when it explodes and threatens to send their elevator plunging to destruction.
Getting a tip from local criminal Aaron Davis (Donald Glover) Peter then tracks the criminals to the Staten Island Ferry and intervenes- but it all goes wrong and Stark (as Iron Man) has to intervene to help Peter save the day. He grounds Peter and take back the suit as a result.
Peter goes back to being a normal high school kid and asks his crush, Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. When he picks up Liz, he figures out that the man behind the advanced weapon trading, Toomes, is actually Liz's father. Toomes, for his part, deduces that Peter is actually Spider-Man. Peter then deduces that Toomes is going to hijack a shipment leaving from Avengers tower. He intervenes once more and saves the day in his home made spider suit, capturing Toomes and the cargo and earning an offer from Stark to join the Avengers. He turns Stark down, for now, anyway and return to his apartment to find his new suit waiting for him. Just as he finished putting it on- Aunt May walks in.
Overall: As I said at the top: I absolutely loved this movie. None of the movies have ever really been able to portray Peter Parker as an honest to goodness high schooler but this one manages it and then some. Tom Holland is just about perfect for this role and his fellow high schoolers feel like high schoolers and not 20 and 30 somethings playing high schoolers. As the Vulture, Michael Keaton is excellent portraying a villain that's actually pretty complex and in a strange way, sympathetic. But what I love the most about this film is that it all springs from the events of the first Avengers movie. The exploration of consequences is an interesting theme that the MCU has played with before (the Sokovia Accords and the aftermath of Age of Ultron) but it's one that resonates here. My Grade: **** out of ****