The cycle of violence against Uncle Bens stops here. They don’t even drop the father-figure in a flashback. The world moves on with the fact that enough people know what that backstory is. Peter Parker has enough angst and failing to not always loom over a dead body.
Nevertheless, the vacuum remains strong as Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still stuck in high school with all the madness forced teamwork and slogging through daytime homework entails. It’s paperwork and having enough energy to be awake for the first class of the day without sauntering in like it’s always way too early to start anything. Missing are the many hours watching the television in between study breaks to wake up and find it’s all a blur save for theme songs.
The world stage starts things off before it’s quick to slip into the main narrative of local politics. Or at least the fight between the division of responsibilities between the state and federal levels of government. No, not Damage Control and the contractors. It’s between the scope of the Avengers and Spider-Man.
It’s a fight between the macro and micro. The separation is a running thread that continues with the back and forth of whatever and whoever is called for being responsible. The threats are ever there and the oncoming need to direct resources properly is a debate that rages on. It’s a wrought pain of limiting reach with the want to go beyond, to lend more help than the lowly crooks on the ground are deserving of.
Spider-Man’s augmented costume is a suitable analogy to the many requests from the state for federal grants and funding, and while they run with it, they can also see it snatched from underneath them. It’s a tricky game this politics. And sometimes there are incidents that happen on the state’s watch with their exhausted efforts, before big government swoops in to take the credit saving the day. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is ripe in the casual distance of being that government official (a tool of the oppressors) who just happens to be Parker’s coat rack for emotional attachment and validation, a father figure he’s looking to impress before finding it within.
Parker’s best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), heads up a more ethnically diverse supporting cast than previous incarnations, and it’s a welcome reflection of the people that actually inhabit the rest of the streets and hallways. Ned is a goof, a fun guy, and plays well off of Parker in the scenes they’re in. It’s what you would hope to see in a public-private partnership. Those may not actually work out as well in real life, yet here, they’re basically in sync.
The real plight shines on the local battlers like Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). They who would be working day to day to get by, to eke it out. Their motivation is a basic need to survive and provide for their family while those in their fancy suits bicker back and forth. There may be shady tactics involved, but it’s an honest drive and gives the character meat and credibility that pays off in the final act.
Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t waste its time putting a slug into the heart of an old man to drive its narrative. The wash of years (or months, who knows when Uncle Ben dusted off) after that are on display and while personally rocky with the desperate yearning to join the ranks of the Avengers, the confidence to tell another type of story makes for a solid, satisfying adventure.
Reviewed on Tuesday, 25 July 2017