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Spider-Man: Homecoming praised as best Spider-Man movie yet

Critical Mass: Here’s a taste of what the future of these Marvel movies looks like.

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It’s pretty much confirmed: Marvel Studios webbed another hit with Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Following glowing reactions on social media from critics, the first wave of full-fledged reviews are out with equally effusive takes on the John Hughes-esque superhero movie from director Jon Watts. “The best Spider-Man movie to date” is a phrase fans will see again and again.

EW’s own Leah Greenblatt questions, “Is there anything new under the Spidey-sun that could possibly justify another iteration of a hero who has already been portrayed in uncountable ways on page and screen and stage for over half a century?” The answer, in short, is yes. She further calls Homecoming “a brightly contemporary retelling that is not so much an origin story as a coming of age: The On-His-Way-to-Amazing Spider-Boy.”

Sony, which partnered with Disney’s Marvel Studios for the film, has had a rough history with the web-slinger property: Sam Raimi’s trilogy, though still time-tested, was marred by the final installment and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films could not stick the landings. But Homecoming is the first Spider-Man film since Sony and Marvel struck a deal to bring Peter Parker into the world of The Avengers.

While many critics found the fun in this take on a Spider-Man that’s very much a teenager grappling with his super-heroic responsibilities, there were some dissenters. The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore called Homecoming an “occasionally exciting but often frustrating film.” Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman pointed out the “aggressively eager and prosaic YA flavor,” though he’s not necessarily calling it a distractor.

Tom Holland headlines the film as Spider-Man after his pop-in for Captain America: Civil War. Michael Keaton takes the villain role of Vulture, while the cast is rounded out by Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Donald Glover, and Tony Revolori.

With 31 reviews and counting, Homecoming is enjoying a 97 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Read more reviews below.

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly)
“Director Jon Watts—whose short resume includes a horror movie called Clown and 2015’s little-seen Kevin Bacon thriller Cop Car—doesn’t deprive his audience of the awe-ful, large-scale action sequences that are essentially written into the contract, but his true interest seems to be grounded less in things that go zoom than in a much more John Hughes-y sort of teen normalcy. (A visual joke early on involving an actual clip from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off feels like no coincidence). That the movie comes off as loose and sweet and light on its feet as it is feels like sort of minor Marvel miracle. Whether Watts can swing this boy into super manhood with his endearing humanity intact is a question only time, and the next sequel, will tell.”

Owen Gleiberman (Variety)
“Peter has a best bud, the roly-poly and easily wowed Ned (Jacon Batalon), and he’s got a crush on Liz (Laura Harrier), a senior who’s on the Decathlon team. The biracial romance is a step in the right direction, but at one point the two are poised in an upside-down kiss that never materializes, which only reminds you of how much the film is feeding off its legacy. It’s fine — and true enough to Marvel — to make a Spider-Man movie about a young adult, but Spider-Man: Homecoming has an aggressively eager and prosaic YA flavor.”

John DeFore (The Hollywood Reporter)
“Satisfying from its day-of-the-dance prelude (where Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May shines) all the way to its fiery, cathartic conclusion, this sequence hints at the film Homecoming might have been — had Marvel Studios execs and a half-dozen screenwriters not worked so hard to integrate Peter Parker into their money-minting world. But integrate they do, and the film wraps up with an ending recalling the incoherent, have-it-both-ways finale of Iron Man 3 — attempting to embrace the ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’ ethos while exploiting the rich-dude glitz afforded by Spidey’s new buddies. Hang in there, True Believers: Maybe it’ll get better the second time around.”

Mike Ryan (UPROXX)
“In my book (I don’t have a book but whatever), Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie to date. That does come with a caveat that Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man 2 are going for different things and both are great. But, tonally, I just love this incarnation of a Peter Parker who just loves being Spider-Man. There’s literally a scene of him giving a woman directions because he’s so eager to help in any way he can. It’s vague what’s happened to Uncle Ben in this movie (so vague that Ben is never mentioned by name) but there’s really no way this Spider-Man feels responsible for the death of a family member. He’s too happy and likes being Spider-Man too much. And after two Spider-Man franchises that have built up the death of Ben Parker as a huge plot point, it’s actually refreshing not to be burdened with that this time.”

Matt Singer (ScreenCrush)
“I love Spider-Man more than any other fictional character (and more than most of the real people in my life outside of my immediate family). I’ve loved him since I saw him on The Electric Company, where he spoke in word balloons and had a groovy theme song and the coolest costume I’d ever seen. He means something important, not just to me but to millions of readers and viewers. It pained me to watch The Amazing Spider-Man series, which took some very well-cast leads, and dumped them into stories that were studio-noted and post-produced into incoherence. After two mopey, miserable slogs, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a return to form, featuring an incredibly likable cast, a compelling and complicated villain, and a irrepressibly charming Spider-Man. Welcome home, Peter.”

David Ehrlich (IndieWire)
“When Homecoming works, it does so by borrowing more from the likes of Sixteen Candles and Just One of the Guys than it does Iron Man or any of the other 412 previous installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It works by repurposing all that superhero stuff as a shiny new backdrop for the timeless dilemma of adolescence: How do you reconcile the person you are with the person you pretend to be? In other words, Homecoming works by doing something that no Marvel (or DC) movie has done before, something that shows how this monolithic cinematic universe might hope to sustain itself once Thanos has been vanquished to the great space armchair in the sky and modern cinema’s biggest mega-franchise becomes desperate for new ways to feel fresh.”

Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
“Spider-Man: Homecoming feels fresh off the drawing board, as if he was a character with the dew still on him. The movie is as high school as a John Hughes comedy – think The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – in which teens talk like teens instead of old-school Hollywood cynics aching to sound young. Six writers are credited with the script and I’m guessing it was a bloodbath, but what’s onscreen pops with the jumpy, unpolished energy of adolescents on the march through puberty. Homecoming gives his character and his teen trauma genuine context.”

Robert Abele (The Wrap)
“The most obvious novelty to this version of the webslinger’s story is a hammered-home reminder that while Peter Parker is a legitimate threat to any supervillain, he’s also only 15 years old. To that end, Tom Holland’s casting is a real plus, his fresh-faced buoyancy, hyper earnestness and general teen-ness a far cry from the too-old-for-high-school vibe of Maguire and especially Garfield, and placing this Spider-Man firmly in John Hughes territory.”

Angie Han (Mashable)
“What really gives Homecoming an edge, though, is its specificity. Watts sets his film in a New York City that actually feels like New York City (there are even bodega cats!), and then fills his cast with big talents who can make the most of tiny roles. You could argue that these stars are being wasted – sequel possibilities aside, why cast Zendaya or Tony Revolori to do that little? – but Homecoming gives them the room to breathe and come alive. Even a boring debate teacher played by Martin Starr will get a line or two that suggests a complicated history and hidden depths. Were Homecoming just another coming-of-age comedy, it’d be a very solid one. You could almost mistake it for one, if it weren’t for repeat appearances by the likes of Iron Man as Peter’s mentor and Vulture as Peter’s nemesis.”

Brian Truitt (USA Today)
“The remarkable and refreshing first solo adventure…for Tom Holland’s teenage superhero comes with an important to-do list — differentiate its new lead youngster from other Spider-Men, add nuance to a 55-year-old character, plus somehow tie into the overall Marvel cinematic saga without being annoying about it. Director Jon Watts’ film undoubtedly succeeds by making it about a boy rather than his wall-crawling alter ego. If nothing else, Homecoming makes this very clear: Peter Parker is an unspectacular, not-that-amazing Spider-Man, but dagnabbit, the kid’s going to be just fine.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming will open in theaters on July 7.