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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Early Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

Variety logo Variety 6/29/2017 Erin Nyren
© Provided by Variety

Spider-Man is no stranger to the screen — three different actors have played Peter Parker in film adaptations in the 21st century alone. That said, he’s also one of the most beloved superheroes to come out of Marvel, which is — according to critics — part of what makes “Spider-Man: Homecoming” so successful.

With an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%, critics in general are pleased with “Homecoming’s” ability to marry superhero spectacle with John Hughes-esque feelings. Unlike many other popular super heroes, this time around Spider-Man is not a “man” at all — he’s a teenager.

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman wrote that “Homecoming” succeeds because it keeps this point in mind: “The film’s novelty is that Spider-Man, though he’s been enshrined by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as an Avengers apprentice, barely has a handle on how to harness his powers, or what to do with them.”

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich goes even further by painting “Homecoming” as Marvel’s future. By shifting the emphasis from cookie-cutter superhero plot to adolescent discovery, “‘Homecoming’ works by allowing itself to become an actual genre film … It’s the first of its kind to appreciate that today’s assembly-line blockbusters are neutered by their need to fit a unique brands into a one-size-fits-all action template.”

Critics seem divided on the often-controversial third act finale — some are calling the CGI boring, while others cast it in the same overwrought terms that other Marvel films have earned. Still others praise the last-minute twist for providing edge-of-your-seat thrills. They lauded the casting choice of Tom Holland, who is younger than his predecessors.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” hits theaters July 7. See more critical responses below:

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman:

“Yet coming after the two Andrew Garfield ‘Spider-Man’ films, which were the definition of super-forgettable competence, the movie is just distinctive enough, in concept and execution, to connect and become a sizable hit. If so, it could prove a key transitional film in the greater cinematic universe of comic-book movies.”

IndieWire’s David Ehrlich:

“The movie works when the Avengers noise is a means, not an end, but Watts (and / or his corporate overlords) aren’t entirely comfortable with that, and so — like the overeager teenager at its heart — trips over itself as it tries to be all things to all people. Tony Stark is a surprisingly tolerable supporting character, but the MCU-ness of it all still can’t help but distract this movie from the story it so desperately wants to tell.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt:

“In a city where the average citizen seems to accept Avengers as a fact of daily life as common as a rat on the subway or a Starbucks on the corner, ‘Homecoming’s’ Parker is still consistently, winningly wowed by his own capabilities…But he can seem ordinary to the point of confounding the storyline, too — less a supercharged arachnid than an adorable puppy with special powers, or the YA dreamboat on an exceptionally well-cast Nickelodeon wizard show.”

Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers:

“It’s no accident that ‘Homecoming’ is the most fun when it’s flying by the seat of its pants. There’s a spontaneous charge to the film, a euphoric innocence, that makes it a much-needed antidote to stale franchise formula.”

USA Today’s Brian Truitt:

“Holland not only looks the part of a 15-year-old but portrays the needed vulnerability, immaturity and jocularity of his comic-book counterpart that was sorely missed in previous movie incarnations. His Peter Parker nerds out for Mike Piazza and Star Wars Legos, accepts a free churro after saving an old lady, and gets best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) to jailbreak the programming on his supersuit. Previous Spidey movies had him majestically swing through Manhattan — this one has him crashing through a suburban neighborhood and scaring backyard campers.”

The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee:

“The refreshing joy of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is that it’s a relatively self-contained piece of entertainment. Sure, it exists very much within the Avengers canon, but a finely crafted script builds the bridges with care, and storytelling rather than cold commercialism is apparently the film’s key concern.”

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