Everyone’s favourite web-slinging wunderkind is back in his latest incarnation, played by plucky embryo Tom Holland. That’s right, the latest Spider-Man movie will bring the iconic superhero to a whole new audience, who weren’t around when Spidey was last seen on the big screen. So anyone under five.
For this we have corporate self-preservation to thank. Spider-Man’s last re-boot, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, was created because Sony were on the brink of losing rights to the character so needed to stick him in another film.
Now, after its sequel under-performed, they’re going for a slice of a bigger pie and licensing the character to Marvel’s wildly successful Cinematic Universe. The result is a film which contains product placement from Sony and Star Wars references from Disney.
Holland is probably the best Peter Parker to date. Unlike Andrew Garfield he doesn’t possess typical movie star good looks, which makes him more convincing as the weird kid in school. And unlike Toby McGuire he’s under 30, which means he can be in a school without looking like he should be arrested.
It’s a franchise as obviously running out of villains as it is running out of titles. Michael Keaton does his best as “Vulture”, but the conclusion that it’s his fourth best superhero movie is hard to escape.
They make the most of the Marvel connection with plenty of references to the Avengers. Robert Downey Jr and accompanying Iron Man characters crop up. But while Tony Stark featured heavily in the trailer, he’s thankfully used sparingly, allowing the likable and energetic Holland to be the star.
Less good is the film’s long running time, the action sequences which have nothing new to offer and the dramatic notes we’ve heard before. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is sidelined to allow Tony Stark to take on the mentor role, but this will only be a problem for Spider-Man purists.
The self-aware humour that’s woven into the fabric of the MCU is also starting to feel rather old. This might have been a fresh and exciting film if it was made fifteen years ago, but as Spidey’s sixth outing since 2002 he’s not got many places left to go.