Marvel Studios' interconnected superhero universe keeps kicking ass with Spiderman: Homecoming, the third reboot in the franchise, now with newcomer Tom Holland as the titular Spidey. The what's-right elements of the film are many: no tired origin story, superior cast (including an actually young Peter Parker, because wasn't Toby Maguire, like, 37 and who the hell is Andrew Garfield anyway?), a healthy mix of humor interspersed throughout the melodrama and, most importantly, summer fun.

We follow Spiderman as he desperately tries to win favor with Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jr. himself) and, by extension, the full-on Avengers. Our hero is just 15, so he's obviously brash and impatient. But he still acts as the hero of Queens, curbing crime and flinging all over the damn place with his web-shooters. But when a one-time salvage crew foreman (Michael Keaton) is screwed out of a job by some covert and newly founded government/Stark Industries alien collateral damage joint cleanup department, the class of criminal in NYC shoots up into the super-villain strata, whereupon also Spiderman is tangled up in the high-stakes world of alien tech-propelled murder and mayhem.

Keaton is a goddamn treasure as The Vulture, an everyman father-type pushed to extreme measures—and a pretty nifty flying super-suit—because of class warfare or something. Holland excels as well, providing a perfect balance between petulant youth and accidental hero; the quieter, tenser moments between the two are superb, especially in Keaton's more restrained "Imma kill your ass!" scenes.

Overall, the story (from Freaks and Geeks alum John Francis Daley) provides more complexity than we're accustomed to from the Spiderman world, and director Jon Watts makes sure the dramatics never quite reach over-the-top. He prefers instead to zero in on the wise-cracking, web-dangling, lady-saving Spidey we've come to know and love over most of our lifetimes. Is this high cinema? God, no—but you'll have a blast and a half the entire time, and that's not nothing.


+Finally properly embraces the source material
-Y'know, mainstream cinema is never perfect


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Spiderman: Homecoming
Directed by Watts
With Holland, Keaton and Downey Jr.
Regal, Violet Crown,
133 min.