July 11, 2017 -- While the first two Spider-Man movies (2002 and 2004) directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, still remain unmatched in this long-running Marvel saga, this new Spider-Man movie is a very good reboot, a bit slow-moving at first, perhaps, but when it hits its stride, it is very effective.
This Spider-Man has the usual teen angst, but without the off-putting, sourpuss, hang dog nature of Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man (2012 and 2014). The new Spider-Man, or should we say Spider-Boy, played by Tom Holland, originally appeared in last year's best superhero movie, “Captain America: Civil War.” This story picks up where that story left off.
In this new Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland plays a version of the title character, Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who looks and acts more like a high school kid than the other actors who have recently played the same character. To me, he seemed more believable, in some respects, at least, although he seems to know an awful lot about science without studying.
Parker wants to be a member of the Avengers, but his mentors, Tony Stark (played, as always, by Robert Downey Jr.) and Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau, an actor and producer who also directed “Iron Man” and “The Jungle Book) are determined to monitor his activities through the unbelievably advanced capabilities of his high tech Spider-Man suit. Disobeying orders, he sets out to find and capture a mysterious man who is selling advanced technology to criminals.
The film starts out with a kind of prologue which explains how the advanced weapons technology fell into the hands of criminals in the first place. This part of the plot looks like it could have been developed from the Avengers “One Shot” short film titled “Item 47.” In his attempts to find the source of these weapons, Parker gets into more and more trouble, causing a fantastic amount of property damage, until Tony Stark finally takes back the high tech Spider-Man suit, telling Parker that if he feels like he is nothing without the suit, then Parker doesn't deserve it.
Besides Parker, a couple of interesting new characters are developed for this story, Parker's school friends, geeky Ned (Jacob Batalon) who is overjoyed to be Spider-Man's sidekick. Another interesting classmate is Michelle (Zendaya of the “Shake It Up!” TV series) a smart and observant outsider at school.
The most interesting character in the film, however, is the villain, a blue-collar guy who works his way to the top by secret criminal activity. He is a curious combination of Trump voter loss-of-white-male-privilege-anger, and left-wing Occupy Wall Street anger. His speeches have phrases like these: “The rich and the powerful, like Stark, they don’t care about us.” In other words, the game is rigged. The rich have every advantage and regular guys can only get ahead by stepping outside the system.
This film introduces us to a new, younger, more upbeat, lively Spider-Man and some good new characters, including a more complex, believable villain than one usually sees in these kinds of films. The writing and acting is very good, especially by Holland, Michael Keaton, Batalon and Zendaya. The film's direction, by the relatively unknown Jon Watts, is very good and production values are high. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.