After his triumphant reintroduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Captain America: Civil War the new Spider-man has his work cut out for him in Spider-man: Homecoming. Thanks to the deal between Sony and Marvel Studios, Spider-man may be able to finally join his Marvel comic colleagues on screen, but is Peter Parker ready to step into the big leagues with the Avengers?

Wow. After five movies, and two other actors, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s not much left to be said about Spider-man but thanks to a little Marvel Studios magic and the right teams in front, and behind, the camera, Spider-man: Homecoming manages to be a bright, brash, fresh and above all fun antidote to “superhero fatigue”.

With a fancy new Stark-tech spider-suit from his brief stint in Tony Stark’s Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns to high school life in Queens, New York. Splitting his time between foiling very minor crimes as Spider-man and trying to negotiate the ins and outs of high school with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter desperately awaits his next call to action with the Avengers. It’s a call that never comes.

Idle Hands

Spider-man: Homecoming Pete and Ned

Stumbling across a gang of arms dealers, led by the Vulture (Michael Keaton), who are trading in some very advanced, alien weaponry, and with no help forthcoming from Tony Stark or even Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Peter decides to take them down on his own, with disastrous consequences.

After all the kerfuffle around getting Spider-man into the MCU and subsequent rumours that further adventures might not tie into MCU, it’s amazing how integral the Marvel universe is to Homecoming. Tony Stark pops up for far much more than just a cameo, Happy Hogan is a welcome presence throughout the film, Damage Control make an appearance and even the Vulture’s origin has been tied into the events of the first Avengers movie. The film is littered with references to Marvel movies and comics that make Homecoming feel like it’s a natural fit with the greater whole. Stan Lee even turns up!

The Marvel links (and Robert Downey Jnr. himself) never threaten to overwhelm the film, however. This is still Tom Holland’s film and both in and out of the suit he’s an almost perfect Peter Parker. Finally we get a Peter who’s in high school, but without the need to go over his origin story all over again. The suit effects are near perfect as well, never spoiling the illusion that it’s an actual spider-man swinging around. There’s not quite as much fun web-slinging through the concrete canyons of Manhattan as there was in the Sam Raimi movies, but Homecoming has more than enough of its own charms.

Along with Jacob Batalon as Holland’s best friend the rest of the diverse young cast are all excellent, with somewhat unexpected casting choices and trick casting for familiar characters to keep audiences on their toes.

You wanna get nuts? Come on! Let’s get nuts.

Spider-man: Homecoming Vulture

As expected, however, Michael Keaton steals the show with his take on the Vulture. With a new origin that recreates the Vulture as a working Joe who’s had to resort to some extreme criminal lengths to keep himself afloat, he’s utterly magnetic on screen without resorting to over the top theatrics. It helps that he has an insanely cool flight suit, that takes the image of a flying man with wings and meshes it with drone technology for a brutally effective result. His gang harbour a host of Easter eggs for fans of both the MCU and the comics. The only complaint you might have is that you’ll be left wanting to see more of him.

Joining Keaton in the older end of the cast, but looking like she belongs with the high-schoolers, Marisa Tomei shines as the new “hot” Aunt May. A far cry from Rosemary Harris from the Raimi films or even Sally Field from Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-man series, she injects heaps of fun into the whole experience and it may not be so easy for this Peter to pull the wool over his aunt’s eyes. There’s plenty of hints that she’ll have a very different role to past Aunt May’s in any sequels.

There’s actually a plethora of interesting ideas hinted at for sequels, from openings for possible team-ups to hints at well known alternate takes on the title character but unlike recent attempts to kick-start cinematic universes, like The Mummy, it all feels totally organic. Future sequels could completely ignore all those hanging threads, and it would be no great loss, but they provide fantastic background texture.

The Summer Blockbuster You’ve been waiting for

Spider-man: Homecoming Tom Holland

Peter’s school may be staffed with comedians like Hannibal Buress & Martin Starr but that doesn’t mean that the comedy is left to the comedians. Alongside the excellent action set pieces and plot twists that will take audiences breath away, Homecoming is funny, really funny. From comedy spider-pratfalls to amusing Marvel in-jokes, to one of the funniest post credits scenes of all time (stay after the credits, there are 2 stingers), that Homecoming is laugh out loud funny is the icing on the already hugely entertaining cake.

A great mix of action, drama, comedy and some fantastic surprises, Spider-man: Homecoming is a spectacular summer blockbuster.

Spider-man has finally come home, and I can’t wait to see where he goes next.

Starring:  Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon, Michael Keaton Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, , Bokeem Woodbine, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau and more…

Directed by: Jon Watts 

Official Site here.