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Arts & Life

Movie Review: 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'


Spider-Man is back in action on the big screen - you know, being a teenager, fighting crime, trying to earn big bucks at the box office. Yep, this is the third Spidey in recent memory. And this one even has Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man.


TOM HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) I get to keep the suit?

ROBERT DOWNEY JR: (As Tony Stark) Of course. Doesn't fit me. Just don't do anything I would do. And definitely don't do anything I wouldn't do. There's a little gray area in there, and that's where you operate.

KELLY: (Laughter) OK. Here to tell us all about this is our high-flying film critic Kenneth Turan. Hi there, Ken.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise. How you doing?

KELLY: I am well. Thank you. I'm also trying to keep track here. There was Tobey Maguire, then there was Andrew Garfield. Who is the new Spider-Man?

TURAN: His name is Tom Holland. He's a young British actor, a very young Spider-Man. He was 19 when he was cast. Basically known as a stage actor in Britain, he was in "Billy Elliot." And, you know, he has this way of playing Spider-Man that is, for me, overly enthusiastic - just really a lot of energy, a lot of nervousness, a lot of saying awesome all the time. It sounds OK in a clip, but over the course of a long movie, it just wore me out.

KELLY: It was too awesome for you.

TURAN: (Laughter) That is possible.

KELLY: Now, how does Iron Man fit into all of this?

TURAN: You know, this is part of the, kind of, Marvel-ization (ph) of all of Hollywood. Marvel came up with this idea of making their films interconnect. And it was so successful because the fans all want to collect the entire set. It meant a lot of box office. Every other studio in Hollywood, practically, has tried to do the same thing.

Warner Brothers has interconnected films now. Universal is thinking about it. And this is Sony trying to catch onto the bandwagon, hiring Marvel to make "Spider-Man" fit into that Marvel world that makes so much money.

KELLY: The idea being that if you're an "Iron Man" fan, maybe you'll come see this. And they get a whole new crowd that comes in. But it sounds like you think this didn't quite pull it off?

TURAN: No, I think that really it works in fits and starts. You know, some things work in this film. There's a wonderful villain played by Michael Keaton as a blue-collar guy with a grievance, really a very effective characterization. The stunts are always good. And this one has a really remarkable stunt of Spider-Man climbing up the Washington Monument. But the character of Spider-Man just wore me out. There's just really no other way to put it.

KELLY: Wore you out in what way?

TURAN: Well, there's just too much teenage, kind of, wild and craziness. It almost - and it didn't feel like genuine teenagers to me. It felt more like a Hollywood screenwriter's idea of the way teenagers act, you know, teenagers that reminded me of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland of, you know, almost a hundred years ago.

KELLY: I guess the question is whether teenagers will find it too teenager-y (ph) or whether they will be flocking in droves.

TURAN: Well, again, that's why they have the interconnected universe. They have a certain number of people, as you say, that will show up because it's a Marvel film, and Captain America is in there. And everyone is in there that you know from all the other films, so this has kind of turned into a guaranteed way to make money.

KELLY: Well, before we let you go, Ken, tell us something you did love. Anything you want to quickly put on our radar to get out there and see this weekend?

TURAN: Well, there's a really charming film called "The Big Sick" that a lot of people have been talking about. It's a romantic comedy, but it's got a serious side. It's really the kind of entertaining, smart film that, kind of, Hollywood used to do when it cared about things besides superheroes.

KELLY: All right. There with the latest recommendations, no matter what your taste in films, Kenneth Turan. He reviews movies here at MORNING EDITION and also for the Los Angeles Times. Ken Turan, thank you.

TURAN: Thank you, Mary Louise. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.