In the narrow universe that represents the target audience for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” one has to hope it hits all the right notes.
Harkening back to the web-slinger’s true Marvel comic book character – a wise-cracking, motor-mouthed high school teen who just so happens to have been bitten by a radioactive spider and now has super powers – Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is certainly due for a makeover after the once-promising turn by Tobey Maguire and the truly disappointing Andrew Garfield. But, given the low-key, third-string attempt here, one has to wonder if this rollout should have been more suited for the small screen.
Don’t get me wrong, Holland does good work here, but only after he has had a chance to inhabit the character for at least an hour into the film’s running time, most of which is spent expressing his fawning desire to become one of The Avengers.
The problem seems to be with a script that seems too much in love with the “teen boy experience,” as seen through the eyes of jaded male Hollywood writers, among which there are at least six who share credits. Of them is director of this film and “The Onion News Network’s” Jon Watts, who keeps the action revved up higher than a sophomore on a Red Bull and Skittles diet.
Interestingly, the film’s opening takes yet another jab at The Avengers’ above-the-law status. A lowly private salvage contractor named Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), hired by the city of New York to clean up the still-existing mess left over from the nearly earth-shattering battle from “The Avengers” (2013), is suddenly told by a team of government spooks that his services will no longer be needed because some of the debris contains alien technology. Of course, before Toomes and his guys exit, they find ways to stash some of this sensitive material for themselves.
Flash forward several years. Now, Toomes has built a lucrative business building and selling powerful weapons that are being sold on the black market. Toomes himself has built a flying suit and calls himself Vulture. In the meantime, 15-year-old Peter is eager to capitalize on his participation with The Avengers seen in “Civil War.” But, his mentor, Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), wants to put the brakes on the kid, believing he’s too young and inexperienced to handle the death and destruction that might befall him.
Then, one night while acting as the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” Peter happens upon a robbery being committed with said weapons and figures out this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Being a kid who runs around with his bromance buddy, Ned (Jacob Batalon), while pining for the Midtown School of Science and Technology’s academic decathlon team leader, Liz (Laura Harrier), Peter tries hard to juggle school, his “Stark internship” and home life with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). But, at some point, as Stark would have it, Peter will have to live up to the responsibility of the suit he’s been given.
The target audience will also hopefully grow along with him.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.
Also showing in Taos
The following was edited from press materials.
Lost in Paris
MPAA rating: Not rated, but does contain some sexual content, brief language and slapstick violence
Movies at the TCA
Filmed in Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s signature whimsical style, “Lost in Paris” stars the filmmakers as a small-town Canadian librarian and a strangely seductive, oddly egotistical vagabond.
Martha (Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva), an 80-year-old former Canadian dancer, has been living in Paris for decades. Now losing her head, she is threatened to be sent to an old people’s home.
No way. Martha decides to call her niece, Canadian librarian Fiona (Fiona Gordon), for help. Alas, when her relative arrives in the French capital, Martha has disappeared. Worse, Fiona loses both her identity documents and money after falling into the Seine.
Now alone in Paris, the young woman is desperate. It is at this point that Dom (Dominique Abel), a homeless man who lives in a tent on the Île aux Cygnes, unexpectedly comes into her life – for better or worse.
Replete with the amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick that have come to define Abel and Gordon’s work, “Lost in Paris” is a wondrously fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights.
Riva died less than two months before the film was released in France.
“Cruel comic mishaps may be this movie’s raison d’être, but they are softened at every turn by the gentle humanity of the city’s inhabitants, and by the unspoken sense that everything will turn out fine in the end,” writes critic Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times.
Eli Fine, writing for The Young Folks online, gives an opposing view, saying, “‘Lost in Paris,’ the new film by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, is the ultimate cinematic irritant. ... What it comes down to, ultimately, is your tolerance threshold for annoying ripped-off Wes Anderson formalism.”
This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (July 16) and Wednesday (July 19) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Tuesday (July 17-18). There are additional screenings Saturday (July 22) at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Movies at the TCA, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.