Wednesday, 5 July 2017



Birdman Returns.

133 Mins. Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Marisa Tomei , Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly, Chris Evans & Michael Keaton. Director: Jon Watts.

Along came another Spider. Catch him if you can. Because Tom Holland may have been an incy wincy when Tobey Maguire climbed up the water spout and kissed M.J. upside down like he was hanging from below a basketball rim, but now this kid is going places. Now dig on this. Sure the cat Andrew Garfield was 'Amazing' as Spider-Man (and if you're annoyed by that just think of these reboots as different incarnations just like the comics), but this one is superior in it's Marvel 'Homecoming' by rights of a deal with Sony. It's the makings of an Amazing Fantasy we didn't think we'd see come true 'till at least the year 2099. Worlds changing boys! Time our friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man changed too. And after making his Avenging, airport runway, 'Civil War' cameo debut (if you missed it there is a teen-fun selfie mode recap for you), stealing Captain America's shield and Empire Striking Back the Empire State Building tall Ant-Man, it's clear this kid from Queens destination is Holland. And now in great, young Brit Tom's New York 'Homecoming' the arachnid goes up against a famous avian superhero, taking wing again with some Iron will and Stark-tech, Under Armour like suit and tights. In a coming of age, web-shooting tale with even more shocks to the system from 'Cop Car' director Jon Watts bringing us New York's finest. And in this young Marvel origin story without Uncle Ben's rice, this John Hughes locker-room, 'Breakfast Club' portion of Peter Parker sees Spidey wanting to take the training wheels off his Iron Man suit. All whilst trying to stop a gang of vultures from stealing weapons from previous Avengers battles that stretch back to the Chitauri incident. Think of this as a full length version of the Lizzy Caplan 'Item 47' from the Marvel One-Shot short docket. And we thought the 'Defenders' cleared all that up. Time for some real 'Damage Control'. But in an 'Infinity' prelude year of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2', 'Thor-Ragnarok' and of course 'Logan' and all the small-screen and Netflix heroes we could watch the kid Tom Holland spin the webs Marvel weaves forever. This spider could even take on all the Summers 'Kong', 'Ape' and 'Mummy' monsters. Let alone the amazement of D.C.'s amazon 'Wonder Woman' queen. Because not even a 'Fast and Furious', 'Baby Driver' could outrun the Marvel blockbuster machine when it comes to this time of year they own. There's no place like home. And there's no movie like 'Homecoming'.

Holland really is something as Marvel go dutch with Sony over Spidey. The young Tom thumb breakout star of 'The Impossible' doing as such really can do anything a spider can. This former West End 'Billy Elliot' stage-diving, back-flipping, acrobatic talent catches thieves just like flies. And we didn't even see him get bit. Still this dude is radioactive hot. In this Holland age, the Englishman in New York really masters the Queens American. What more could you expect from an accented performer who started his career with some car phone voice acting, locked in the cofides of Tom Hardy's fury road Motorway drama 'Locke'? And expect more Venom from the Bane voiced villain in the Sony speakers of the MCU soon. Just when you thought the sought after super power turned down Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse role in 'X-Men' to replace Hugh Jackman as Wolverine's Logan. But before this Marvel agent of change goes back to black, Holland shows us he's the real Spider no Miles Morales (unfortunatly). Mastering the two faced, shy and cocky dynamic of Peter Parker and Spider-Man like he wish he could his homework for his Spanish quiz. Or how he wishes to pass all his Stark Internship, Avengers assignments so he can join the team. As the closest he gets to suiting up with them here is a masked robbery scene at some ATM's as funny and groovy baby as that Mike Myers mask heist in 'Baby Driver'. If this doesn't get your spidey senses tingling then I don't know what will. Maybe Robert Downey? As the Iron legion of Jr. taking junior under his wing makes for an interesting controlling father/coming of age son family dynamic that even plays R.D.J's Iron Man character as a sort of psudo-villain and Stark contrast to the actual one. And with his towering tech theft being the issue here, this N.Y.C. film is as R.D.J. as the man who started this Avenger initiative to infinity back in '08. But even if this film looks like 'Iron Man 2' (and here's an Easter Egg for you, this Spider boy first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe unofficially as a masked kid making a good job out of taking on Whiplash's iron drones at the Stark Expo in said movie) all the way down to the billboard poster it's not all about the billionaire, playboy, philantropist who has been crashing solo films since he picked a fight with Captain America in 'Civil War'. Even if the cocksure charisma machine has the best one liners in this movie or Stark moments in any Iron Man feature as he hugs it out with Tom, this isn't about Tony. This is as much about getting over the man as it is getting even with "dad". But this is not to take away from a responsible Robert, great guardian performance from Downey Jr., putting a new spin on the "power" speech. And even in going back to the outstanding outfit, ownership origins this Iron/Spider suit-up just fits like spandex.

Happy Hogan is back like Friday (or another Jarvis like, suit vocal assist here outfitted by actual wife of Vision, Paul Bettany (no not the Scarlet Witch), Ang-Lee's 'Hulk' star Jennifer Connelly...minus the body) to start the weekend feeling too, as speaking of 'Iron Man 2' former director Jon Favreau is still a Marvel and fan favourite. All the way down to his hilarious, extended previews in the Golden State Warriors/Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals promo crossovers featuring cameos from everyone from Laker legend Magic Johnson to Miami beach one DJ Khaled. And how about the great Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts sprinkling for another one? Just when you thought she and Stark were on a Ross and Rachael and just friends. This film is full of top 90's breakthrough talent, all the way down to Marisa Tomei's Aunt "Hottie" Mae showing mothers sisters come in all shapes and sizes you know. Her Miss Parker follows the mothering path that Sally Field nurtured and left in 'T.A.S.M.'. But it's the new school of kids that are the leaders of this Avenger academy. From best friend Ned, Jacob Batalan with no Osborne baggage and Goblin envy (just a cool Doctor Jones hat), to "M.J." like crush interest Laura Harrier. And then of course there's star of the moment with one name like Beyonce, Zendaya and the Flash of Tony Revolori, all Thompson, no ignorant racism. This is as high-school 'Confident' as the Demi Lovato backing beat. These kids are more than alright. And the diversity...beautiful. And even if they do get out of line commanding, howling, 'Wolf Of Wall Street' principal Kenneth Choi who presided over 'The People vs O.J. Simpson' will show them his authority like the hilarious Hannibal Buress in comic support. And then of course there's 'Atlanta', 'Martian', Childish Gambino. Better known as Donald Glover and soon to be a young Lando in the 'Han Solo', 'Star Wars' story. And many thought he was going to be another Spider-Man here too in the form of Miles Morales, who he has already played in an animated feature. But the Don, maverick multi-talent who is creating and voicing his own 'Deadpool' cartoon is actually another legendary Marvel comic character you might know as The Prowler. Who is closer to Miles than you think. Either way, showing up in an hilarious parking lot interrogation scene this dude is a real marvel. And this all-star cast has it all. Right down to the Stanley cameo. Even the skinny kid from Brooklyn with a P.S.A. But the real super power here belongs to the Vulture villain, modern-day tech upgrade update in airman American Eagle feathered leather. Played by a legend no stranger to capes. Especially avain ones taking flight (see the Easter Egg on the dark side of the moon?). The superhero spotlight is back on original Batman (after West, Rest In Peace), Michael Keaton, who sent himself and the tights genre up in the Oscar winning 'Birdman', playing father to Gwen Stacy's own Emma Stone. But here is an unexpected virtue as an Academy actor not ignorant to the comic cinematic crossover he helped found. Armed with two dual Shocker gauntlets carried by the brilliant Bokeem Woodbine and the Hardy lookalike Logan Marshall-Green of 'Prometheus' prequel fame, no relation to Venom...or the Wolverine, Keaton is the best thing about this movie not named Tony or Tom. Or the broken wings finale. Soaring after an elevating and monumental set-piece moment in D.C. (Washington). Full of heart and paying soulful homage to both Andrew Garfield's Gwen Stacy and Tobey Maguire's M.J. And the Staten Island Ferry splitting catalyst that divides Iron and Spider-Man like Manhattan and Brooklyn. But the bird is still the word as you really will need two of the worlds most famous heroes to deal with this sky-high threat. But we think Parker without Tony could take on the sand and the electricity of the rest of the Sinister Six all on his own. Thanks to director Jon Watts turning it up a notch...and then some. He could even have it out with Doc Oc, Kraven the Hunter or the fish-bowl head of Mysterio. And don't get us started with the comic Carnage of Oscorp or giant lizards in Kingpin's New York. Here's one house spider you won't want to hit with a rolled up copy of todays Daily Bugle. Damn Holland is just that good! And you'll be glad Tom has the great responsibility for all this super great power. Underoos is undeniable as Spider-Man's ultimate. Now that's really amazing! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'Captain America: Civil War', 'The Amazing Spider-Man', 'Spider-Man 2'.

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