In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' Tom Holland's Peter Parker Finally Comes Home NPR movie critic Bob Mondello reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland as the youngest actor to play the screen's youngest superhero.


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In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' Tom Holland's Peter Parker Finally Comes Home

In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' Tom Holland's Peter Parker Finally Comes Home

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NPR movie critic Bob Mondello reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland as the youngest actor to play the screen's youngest superhero.


There have been five "Spider-Man" movies already starring two different Spider-Men, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. They've been hugely successful - so no surprise a sixth opens tonight. Critic Bob Mondello says true to the title, "Spider-Man: Homecoming," the main character seems finally to have come home.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Pretty near the start of this movie, everybody's favorite spider teen is coming home, literally climbing through a window in his Aunt May's apartment, crawling across the ceiling as one does when one is spider-bitten, taking off his mask as he turns around and seeing his best friend, Ned, sitting there in shock.


MARISA TOMEI: (As May Parker) What was that?

TOM HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) Nothing, nothing.

JACOB BATALON: (As Ned) You're the Spider-Man from YouTube.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) I'm not.

BATALON: (As Ned) You were on the ceiling.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) No, I wasn't. Ned, what are you doing in my room?

BATALON: (As Ned) May let me in. You said we were going to finish the Death Star. She doesn't know.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) Nobody knows. Well, I mean Mr. Stark knows 'cause he made my suit, but that's it.

BATALON: (As Ned) Tony Stark made you that. Are you an Avenger?

MONDELLO: I should probably back up a little. Superheroes used to stand alone. Now they come in packs. The first two spider dudes were old school. Their world was just theirs. This new one has joined what's called the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning he interacts with the other Marvel characters. He sort of is an Avenger though not full-fledged yet. Tony Stark has him on a short leash, interning, as it were.


HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) You can't tell anybody about this. You got to keep it a secret.

BATALON: (As Ned) A secret - why?

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) You know what she's like. If she finds out people try and kill me every single night, she's not going to let me do this anymore.

MONDELLO: Peter Parker's always been a teenager, but Tom Holland's super kid is the first who seems like he could actually be a classmate of Ferris Bueller's or the folks in "The Breakfast Club." He and his best buddy, who's played by Jacob Batalon are funny, awkward and real - John Hughes teenagers more or less.


BATALON: (As Ned) Dude, you have a suit, right? This is going to change our lives. We're going to have Spider-Man swing in, say you guys are tight. And then I get a fist bump or one of those half bro hugs.

MONDELLO: Spidey's antagonist, a trucker who's cleaning up the mess from the first Avengers movie and keeping some alien-powered souvenirs, feels decently real, too, partly because he's played by Michael Keaton...


MICHAEL KEATON: (As Adrian Toomes) The world's changing. It's time will change, too.

MONDELLO: ...But also because the screenplay gives him persuasive blue-collar reasons to be ticked off at the government and at billionaire Tony Stark. There are other bright spots - the girl Peter has a crush on, the girl who maybe has a crush on him, the wonderful Marisa Tomei as Aunt May.


TOMEI: (As May Parker) What's the matter? I thought you loved larb. It's too larby, not larby enough? How many times do I have to say larb before you talk to me? You know I larb you.

MONDELLO: But what makes this homecoming fun is Holland, who seems as excited about Spider-Man as his classmates even though he is Spider-Man. At one point, he shows off a selfie video he took while he was in somebody else's Marvel movie.


HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) I was in a fight with Captain America. And I stole his shield, and I threw it at him, and - what the hell? He's big now. I got to go.

MONDELLO: We also see him learning to use the spider suit Tony Stark made for him...


KERRY CONDON: (As Friday) Good evening, Peter.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) Whoa.

CONDON: (As Friday) You have 576 possible web-shooter combination.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) That is awesome.

MONDELLO: ...And just generally having a ball imagining his own about-to-be glory even when he's screwing up...


HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) No, no, no, no.

MONDELLO: ...As when he misjudges things on the Staten Island Ferry, which gives director Jon Watts a special effects showpiece and gets Peter chastised by his mentor.


ROBERT DOWNEY JR: (As Tony Stark) What if somebody had died?

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) I was just trying to be like you.

DOWNEY JR: (As Tony Stark) I wanted you to be better. I'm going to need the suit back.

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) But I'm nothing without this suit.

DOWNEY JR: (As Tony Stark) If you're nothing without this suit, then you shouldn't have it.

MONDELLO: Tough love. Happily, Tom Holland's Spidey is not nothing without the suit. He just has to grow into it. No question the suit suits him. I'm Bob Mondello.


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