(On Cable TV, March 2018) Like most, I was very skeptical of yet another attempt to reboot the Spider-Man series. Only the idea that Marvel Studio was the creative force behind Spider-Man: Homecoming (and the affirmation that the film would fit within the MCU) kept me hopeful. As it happens, this new integrated take on the character is completely successful. Indeed coming back home to the character’s spiritual and physical origins, Homecoming manages a fresh take on an overexposed character, seamlessly blending him with the rest of the superhero universe and also taking on the Marvel house style honed to perfection over the past ten years. While I liked Andree Garfield a lot as Spider-Man, Tom Holland brings the required wide-eyed naiveté to the character, making the relationship with father-surrogate Tony Stark even more interesting. Strong action sequences and a credible villain (leading to an honestly surprising moment midway through the film where Peter Parker and Spider-Man’s identities come crashing together) do much to make the film fun, but so do the de-rigueur touches of humour and self-conscious goofiness. By choosing to depict a looser, funnier, younger Spider-Man, the MCU creative team has found a terrific antidote to the increasingly dour direction the character was taking, and the result is irresistibly fun. The integration even works at the story level, as the film deals with the fallout of having alien invasions and superheroes running around; the MCU is maturing nicely as it grows older. Veteran actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei and Michael Keaton are used expertly to ground the film, while among the high-school crowd, Zendaya is remarkable despite having nearly nothing to do (at least until the sequel.) Homecoming adds up to a surprisingly entertaining movie, even more so given the low expectations. Once again, Marvel Studio defies the odds.