Spider-Man: Homecoming

After five Spider-Man films, with "high schooler" Peter Parker looking distinctly twenty-ish and dealing with one tragic death after another, here we finally have the lighter touch so fondly remembered from the old Spider-Man animated series, and the throwaway adventures the superhero had in his '60s/'70s comics heyday. For once, Peter looks genuinely 15 years old (even though British actor Tom Holland was 20 when Spider-Man: Homecoming was shot). His classmates are also overwhelmingly teenaged and awkward. And I counted exactly one death in this film, that of a minor villain. No tragedy there.

So for better or worse, Spider-Man: Homecoming is like an enjoyable comic book that you can plow through on a boring afternoon, then toss aside as you wait for the next issue.

Sony, who has long held onto the cinematic rights to the character, finally caved in and admitted that they had run out of ideas, so they partnered up with Marvel Studios and their genius über-producer Kevin Feige, bringing Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus we have Robert Downey Jr. in a strong supporting role as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and the plot itself stems from the aftermath of The Avengers: a cleanup crew led by Michael Keaton pinches some of the alien technology left over from Loki's attack on New York City, and a few years later they've developed some nefarious weapons with it. A clever idea, and it's good to see Marvel finally addressing the elephant that Joss Whedon put in the room, that an army of aliens attacked Earth. So Spider-Man, whose origins we no longer need to rehash, decides to investigate, against the wishes of his mentor Stark. Superhero movie ensues.

Holland, with his squeaky voice and baby face, is perfect – provided you always envisioned Spidey as an adolescent. Because there's more of a focus on his high school shenanigans and relationships, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a much more kid-friendly film than any of its darker, more violent predecessors.

It's breezy, it's funny, it's fun. The third act isn't quite the usual hero vs. villain battle to the death, which is refreshing. The nicely diverse cast is peppered with great character actors, and Michael Giacchino's heist-y score delivers as usual.

Is it great? No. It's pretty forgettable, in fact – this lighter tone betrays a lack of ambition, and journeyman director Watts lacks Sam Raimi's visual daring. But there's nothing wrong with the film. It's solid summer entertainment.