Spider-Man: Homecoming (12A)
Tommy’s Honour (PG)
This is more like it, Marvel! The tone is less portentously galactic than usual: think Harry- Potter-meets-James Bond, with Tom Holland as a frankly adorable young Spidey for us Mums to coo over (secretly, of course) while teenagers identify with anxious passion as he stumbles through puberty.
Even his foe is quite cosy: Michael Keaton as a smalltime scrap merchant who turns to the dark side when his contract is cancelled by a bossy official.
He starts selling criminals alien techno-weapons from the Age of Ultron business, and builds a rickety-looking giant flying mechanical crow called The Vulture to get around in.
Pictured: A scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming
Meanwhile Peter Parker, proud to be an intern for The Avengers at 15, is equally worried about his awkwardness talking to girls and his detention record.
The sight of him struggling into his ridiculous stretchy suit and hood is endearing, like any shy lad getting the wrong sleeve in the changing-room: only his occasional flying somersaults raise suspicion when he’s in civvies.
When his geeky stout friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), does discover his secret Spiderman identity he mainly asks embarrassing questions like ‘do you lay eggs’? Poor Spidey blushes.
Indeed for all the CGI-jinks (well up to standard) this is as much a high-school movie as classic superhero stuff.
The Vulture swoops around spectacularly and engages in a final vast aerial battle with our hero, the Staten Island Ferry gets sliced in half lengthways and strenuously and not entirely effectively sewn together by super-silk, and our hero takes a physical bashing while rescuing people from the Washington Monument lift.
But it’s the kid’s emotional journey which holds it together. When Peter falls in love he has to face the tricky fact that his prom-date’s father has a dark side; when he’s told off by Iron Man and loses his internship he burns with shame; and like any kid he still quite likes building Death-Star models on the bedroom floor with Ned.
He does not see that among his schoolmates the clever Michelle (Zendaya) would be a far better bet for him than the villain’s daughter. Michelle indeed gets some killer lines: challenged as to why she turns up in detention class when she hasn’t even been sent there, she snarls: ‘I just like to sketch people in crisis.’
She is almost Hermione.
There’s always a father-son dynamic in the Marvel legends, and any golfing grandads worn out and deafened by a Spiderman trip will find, in some nearby screen, a gentler take on that eternal male relationship.
Pictured: Jason Connery’s reverent Scottish film Tommy’s Honour
Jason Connery’s quiet, reverent Scottish film Tommy’s Honour tells the true story of ‘the founding family of modern golf’, Thomas Morris of St Andrews and his son young Tommy, a sporting genius and still the youngest winner of the Open. It moves through the 1860s and ’70s at a measured pace amid the dunes and lowlands, where one match after another sees our heroes — Peter Mullan as old Tommy and Jack Lowden as the son — face triumphs and setbacks.
ALWAYS in the rough, they chip the ball out of rockpools and rubble, usually against a backdrop of keen, bewhiskered and sometimes brawling spectators.
The heart of the story is the conflict between the two, driven by tradition and class.
Old Tom, raised a poor hand-loom weaver’s son, is devoted to the game’s technique but willing to stay a poor caddy and greenkeeper, patronised by the abominable chairman of the Royal And Ancient Club of St Andrews (Sam Neill) and his grandee members, who play in ludicrous top hats and red frock-coats.
Young Tom confronts them, plays better than anyone, makes real money and refuses to spend his life ‘on my knees, teein’ up for gentlemen who despise me’.
He further rebels by marrying Meg Drinnen, an older woman with a past. Condemned as a ‘fornicatrix wi’ a bastard child!’, she is spiritedly played, by Olivia Lovibond, through to a very Victorian death. But in truth my notebook is covered mainly with the word WHISKERS!
Never have I seen such luxuriant face foliage: immense beards of all hues, sideburns down to the jaw, foot-long moustaches, a white forest of mad whiskers on the preacher who inveighs against the worldly ambition of young Tommy rejecting the ‘station in which God has placed him’.
Even the gloriously watch-able, earnest Lowden (a stage Olivier winner) has to grow a terrible spiv moustache.
So an extra follicle-work credit to Magi Vaughan, who got an Emmy for Downton Abbey hairdos.
There have never been whiskers like them, never.