Spider-man: Homecoming – Review

Hello interweb, Nate here!  Whoa, that was awesome!  Spoiler free opinion?  Really good movie!  Go see it, you’ll enjoy it.  Trust me, it’s worth the money to see it on the big screen.  From this point on, SPOILER WARNING!  Let me say that again, SPOILER WARNING! One more time SPOILER WARNING!!!  Trust me, you do NOT want to be spoiled.  If you think you’re fine with spoilers, HEY!  *Slaps your face*  Don’t read this until you see the movie!

Side note: Buckle up!  Cause this’ll be a long one!

Movie Info

Movie Title: Spider-man: Homecoming

Produced by: Marvel Comics

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers

Director: Jon Watts

Producer: Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal

Running Time: 2 hrs 13 min

 

Review

This movie was really good.  It’s not quite Spider-man 2 good, but it’s by far the second best Spider-man movie out there.  It’s biggest issue, and the reason this film isn’t quite as good as Spider-man 2, is that it’s actually a surprisingly shallow movie when everything’s all said and done.  You don’t really notice that while watching the movie (or at least, I didn’t) but after comparing this movie to Spider-man 2 and remembering the complexity and well-written characters that Sam Raimi’s film produced, Spider-man: Homecoming just fell short.  That’s not to say it isn’t good!  Quite the contrary, I did say this is my second favorite Spider-man film after all and that means that it beats 4 other Spider-man movies in my mind.  Because similar to Spider-man 2, in several ways this is a near-perfect comic-to-film adaptation of my favorite Marvel superhero (cause I’ve never consider Deadpool as a superhero).  Now that is kinda weird to say since this movie is so different from Spider-man 2 and yet I stated that Spider-man 2 was a near perfect comic-to-film adaptation, but I feel like this film deals with different aspects of Spider-man that I almost like better than Spider-man 2.  Now I realize that I probably shouldn’t compare this film to the previous Spider-man movies and should just judge it as its own thing; but first off, that’s really hard to do since my mind is constantly wondering which films did different elements better; and secondly, I feel the success one film had can make the flaws of another film even more obvious and thus easier to make out.  Meaning that any criticism I have to the film is indeed valid for the film itself, it’s just that previous movies might’ve made it easier for me to spot those criticisms.  Does that make any sense?

Anyways, what’s the story?  A few months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is now itching to get back into the big time superhero scene.  He continues to pester Stark’s assigned Spidey-assistant, Happy Hogan, to get him on another mission with no luck.  Because of this, he goes around New York taking care of street level crime until a group of villains with alien weaponry attempts to rob an ATM.  These villains are connected to Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, who runs an underground black market for the alien weapons in order to make money to care for his family.  During Peter’s off time from Spideying around, he spends his time in high school concentrating on his school’s academic decathalon as well as work up the courage to take his crush, Liz Allen, to the Homecoming dance.  Will Tony Stark finally give Peter the time of day?  Will Spider-man defeat the mysterious Vulture?  And will Peter take Liz to the dance?

Lets start with the negatives first.  The most glaring problem with the film is the lack of depth with our main character.  I mean, what would you say if I told you that the Spider-man movie never once mentioned are referenced Uncle Ben’s death?  You’d probably tell me that I walked into the wrong movie theater, except that’s exactly what happened.  So if we have no confirmation on Uncle Ben’s death, what is Peter’s entire motivation for being Spider-man?  Well, it ultimately comes down to the fact that the excitement from the Civil War has caused Peter to want to impress Tony Stark with more Spider-man action.  Which is fine, I guess, but that feels so shallow to me compared to the classic origin story.  Granted, you might say “but Nate, this movie is avoiding recapping the origin story because everybody already knows it and they’re trying something new!”  Which is all fine and dandy, and I’m not asking for a complete origin story like Spider-man or The Amazing Spider-man.  However, this is a new Spider-man completely different from the previous two and while it was somewhat alluded to in Captain America: Civil War, it really hasn’t been confirmed yet that Uncle Ben even existed in this universe.  Establishing Uncle Ben’s death is important and could’ve easily been made in a one off comment.  Peter could’ve been talking to Aunt May and May could’ve said something along the lines of “Things have been so much harder around here since your Uncle’s no longer with us”.  And if Peter would make a comment or reference saying that’s why he became Spider-man in the first place, I would’ve been happy!  In fact, that could’ve made this the perfect Spider-man movie.  But as it stands, Peter’s entire motivation is “I want to impress Mr. Stark!”  Which would basically be the equivalent of if a Batman movie skipped Bruce’s parents death and Bruce’s motivation for becoming Batman was “I want to impress Mr. Alfred!”  Like, what?  Why?  I think having a loved one be murdered before your eyes and making the personal decision to protect others to avoid more deaths would be a much more compelling motivation than “Mr. Stark!  Look what I can do!”

Due to the lack of depth, this movie feels like a fun little romp with Spider-man as he tries to balance high school life with his superhero life.  Which part of that is fine, and I guess the movie really isn’t trying to be a deep and compelling story of a heroic character doing the right thing and more so just trying to give a fun movie with your friendly neighborhood Spider-man.  Which does disappoint me since I saw the Sony/Marvel agreement as a chance to finally get the perfect Spider-man movie I’ve always wanted (which I guess was always an unrealistic expectation), but it really wasn’t trying to be the perfect Spider-man movie.  I guess we could hope that the sequel keeps this level of MCU-style fun and enjoyment as well as the aspects of the Spider-man mythos it succeeded in adapting while also giving us more depth and complexity to our protagonist.  Or is that too unrealistic for me to ask?  I don’t know, in a world where we have movies like The Dark Knight, Deadpool, and The Avengers where we have perfect or near-perfect comic-to-film adaptations of beloved heroes it’s still possible we could get the perfect Spider-man movie; but is it realistic?  I mean, The Dark Knight was an amazing movie (or maybe I remember it being better than it actually is) while The Dark Knight Rises was a disappointment, and The Avengers was every fanboy’s wet dream come true while Avengers: Age of Ultron was some what disappointing.  While it’s too early to tell how good Deadpool 2 will be, it could be better than the first film or disappoint.

So the film lacks depth, fine.  What did the film do right?  Well, pretty much everything else!  Tom Holland makes both a believable Peter Parker and a great Spider-man (in fact, he might be my new favorite Spider-man and definitely the best high school Spider-man), his time as Spider-man effects his social life in negative ways, he interacts with his villains, most of the secondary characters where quite likable, and the action (for the most part) is really fun to watch!  Now, one thing I do want to talk about real quick is the diversity of the movie.  Because for some reason that’s quite the controversial aspect of the movie.  Now I have said some unpopular opinions about diversity in comics and movies in the past (partially overcompensation on my part, I must admit), but I’ve never really said I was against diversity at all just that I didn’t like forced diversity.  Quite frankly, if the film tried too hard to be diverse and constantly made an effort to shove it down the audience throat “Hey, we’re progressive!!!” then I would’ve been annoyed.  But honestly, the film doesn’t really make a big deal about it so I really couldn’t care less.  None of the character’s ethnic backgrounds were ever really brought up with the exception of maybe one joke about the Washington Monument being built by slaves but that’s kind of a stretch in my opinion.  That joke was more so a reflection of Zendaya’s character and less so on her race.  Granted, I find it funny that this film puts in effort to have a diverse cast and yet the main character and main antagonist are both white dudes.  Although Peter obviously has to be a white dude, but if it wasn’t for the fact that Michael Keaton nailed it as Vulture I really couldn’t care less if they cast someone of a different ethnicity to play him.  Would anyone really complain about a race-bent Vulture?  Freakin Vulture!  He’s even lamer than Dock Ock was!

The action in the movie was a lot of fun for the most part.  The funny thing about Spider-man movies is after Peter gets his powers and plays around with them for a bit, he almost instantly becomes a skilled fighter despite any lack of official training.  So it was kinda funny and refreshing to see a somewhat clumsy Spider-man going after the bad guys.  It was kind of annoying that it forced Iron Man to become a deus ex machina twice in the movie but it didn’t really bother me.  The suit Tony gave him was actually really cool to see him use, especially after he disengaged the training wheel protocol.  It almost made me forget how much I dislike a super teched-out Spider-man (I’ll talk more about the suit in a bit).  However, I both loved and disliked the climax.  Mid way through the movie, Tony Stark took away Peter’s Stark-suit forcing Peter to use his homemade costume in exchange which lacked all the cool features the Stark-suit had.  Which I thought it was brilliant because Spider-man really isn’t a tech-based superhero like Iron Man is so seeing Spider-man fight the Vulture in the final battle with nothing but his spider powers (with the exception of I think his spider-sense unfortunately) and his web shooters basically allowed Marvel to have their cake and eat it too by giving him cool gadgets while letting us die-hard Spidey fans enjoy a Spider-man fight without all the web tasers and AI and crap like that.  However, the CGI was so terrible when he fought the Vulture on the Stark plane that I couldn’t tell what was even happening.  Than, the plane crashed by an amusement park which I thought the final battle was gonna end up.  Which would be awesome because seeing Spider-man swing around roller coasters and other rides while fighting the Vulture would’ve been amazing to see!  But they never went over there.  I mean, the film was 2 hours and 13 minutes long, would it kill you to throw on an extra 10-15 min to let us see such an awesome fight?

The Stark-suit was pretty fun, despite my inner geek complaints.  I’ve just never seen Spider-man as a super teched-out hero so seeing Spidey use web tazers, web grenades, web wings (those were never meant to be actual wings and was just an artistic aesthetic), an AI, etc. just really urked me.  he never needed a teched-out suit before!  He usually just use a costume made from fabric and twin web shooters on each wrist!  Every once in a while, he might change the web formula if needed but usually thats all he needed.  So as much as the inner Spider-man fan in me really dislikes the idea of Spider-man using a bunch of Stark tech, I did think Karen was pretty funny for him to interact with and it was cool seeing him use the suit.  Pretty much the only thing I really loved about the suit was the eyes since that gave a plausible explanation to how he can get his mask to emote.  In the comics, the white part of his eyes will often change size and shape to express emotion (widen to express alarm or surprise, squint to express a glare, etc.) which logically doesn’t make much sense since it’s just fabric with maybe some plastic.  But for the eyes to be lens is a genius way to allow that aesthetic of the costume work for a live-action movie.  The only thing I don’t quite understand is if Venom appears later in the movie than how would the symbiote fuse to a teched-out Spidey-suit?  I mean, whether or not Sony’s Venom movie is connected to the MCU is still kinda up in the air, but if it is than I don’t see how a ball of alien slime is going to fuse into a tech infused costume?

This is an MCU movie so of course there’s going to be laughs galore.  It’s not quite the same type of Spidey-sass Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man perfected, but I appreciated the attempt of making Spider-man interact with his villains in humorous ways.  Most of the jokes surrounding Spider-man does come from is inexperience and his young age but most of them land.  Granted, sometimes I feel like the humor wasn’t welcome.  There’s a point where one of Vulture’s associates threatens Adrian after being fired and Adrian shoots him and vaporizes him.  At first, this makes him quite threatening since it shows that he’s willing to kill to keep his family safe.  But than he turns around and and states that he thought it was a non-lethal weapon.  Like, really?  Granted, he didn’t seem to shooken up about killing a dude, but the joke that it was unintentional should’ve been left out.

Now lets move onto the characters starting with the main baddy: the Vulture!  Oh my god, Marvel finally did a good villain outside Loki!  The Vulture might be my favorite Spider-man movie villain!  Which is so weird to say because the Vulture might be Spider-man’s lamest villain.  Similar to how Green Goblin was the father of Peter’s best friend in Spider-man, the Vulture is the father of Peter’s crush.  Which actually resulted in a very unexpected twist and a very intense scene (by the way, if you chose to read this review and you haven’t seen the movie yet than I feel sorry for you and you ruined this for yourself.  I warned you three times and you didn’t listen.  Tisk tisk!).  However, unlike Green Goblin and more similar to Dock Ock, he’s a more relatable character and actually looks and acts cool (as appose to looking like a Power Rangers villain).  Plus his whole motivation being that he does this to support his family is more personal than both Green Goblin and Dock Ock’s motivation.  In fact, in a weird way the Vulture in this movie is a deeper character than Spider-man!  What?! I mean, on one hand Marvel finally did a brilliantly written villain whose interesting to watch and a good motivation whose name isn’t Loki!  On the other hand, how does the f***ing Vulture have more depth than f***ing Spider-man?????????  I’m going to be 100% honest here, I literally didn’t even notice that until I started writing this paragraph and now my mind is completely blown at how this happened.  Can you tell that I have mixed feelings on this one?

The Shocker and Tinkerer also kinda-ish appear in this movie but not really.  They both work for the Vulture where Shocker acts as Toome’s right hand man and the Tinkerer designs all his tech.  The weird thing is I could’ve sworn that I saw set images a while back of the Shocker in full costume but he never did.  He basically just uses the alien tech as some sort of shock-gauntlets is just called “Shocker” as a reference rather than an official alias.  I’m not even sure if Tinkerer was called “Tinkerer” in the movie since I later discovered that’s who he’s suppose to be while on the wikipedia page earlier.  They served their purposes and I neither liked them or disliked them.

Mac Gargan  appeared in the movie but never became the villain Scorpion.  I’m guessing he’s being teased for the next movie which should be interesting.  Although Scorpion’s connected to J Jonah Jameson and he never appeared in this movie (I’ll get to that later), so either JJJ is gonna appear in the sequel or they’re going to alter his origin slightly.  Either one’s possible but for selfish reasons I hope JJJ appears.

Tom Holland is my new favorite Spider-man.  I’m just going to say that straight up.  He’s a better Peter Parker than Toby Maguire (granted, less socially-awkward) and while he’s not as much of a wise-ass as Andrew Garfield he still did a good job with the role.  I do like how he is shown to be one of the smartest kids in his class.  Plus his struggle to balance his double-life is an essential part of the Spider-man mythos that I haven’t seen done so well in a movie since Spider-man 2.  However, it’s made a bit more interesting here sense Peter’s an actual high schooler and written as a high schooler so there’s more innocence with him.

Liz Allen made for an okay love interest.  Granted, she’s not as interesting as Gwen Stacy and I even found Michelle’s character more interesting in this movie.  Although she’s pretty so it’s easy to see why someone like Peter would fall for her, but what I found hard to understand is why she liked him.  Its made clear that She liked Peter before the decathalon and even expresses how important it is to her, but then Peter ditched the decathalon to go out as Spider-man and when Peter asks Liz to the dance later she forgives way too easily in my opinion.  Like, why does she like Peter so much that she’s willing to easily forgive Peter ditching on something that important to her?  Granted, if she said no then we wouldn’t have that intense car ride scene, but I just didn’t understand what she saw in him.  Was it because he’s smart?  Did she think he was cute?  Was it only because she thought Peter knew Spider-man?

Anyways, I guess the next important character is Ganke Lee – Oh wait sorry – Ned Leads.  Although lets be honest, this is basically Ganke.  He’s a chubby Asian, likes leggos, not really the best person to trust with secrets, etc.  Did they change his name just so people wouldn’t make the connection that he’s Ganke?  Cause maybe your average movie goer wouldn’t know who Ganke is, but anyone familiar with the Miles Morales comics sure as hell made the connection.  The weird thing Ned Leads in the comics turns into the Hobgoblin.  So if they’re planning on going that route than that kid needs to hit the gym.  But besides that, I honestly can’t tell whether they went with Ned over Harry because they don’t want to do Green Goblin in this universe or if they wanted more diversity with an Asian kid, or both?  Other than being annoying at times and me wishing he was called Ganke (if you’re gonna steal Miles’s best friend than at least don’t try an hide it!), I really didn’t care for him.

Michelle is kind of an interesting character because she was rumored to be Mary Jane before the movie hit theaters and I even talked about that in a previous article.   However, the film pulled a fast one on us and near the end of the movie she announces her nickname to be MJ.  So we were kinda right?  (By the way, why is Michelle promoted on the poster above over Liz Allen?  Is it because Zendaya is a more marketable celebrity?)  Now, I know a lot of die-hard Spider-man fans are probably going to be upset that MJ’s race, name, race, personality, and race were all changed for the film.  My opinion?  Couldn’t care less!  No seriously, I really liked Michelle!  She was quirky, interesting, and honestly very relatable to me personally.  I feel like them saving the MJ reveal at the end served two purposes: 1. hinted that she’ll be the love interest of the second film, and 2. gets us to get to know the character and form an opinion on her before they reveal who she really is.  it’s kinda like how in Paranorman that one jock character wasn’t revealed to be gay until the very end so you’re forced to form an opinion on his character and not on his gay identity.  If she’s the love interest in the sequel, than I’m sold!  Near the end of the film, she says “My friends call me MJ” and when someone tells her she has no friends, her reaction basically told me that she’s trying to get out of her shell to make friends cause she secretly wants more social interactions which I can relate to very well.  They kinda made her an SJW, but I wouldn’t even say she’s tolerable cause she’s straight up likable.  Like, that joke about the slaves creating the Washington Monument I enjoyed since her attitude towards it was basically “Due to my moral grips I do not wish to go into this building, but if you guys want to than go ahead!”  Which is different from a lot of SJWs out there who would straight up say “If you guys walk into that building, you’re automatically horrible bigoted people and I hate every single one of you!”

I should talk a bit about Iron Man before I wrap this review.  He was alright.  He’s actually not in the movie as much as the trailers would have you believe, but I’m honestly glad he wasn’t since this is a Spider-man movie.  I wanted it to focus on Spider-man and that’s exactly what it did.  Tony showed up twice as Deus ex Machina, but I was worried we’d have an Iron Man and Spider-man team up fight and I’m glad we never did.

So before I wrap this review up, how do would I compare it to the other Spider-man movies?  Well, here’s the thing.  I feel like at this point every Spider-man franchise has pieces to the Spider-man puzzle, but they don’t have all the pieces together in one movie.  There’s a perfect Spider-man movie hiding within all three of these series, but it’s broken among the three of them.  Sam Raimi’s trilogy has the most sincere adaptation and the best written and complex characters, but lacks the humor that I associate with Spider-man.  Marc Webb’s films capture that humor and has the best romance, but lacks the sincerity and strays from the source material.  Spider-man: Homecoming holds the best in terms of high school drama and living in a world with other superheros (granted, the previous films couldn’t feature other heroes due to legal reasons), but lack the depth and complexity of the character.  I’m still crossing my fingers for that perfect Spider-man movie, but until than Spider-man 2 still holds the title of almost-perfect Spider-man movie with this film coming up to a close second.

Overall, this movie wins an 8/10 with a recommendation for everybody to see it.  Especially fans of Marvel, the MCU, Spider-man, or superheroes.  It’s a fun flick with not a lot of depth but worth the watch for the fun and entertainment of an MCU Spider-man movie.

 

My Rating System

10 – Perfect: nothing is wrong about this movie

9 – Almost perfect: has one or two minor nitpicks that holds it from perfection

8 – Amazing: not a perfect film but still absolutely loved it

7 – Good: has a few problems but overall a great film

6 – Ok: has several major problems but I still like it

5 – Mediocre: neither good nor bad just forgettable

4 – Bad: a few major problems that ruins the movie

3 – Awful: lots of problems that ruins the movie

2 – Terrible: there may be one or two good things about the film but everything else is garbage

1 – The worst: literally nothing went right

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9 comments

  1. Nice review man. I agree with you on almost every point. Ultimately the negatives outweighed the positives for me. Spider-Man is a special character to me and to see him in a film that’s just a shallow entertaining ride disappointed me. It’s a good movie but it wasn’t for me.

    1. Sorry, I actually misread your comment and thought you said the positives outway the negetives. I disagree on that point but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Still hope the sequel improves!

  2. Peter actually did make a small reference to Uncle Ben, “You know everything she’s [Aunt May] has been through this past year.” I disagree with you on Ned, I LOVED him! I think every young superhero needs to have that grounding but also excitement from a best friend and I think Ned achieved that.

    1. I guess but I didn’t want something that vauge. I wanted a straight up confirmation that yes Ben existed in this universe, yes Ben got shot and killed, and yes that’s why Peter put on the suit in the first place.

      I can see that. I just thought Ned was too much like Ganke from the Miles Morales comics.

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