Since I’ve been gone for so long. You’ll be getting 4, count em’ 4, Superhero related reviews. Let’s start with the latest. Here we go!
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films will always be the definitive Spider-Man. Let’s get this out of the way. There will never be another combination of talent like that of Raimi, Meguire, Dunst, Simmons, etc. that will reach that level of iconography when it comes to Spider-Man. Sure, one could make a case for the beloved 90s cartoon or Greg Weisman’s Spectacular Spider-Man, but in terms of mainstream it will always be Raimi’s films. No one is disputing that. Some things, like Reeves and Donner’s Superman films, are just that enduring in the popular eye (Batman tends to waver between West, Keaton, and Bale’s interpretations depending on the generation). Glad we sorted that all out.
Amazing Spider-Man had its time and that’s pretty much all that can be said about it. While I liked Garfield and Stone, the villains were forgettable, certain choices made no sense, and by the end it became apparent that this was just another in a long line of failed cinematic universes trying to make bank on Marvel’s success without realising what made Marvel so successful to begin with. …Well, I say failed…
I’m not a Spider-Man fan. Well, maybe it’d be more accurate to say I’m not a fan of modern comics Peter Parker. I like the animated cartoons and the films (most of them) and I like other Spider characters like Miles Morales, Jessica Drew, Spider Gwen, etc., but Peter in the comics is…problematic to say the least. I’m just not interested, like how I’m not interested in comics Superman. As such I tend to only read comics he happens to be in with other characters, Spider-Man/Deadpool being a big one.
If you read my review of Captain America: Civil War, you’ll know I enjoy Tom Holland as Peter. I think he’s a good mix of Meguire and Garfield while still being his own Spidey. I like Tony Stark in the mentor role and have been looking forward to seeing how that dynamic plays out. Aunt May being young is kinda weird, but okay. Whatever. Sucks that it means they’re keeping a potential role away from elderly actresses who don’t get as many mainstream roles as they once did.
Two months after the events of Civil War, Peter’s returned to being part time a high school sophomore and part time everyone’s Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, now with the high tech suit Stark gave him in the last movie. However, he’s longing to be part of the Avengers, helping out like he did in his last film. While at a party thrown by his crush Liz, played by Laura Harrier, Peter accidentally comes across a alien tech smuggling ring led by Adrian Toomes, played by Micheal Keaton, who’s carrying a grudge that leads back all the way to the end of The Avengers. With the help of his best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, who found out his secret identity by accident (it’s not a spoiler if it’s in the trailer), Peter’s gonna find out what’s going on and stop them. Even if it means disobeying Tony.
I swear the phrase “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” is never mentioned once.
Let’s get something else out of the way. This is the first Marvel non sequel solo film to NOT be an origin story. Why? 1. Peter was already introduced to us in Civil War. He doesn’t need another introduction. 2. Marvel promised that, after Thor 3, there’d be no more origin stories. Note this was prior to their announcement of the Spider-Man film, but they stuck with it. And most importantly, 3. THEY KNOW WE KNOW WHO SPIDER-MAN IS!!! Marvel isn’t stupid. They know Spider-Man is one of their most popular characters and one of the few pre-MCU to be well known in mainstream popular culture. He’s had five movies already, two of which were origins. Uncle Ben is alluded to, but never named. His death isn’t shown and for all we know it happened at least a while ago because May and Peter seem to be coping just fine. They’ve got their stuff together is what I’m saying. Where Peter got his powers is mentioned briefly as coming from a spider who’s dead now, but that’s it. We don’t see it. That’s refreshing. As much as I love superhero films, the origin story is getting tiresome and I’m glad they’ve decided to change it up.
The story isn’t anything spectacular. It’s a high school drama coming of age story with Spider-Man. That’s fine. I always knew this movie was more about Marvel squeezing out one more money maker before the big season finale thanks to the return of one of their largest cash cows rather than anything that will further the overarching story. My friends joke that the Soul Stone was buried with Uncle Ben, but it was obvious from the beginning that it was gonna be in either Thor 3 or Black Panther. Again, Marvel isn’t stupid.
As for the characters, honestly Peter here kinda seems more like Blue Beetle from DC (Jaime Reyes version). Both are high school students with best friends who know their identities and mentors (as well as some spoilers). Noticeably Jaime is overall happier in his life than Peter in the comics, but Jaime also doesn’t tend to have a bad life (unless it’s the New 52). This version of Peter is the same. Again, he and Aunt May appear to be coping just fine with Uncle Ben’s death and Peter’s biggest reason for not telling his identity isn’t that villains will go after her, but rather that he’d make her worry. His biggest problem in life is that he’s an insecure nerd with a crush on the popular girl. …These are not normal Peter Parker issues, or at least not on a grand scale like most versions. It’s probably one of the more upbeat versions of Peter.
Ned is Peter’s self designated ‘Man In The Chair’. His man behind the scenes basically helping Peter however he can because his best friend’s a superhero and that’s awesome. He takes it pretty damn well too. Then again, finding out your best friend has superpowers is pretty much the second coolest thing ever (the coolest, of course, being having the powers yourself) and he’s like 15. He’s also Peter’s voice of reason outside of Tony (who’s never around because genius billionaire playboy philanthropist and leader of the Avengers), something Peter normally doesn’t have or at least not one who knows the whole story. And yes, Ned’s kinda both an original character for the film and a mashup of various characters from Spider-Man lore. Personally I think he’s kinda based a bit off Miles Morales’s best friend Ganke Lee. …You know you guys could have just made a Miles movie, right? You didn’t have to go with Peter…*Sighs*
Micheal Keaton makes a good villain. I mean, we knew that. He was Beetlejuice. He can pull off comic book villain. His motivations are different from most of the other villains. He’s not trying to get revenge (well, kinda). He’s not trying to rule the world.He doesn’t really have any grudge against the Avengers other than Spider-Man’s getting in his way. He’s a man trying to provide for his family. That’s pretty unique for a Marvel film. Hell, he even has a decent moral code. He’s basically Chaotic Good. Break the law and rules for the greater good, in this case being his family.
The supporting cast does what it does. Liz is the love interest, Flash is a bully, Michelle is…kinda badass in a tough girl non combative type of way. Aunt May worries about Peter. Teachers are teachers, bad guys are bad guys (despite certain motivations). I enjoy the diversity in Peter’s classmates though it’d be nice if two of the female characters actually spoke to each other for at least a minute. *Sigh* Remember, baby steps.
My friends were confused about this so I’ll address it here. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a Marvel movie with Sony’s name on it. Okay? We got that? Good. …And I got through this without mentioning the Venom movie. …Wait.
If Marvel is going to make a bad film eventually, this isn’t it. Maybe superhero high school drama isn’t your thing, but I’m close enough to that age group that I found it enjoyable. Not everything has to mean the end of the world if the hero fails. Sometimes you just need a hero trying to do the right thing against all odds. It’s overall not necessary in the larger scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it.
Only two end credit sequences this time. Have fun!
Also, Marvel. If for some reason you read this, may I make a request? Get J.K. Simmons back to play J. Jonah Jameson! I don’t care what you have to do. He’s being wasted at D.C. You and I both know you can afford it and Sony knows how iconic Simmons was as J.J.. It’s why he wasn’t in the Amazing movies. Hell, you guys have him playing J.J. in your cartoons!!
Marvel knows what they’re doing, which is why this works. Nice review.