Review: Spider-Man Homecoming
Marvel works its magic again with Spider-Man: Homecoming
*Note: Minor spoilers ahead*
There seemed to be a theme about the Spider-Man movie which I couldn’t help but notice throughout my viewing:
He’s just a kid.
Spider-Man: Homecoming features Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland), a 15-year-old school who does your normal high school kids stuff. Peter is your typical high school nerd. He’s on his school’s Decathlon Team. He’s good in science class and also good at technical stuff like computers and technology. He also has friend called Ned (Played by Jacob Batalon) who’s also a nerd like him.
Also, he’s crushing on a girl who goes by the name of Liz (played by Laura Harrier). Basically, Peter Parker is your typical high school teenager.
Except he was bitten by a radioactive spider, possesses great human strength and flexibility and can walk on walls.
A few years ago, I thought Andrew Garfield was the best Peter Parker. Unfortunately, Sony Pictures ruined the franchise and now Tom Holland has stepped in and is now the defacto Peter Parker.
After getting the film rights from Sony (the guys who basically ruined the Spider-Man franchise), Marvel did a great job of throwing Spider-Man straight into their cinematic universe and they totally nail it with the Homecoming movie.
After getting a glimpse of the new Spider-Man in The Avenger’s Civil War, Spider-Man got his own movie and once again, Marvel nails everything.
Just Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
In the movie, Tony Stark (Played by Robert Downey Jr) has already gifted Peter Parker with a cool Spider-Man suit. This is no ordinary suit which has web slingers. This suit is high tech. Throughout the movie, the suit shows off great benefits and abilities. It has an Artificially Intelligence assistant (which Peter Parker names “Karen”) built into it. Peter unlocks the AI after he discovers the Spider suit has a “Training Mode” which he subsequently deactivates, unlocking the full power of the Spider suit.
The Spider Suit also has other functions such a parachute, a high tech visual display (kind of like Iron’s Suit display) and a mini drone.
The Spider-Man movie starts off with the typical Spider-Man thing: He’s stopping thieves in the street, attempting to foil car jackings and hiding his super powers from his “hot” aunt May (played by Marisa Tomei).
But unfortunately, after the adrenaline has worn off from fighting people like Captain America and Ant-Man, Spider-Man is bored and wants to do bigger things and join the Avengers. The movie starts to kick off into a higher gear when Spider-Man discovers an attempt by some bad guys robbing an ATM. But these bad guys are equipped with high tech weapons and cause major damage after a battle with Spider-Man.
Spider-Man informs Tony Stark about the high tech weapons and tells him he wants more missions like the Avengers. Unfortunately, Tony Stark wants Spider-Man to stay grounded and be the neighborhood hero and for good reason:
Peter Parker is still a kid and is not ready yet.
The Vulture: Marvel’s First Bad-Ass Villain
Don’t get me wrong. The Marvel movies have had great villains but those adversaries have come in sequels or third installments of Marvel movies.
With this “reboot”, Spider-Man is facing a great villain in the Adrian Toomes/The Vulture played by Michael Keaton (who interestingly enough plays a character in the movie, Birdman)
The Vulture starts off as a salvage clean up guy who’s contracted by the city to clean up the debris and parts left from the Avenger’s battle with the aliens. Unfortunately, he and his team are quickly sidelined as an entity known as Department Of Damage Control comes in and takes over.
With no way of recouping his investment from hiring equipment and personnel, Adrian and his crew turn to vice by keeping parts of the alien technology, re-engineering them into weapons and selling to the highest bidder. But there is a human element to the Vulture and we learn in the third act of the movie, that his motivations are beyond money. There’s a great twist in the last half of the movie as well which make you see the Vulture not as the money hungry person that he seemingly portrayed as.
Immaturity, Growth and A Comeback
Like I said in the beginning: Spider-Man/Peter Parker is a kid. As a high schooler, he shows off a lot of immaturity. Equipped with the Spider suit, he sometimes acts invincible when facing off foes. But this doesn’t always work well.
There are also scenes in the movie where Spider-Man shows that he’s still young by being out of breath and not being equipped to keep up. His immaturity and thinking that he can stop the Vulture and save the day backfires numerous times including a scene where he almost drowns when attacked by the Vulture. In a ferry scene, he fails to contain an alien weapon which results in the ferry being split in half, which almost sinks the ship almost kills everyone aboard. The scene is really well done and shows Spider-Man slinging around at a rapid pace, using his Spider webs to keep the ship together. But that fails and Iron-Man comes in and saves the day. Seemingly in over his head, Tony Stark takes over Peter Parker’s suit, leaving him feeling vulnerable and undeserving.
Peter Parker’s absence from school to fight off bad guys eventually catches up to him when he has to go back to school (with no more Spider-Man responsibilities) to finish punishment (detention). Peter Parker is now just an ordinary high schooler.
But it is during his punishment in which he finally gathers the courage to ask his school crush to the Homecoming Dance.
Seemingly on track to be a “normal” kid, Peter Parker once again ignores high school responsibilities including leaving his date at the dance at the last minute to go fight the Vulture.
Armed with only web slingers, Spider-Man gets into a minor shuffle with the “Shocker” villain. The Shocker’s character is relatively mild in the movie and doesn’t really pose that much a threat.
After confronting the Vulture and seemingly facing imminent death, Peter Parker realizes that he doesn’t really need Tony Stark’s Spider-Man suit to be invincible and instead, finds a bit of inner strength to keep fighting.
Spider-Man and the Vulture face each other in a final battle where Spider-Man is obviously overmatched. But failing technology in the Vulture’s suit almost kills the Vulture himself and it’s up to Spider-Man to save the day.
Peter Parker’s immaturity may annoy movie-goers in the beginning. But you have to remember: He’s a high school kid. He’s just 15 years old with powers from a radioactive spider.
I’m glad Marvel didn’t do the whole “origin” story and instead just hinted at it throughout the movie. Marvel’s comedic timing comes into full force with a lot of jokes and funny banter between Peter Park and his best friend, Ned.
We finally get the long awaited debut of Abraham Attah who gets decent screen time with a few funny lines but doesn’t really get to showcase his full acting ability which we saw from Beasts Of No Nation.
A subtle but good performance by Zendaya, who plays a character known as “MJ”, also comes in with funny lines which turn her screen time into enjoyable comedy moments.
Spider-Man: Homecoming fits perfectly in the Marvel cinematic universe. The scenes between Parker and Tony Stark are great. The banter and screen time between Peter Parker and his friend Ned also remind moviegoers that even though Peter is the Spider-Man superhero, he’s still a teenager.
I don’t know how I feel about Marisa Tomei playing the “hot” aunt as Aunt May but it somehow works in the movie.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is funny, has great action and effects. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is great and makes for a good villain with a human side. Hopefully, in the sequels with Spider-Man, we’ll see more villains like The Shocker and perhaps Scorpion who was referenced near the end of the movie.
I’m hoping we get a major villain like Mysterio in the sequels.
Marvel is really killing it with their movies. DC did great with Wonder Woman but Marvel came right back and knocked it out of the park with Spider-Man. With movies like Thor: Ragnarok coming soon (October) and Black Panther coming out next year, Marvel is still doing what it does best: Making great superhero movies.
(PS: Can we start a petition for Marvel to get the rights to the Fantastic Four so we can get a better Fantastic Four movie? I also wouldn’t mind seeing Venom in the next Marvel Spider-Man movies)