Spider-Man: Homecoming review – Sony should let Marvel make all its movies
Spider-Man: Homecoming review – Despite two previous Spidey franchises, Marvel and Sony have found what may be the best Spider-Man formula yet.
I have to admit, I’m kind of a Spider-Man snob. I wish I could say I’m slightly embarrassed at the massive collection of Spidey comics from the 80s and 90s that I still have, not to mention the digital collection that continues to grow, but I’m not. Even when I fell out of love with Peter Parker of Earth-616, I continued to read the stellar Ultimate line that reimagined the character as a high school kid in a world of older, established heroes.
So despite my excitement to know that Spidey would return to the big screen as part of the growing MCU, I was still a little concerned. Even after seeing him in Captain America: Civil War, I had my doubts. The Ultimate comics’ version pulled it off, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to see Spider-Man taking orders and hero-worshipping Iron Man. This is Spider-Man, dammit! Spidey should be prank calling Iron Man and trying to borrow $50 from him.
But even with my misgivings going into Spider-Man: Homecoming, I was surprised at just how much I liked the damn thing. In fact, it is now one of my favorite MCU films.
Homecoming is probably the best Spidey film to date, and I love Spider-Man 2 (even though I don’t really like Tobey Maguire or Kirsten Dunst in either role). The 2004 film even made me like one of the dumbest Spidey villains, Doc Ock. Sorry if you’re a fan, but before Marvel tried countless retcons and reboots, Dock Ock was just a dude in a green jumpsuit wearing square sunglasses and rocking a terrible Moe haircut. The most nefarious thing he did was to mack on Aunt May. Sam Raimi’s take was very good, although it came before Marvel raised the bar on all superhero films.
Part of what keeps Marvel Studio’s films reach closer to making a billion dollars than not at the box office is that it has done the leg work and established the universe, which allows them to take a few chances. Guardians of the Galaxy is in retrospect one of the best MCU films, but it featured a relatively unknown cast that included a tree. Doctor Strange was something of a traditional superhero film, just on acid. Civil War turned its heroes against one another.
Marvel can take these chances and do these things others can’t because it succeeded in the smaller steps leading to this point, and Homecoming is an extension of those earlier steps.
The sixth Spider-Man film is best described as a coming-of-age superhero rom-com. It’s been described as a John Hughes film in spandex, and that’s a fair description – except for the spandex, no heroes actually wear spandex anymore. They wear half a billion dollar suit designed and provided to them by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr).
Homecoming picks up several months after the events of Civil War, which saw the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spidey to the MCU. Following those events, the 15-year old Peter Parker finds himself juggling life as a high schooler with the desire to be an Avenger, but Stark – through Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) acting as his proxy – wants him to take it slow. That’s a tough thing to ask of a kid that can throw a car, and Peter continues to wrestle with trying to prove himself and being respectful to his mentor. When powerful new weapons using alien technology appear on the street, Peter sees it as his chance to shine.
It’s actually incredibly refreshing to not see yet another origin story – or at least not a traditional origin story. There’s no sign of tragic Uncle Ben, nor do you see any radioactive spiders. The film does still serve the purpose of an origin in a narrative sense, however, as the young Spidey tries to determine what type of hero he really is.
My biggest complaint about the story is that the trailers have already given away so much of it. There is also a massive coincidence that drops right into the middle of the film, but it’s handled well enough that it’s easy to overlook. Overall, the script is tight and everything serves a purpose. There’s very little fat on this movie, and you have to give a lot of credit to director Jon Watts – and to whoever decided to take a chance on him after directing just one major film.
If you’re still wondering why Marvel’s movies are regarded so much more highly than WB’s DCEU films, look no further than the supporting cast and background players of Homecoming. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is surprisingly well rounded and not exactly sympathetic, but relatable. It fits perfectly with what the rest of the film is going for and Keaton is – as usual – excellent. But part of what makes Homecoming – and many other Marvel films – stand out are the characters who have just a few lines and yet they are interesting. They are quirky and breathe life into the scene just by being there.
Michelle (Zendaya) is smart and talented but goes to detention for fun to watch other people. Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) is a bully but not in a traditional sense. Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) steals most of the scenes he is in. Even the more well-known Spidey characters like May (Marisa Tomei) feel fully fleshed out despite just having a handful of lines. They all help make every scene interesting, and they also help set the stage for future Spidey films without distracting from this film. Other studios should take note: this is how you build a new franchise. Even with the advantage of the MCU, Homecoming sets up so many potentially interesting future storylines that you won’t begrudge them for already having confirmed a sequel.
Homecoming may not be the perfect Spider-Man for fans that want to see the character headline the MCU right away, but it is just a well put together movie from start to finish, and a welcome addition to the Marvel universe. There are also several callbacks to iconic Spidey comics and enough Easter eggs that you’ll probably want to see it more than once.
Spider-Man: Homecoming review
In a small way, I am a little angry at how good Spider-Man: Homecoming is. I love the character, the new MCU version fits right in, and the film is just entertaining from start to finish. I’m also more excited for the sequel planned for 2019 and Spidey’s next appearance in Avengers: Infinity War than I was before. The thing that annoys me is that this may encourage other studios to follow suit and reboot and reboot franchises. But maybe that’s not a bad thing if it means we get films like Homecoming.
That’s a problem for tomorrow. For now, we are left with what may be the best Spider-Man film – and that is saying something given that there are five previous films to compare it to, including the legitimately great Spider-Man 2. Hopefully, Sony will be able to keep things going – or at least have enough sense to turn to Marvel to help continue the franchise that Spidery fans deserve.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is rated PG-13 with a running time of 133 minutes. Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.” director=”Jon Watts” producer=”Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal” actor_1=”Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.” ]