Movie Review: "Spider-Man: Homecoming"
Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is now back in his hometown of Queens, New York and is trying to readjust back into his normal high school life. By day, he is an ordinary high school student who has classes, homework, exams, and—of course—a high school crush. By night he is the masked, web-slinging superhero known as “Spider-Man”. After being taken under Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) wing, Peter has a new suit and struggles with the burden of wanting to be an Avenger rather than having to sit in high school classes.
Tony Stark wants Peter to stay in school and go to college before becoming a full-fledged Avenger. However, Peter does not want to wait that long before joining the Avengers, so he is trying to find a way to prove himself to Tony. Meanwhile, there are new weapons hitting the streets of New York that utilize alien technology, which were left behind after the Loki’s attack on New York. Peter soon discovers that the man behind the alien arms dealing operation is none other than The Vulture (Michae Keaton)—a man who happens to have a mechanical winged suit and various alien weapons at his disposal. After Peter’s attempts to inform Tony Stark of this alien arms dealing operation get ignored, Peter must take it upon himself to stop The Vulture and prove to Tony Stark that he is worthy of officially joining the Avengers.
The Pros & Cons
The Vulture (+6pts)
Tom Holland (+5pts)
Peter Starker (-2pts)
Spider-Man [ft. The Avengers] (+8pts)
Too Dependent (-3pts)
Pro: The Vulture (+6pts)
Unlike typical the Marvel movie standard, this movie's villain was developed very well. He was given a proper introduction, is given plenty of screen time—which allowed Michael Keaton to do his thing—and his final moment of the film had a level of complexity that left me wanting more. The Vulture had motives that the audience can understand, which made him so much more interesting than most villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was an intense, and desperate character. However, most importantly Michael Keaton had decent on-screen chemistry with Tom Holland, which made every scene between the two characters riveting and fun to watch.
Con: Predictable (-5pts)
I was a little disappointed while walking out of this movie. With the casting of Tom Holland, Marvel really had the opportunity to finally give us a high-school centric storyline for this character. This movie had the opportunity to be different. Instead, it really gave us the same old superhero storyline that we have seen so many times before. The film even felt like an origin story, even though it took places after the events of Captain America: Civil War—where were introduced to the character.
I wish I could convey to you how the film was predictable without giving major spoilers. What I can say is that there were three major plots of this film: Spider-Man vs. The Vulture, Peter Parker in high school, and Peter dealing with his mentor (Tony Stark). Every major plot point, for each of the mentioned storylines, felt extremely generic and predictable. We have seen all of these storylines before, just not necessarily mixed together in one movie. It was as if the writers were trying write a script, went on google and typed "generic hero vs. villain storyline format". Then they did the same for "generic mentor storyline format" and "generic teen high school storyline format". After this, they just took all three and mashed them together to form one generic-hybrid story.
Pro: Tom Holland (+5pts)
I really enjoyed the casting of Tom Holland. He played the role very well, as he was a believable high school student, and had good on-screen chemistry with both Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton. Tom Holland hit all of the things he needed to in this movie. He captured the desperation that Peter felt for impressing Tony Stark and becoming an Avenger. He also captured the excitement that Peter had when he began trying to catch his first real super-villain, The Vulture. Tom Holland did all this while playing all the complexities that go a long with playing a high school student who is dealing with high school problems. I think Tom Holland did a very good job in this film and I think he was a very good choice for this role.
Con: Peter Starker (-2pts)
At one point in this movie, Peter discovered that his Spidey-suit (created by Tony Stark) had a seemingly unlimited number of gadgets and capabilities that could help Peter in almost any situation. Oh, and it had a built in artificial intelligence. Now I am not aware of any comic book storyline in which Spider-Man got all of these gadgets and an AI system—not that one does not exist—but there was no need for this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We already had, and were very familiar with Iron-Man. The focus should have been on this character being the first Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not the up-and-coming second Iron-Man.
Pro: Spider-Man [ft. The Avengers] (+8pts)
I thought this movie did a decent job of conveying that this movie was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while simultaneously keeping the primary focus on Peter Parker. Iron-Man was in this film in a mentor capacity, but this needed to be Peter Parker’s story. It was good to see Robert Downey Jr. in this movie as Iron-Man, and he nailed every scene he was in, but he was very much a background character. The focus of this film was exactly where it needed to be, as it was focused on Peter Parker’s story with Tony Stark playing a supporting role.
Con: Too Dependent (-3pts)
While I very much enjoyed the presence of Tony Stark as a mentor in this film, I thought Peter Parker was written as being way too dependent on him. Peter Parker spent essentially the entire film seeming for Iron-Man's approval and needing Iron-Man’s help. After discovering the presence of The Vulture, Peter spent the rest of the movie hoping that Tony would make him an Avenger, and hoping that Tony would give him a mission. Even though there was perfectly good "mission" right in front of him in the form of The Vulture. He kept trying to tell Tony about The Vulture and hoped that Tony would take him seriously.
I also thought he relied too heavily on the suit that Tony designed for him. Through all of this, I could not get over the fact that Spider-Man was written with a complete lack of independence. He should not have been so desperate for Tony's approval and he should not have been so reliant on the suit that Tony designed for him. This was a Spider-Man movie in which Spider-Man was kept entirely within Iron-Man’s shadow, even though Iron-Man got very little screen time.
Grade: B- (84pts)
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a decent movie, but it had its problems. The film, focusing around a superhero in high school, had the chance to be different. Yet this movie did the same thing that previous Spider-Man films did. It focused too much on big-budget superhero action and too little on Peter’s struggle to balance his high school life with being Spider-Man. Just like past Spider-Man films, Peter Parker severely sacrificed his academics and focused heavily on being a hero. We then got a generic mentor-pupil storyline, a generic superhero storyline, and a generic high school storyline. The writers took three generic plots, mashed them together, and thought that was good enough.
Fortunately, I thought Tom Holland was a great choice for this role. He did about as good as any actor could have done in this role and had decent on-screen chemistry with both Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton. This film also did a good job of placing this movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe without taking the focus away from Peter Parker. Iron-Man was fun to see in this movie, but this was still Peter’s story. I also thought The Vulture was a well developed, intense, and entertaining villain to watch—which I believe had a lot to do with the actor in the role. I definitely enjoyed this movie, but it was not without its share of issues. It was far from Marvel’s best, but it was just as from Marvel’s worst.