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 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 being stuck in classes. Tony Stark wants Peter to stay in school, and go to college before becoming a full-fledged Avenger. Peter does not want to wait so 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 from the New York incident. Peter soon discovers that the man behind the alien arms dealing operation is a supervillain, with a mechanical winged suit), known as The Vulture (Michael Keaton). 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 is given a proper introduction, is given plenty of screen time (allowing Michael Keaton to do his thing), and his final moment of the film has a level of mystery and complexity that leaves audiences wanting more. The Vulture has motives that the audience can understand which makes him so much more interesting. He is an intense, and desperate, character. Most importantly Michael Keaton has decent on-screen chemistry with Tom Holland which made every scene (in which the two were together) so riveting and fun to watch. See Marvel? Developing your villains is a good thing.
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 feels like an origin story even though it takes places after the events of Captain America: Civil War. I wish I could convey to you how the film was predictable without giving major spoiler. What I can say, is that there are 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 every storyline, felt extremely generic and predictable. We have seen all of the storylines before, just not all at once. It is 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 plays the role very well, is a believable high school student, and has 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 feels for impressing Tony Stark and becoming an Avenger. He also captures the excitement that Peter has when he begins trying to catch his first real super-villain, The Vulture. Tom Holland does all this while playing all the complexities of a high school student. 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 discovers that his Spidey-suit (created by Tony Stark) a seemingly unlimited number of gadgets and capabilities that could help Peter in almost any situation. Oh, and it has a built in artificial intelligence. Now I am not aware of any comic book storyline in which Spider-Man gets all of these gadgets, and an AI system, but there is no need for this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We already have, and are very familiar with Iron-Man. We do not need another Iron-Man, because we still have Iron-Man. With so many superhero movies being released, fans are looking for variety in them. Yet Marvel seems to be trying to turn Spider-Man into a copy of Iron-Man in high school.
Pro: Spider-Man [ft. The Avengers] (+8pts)
I thought this movie did a decent job at conveying that this movie is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also keeping the primary focus on Peter Parker. Iron-Man is in this film as a mentor and Captain America is also in the film in a somewhat comedic role. Both characters are in the film, and were fun to see, but are mostly kept in the background. The focus of this film was exactly where it needed to be, on Peter Parker.
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 spends, essentially, the entire film hoping for Iron-Man's approval. After discovering the presence of The Vulture, Peter spends the rest of the movie hoping that Tony will make him an Avenger, and hoping that Tony will give him a mission. Even though there is a perfectly good "mission" right in front of him in the form of The Vulture. He keeps trying to tell Tony about The Vulture and hopes that Tony will take him seriously. He also relies 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 is the main reason why this movie felt like an origin story even though it technically was not.
Grade: B- (84pts)
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a decent movie, but it has it’s problems. The film, focusing around a superhero in high school, had the chance to be different and give it’s fans a unique superhero film. Yet this movie fell into the same trap that previous Spider-Man films fell into. It focused too much on big-budget superhero action and too little on Peter’s struggle to balance high school with being Spider-Man. Just like past Spider-Man films, Peter Parker severely sacrifices his academics and focuses heavily on being a hero. There was no struggle because Peter (and the writers) clearly felt that being a hero was more important. By not giving us this struggle, the writers also fell into generic storyline writing. We got: a generic mentor-pupil storyline, a generic superhero storyline, and a generic high school side-storyline. The writers took three generic plots, mashed them together, and thought that was good enough.
I thought Tom Holland was a great choice for this role. He did about as good as any actor could have done with this writing and has decent on-screen chemistry with both Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton. This film does a good job of placing this movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe without taking focus away from Peter Parker. Iron-Man and Captain America were fun to see in this movie but this is still, definitively, a Spider-Man movie. 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).
I did have a good time during this movie, but I cannot deny the films issues. It has plenty of action, plenty of humor, and plenty of fun (or intense) characters. I think this movie is an enjoyable time at the movie theaters but I do not think it is anything special. It certainly is not amongst Marvel’s best work.