Spider-Man: Homecomming. A Review.
Last week in my review of the incredible Baby Driver I brought up my love for Pulp Fiction and in turn movies in general. The Sam Rami Spider-Man has a similar story to it, I saw Spider-Man on release day, well actually the day before. I went to the midnight showing (back when movies were released on Friday but you could go see it at midnight the night before) and that may have been the coolest night of my life. Finally getting to see the web head on the big screen was a lifelong dream of mine and that movie blew my 12 year old brain. Spider-Man: Homecoming looks to explode some young impressible minds, but some of the adults among us may feel left behind.
Marvel Studios has done a fantastic job, not just movie to movie but building this whole expanded universe that has us 20-40 somethings caring about characters made for children. It feels like so much has led up to Spider-Man Homecoming, there are so many callbacks to earlier movies in the canon, and not just throw aways. The events of previous movies directly effect the plot of this one, and while it is mostly a tactic to get us to see every movie they put out, I can't get mad at them for doing it correctly.
This is not a new Peter Parker, we briefly met him in Captain America Civil War and got to know both him and his foolishly young Aunt May. As promised we are not put through the normal Uncle Ben story line and instead leap into the action shortly after the events of Civil War. Parker has a bit of a different motivation here than what we are used to seeing. After his brief turn in the greatest superhero fight in cinema history, Peter is growing bored of normal teenager life. It's hard to get interested in math class and robotics club when you stole Captain America's shield and fought side by side with the Vision. This is a Spider-Man that is eager to grow up, maybe a little too fast for his own good.
Through Homecoming (and even in the movie poster I have used above if you are paying close attention) this theme of Peter looking to grow up fast is a welcomed change. This makes Spider-Man's actions in the movie make a bit more sense than they would have otherwise. Parker would do anything to get back to the events of Civil War and possibly join the Avengers, a proposition any 15 year old would move earth and sea for a chance at. Peter also has cute girls, bullies and friendships to worry about but those take a backseat to the alien weapons being created and sold to street level criminals.
Tom Holland is the Peter Parker we have been waiting for, Toby Maguire was far too old to play the sophomore in High School and Andrew Garfield was too handsome and cool looking to play the nerdy Parker. Holland feels like he could have been the bookworm at your school, even though he still is a good looking movie star. The most important thing is his age though, We all remember Spidey as a high schooler, it's kind of the reason I connected with the character so much. Holland fits this piece and with that forces the tone of the movie to skew younger.
There are more than a few times in Spider-Man Homecoming where the younger viewers are looked after that I don't even want to mention for fear of sounding old. While not necessarily my favorite type of movie, this is what Spider-Man should be not dark and moody but fun and quirky. Homecoming has it's darker moments but for the most part it stays light hearted and fun, an idea that has been a staple of the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I have heard a lot of complaints, and I was one of those people with complaints about the amount of Tony Stark in this movie. We don't want Iron Man: Homecoming *With Spider-Man, we want a full fledged Spider-Man movie. While RDJ finds his way into about 5 scenes his appearances are controlled and he does not really infringe on the overall plot or characters. In fact his presence is almost necessary to the plot and overall story of Homecoming.
When I first saw the images of the Vulture I was a bit disappointed. The mechanical suit and the not being John Malkovich turned me off. I like Michael Keaton as much as the next guy but this character was not a selling point of the movie for me, that is until I saw it. Vulture as a character not only fits into this story well but into the tone of the universe. He becomes a far more interesting character than I thought he would be and I am happy to say makes the movie better.
Visually, Homecoming could have been better. There were few wow moments and the director never really put his stamp on this movie. It very much felt like a director for hire situation and other than the James Gunn's and Joss Whedons of the world, Marvel has suffered form this issue. I never saw Jon Watts's most successfull outing before this called Cop Car, but I have heard good things about it. I was just hoping for a little more from the director and cinematography. Spider-Man may be the most visually stimulating superhero, from his daring jumps from high buildings and half a mile web swings and in that regard Homecoming falls short.
I did not absolutely love Spider-Man:Homecoming, as a long time fan of the character I thought they could have done more. On the other hand Homecoming is a return to the themes and setting that I believe makes Spider-Man so fun and with a few changes and a bit more attention to details this Spider-Man could be the best that has ever put on screen. With a first movie in a franchise you want the film makers to set up characters and plots for future releases, but also leave room for improvement and Marvel has done just that with Homecoming. I will be looking forward to seeing what Marvel can do with the golden cow of comic books.