Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

I typically don’t do movie reviews but since Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters, I figured that I make this quick review for anybody whose interested in it and hopefully start some great conversations! Perhaps I will make this into a recurring blog series! As per the title, this will be a quick review, meaning that I won’t go into a vast 3-4 page review but rather highlight the main points which you’re welcome to jump around to at your leisure. However, this does contain MAJOR spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet please stop reading right now!

So to start things off, overall I was very pleased with this movie in general. Even though I’m a huge fan of Marvel Studios’ previous movies (i.e. pretty much all of them) there was a part of me that was a bit worried about how this new reboot would compare to previous attempts. However, if there is one thing that I want people to get out of this review is that Marvel Studios definitely knows what makes their characters special and unique, and why they are beloved pop culture icons. Simply put Spider-Man: Homecoming gets why Spider-Man is such a beloved superhero and why he is such an “everyman.” Tom Holland’s interpretation of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is so lovable and relatable that I couldn’t help but cheer him on the entire time, and I can’t wait to see him once again on the big screen.

So now let’s get into “The Good,” “The Bad,” and “The Interesting”:

 

THE GOOD

Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Let’s give credit where credit is due. Tom Holland did an AMAZING job as the lead character. I’ll admit that Andrew Garfield wasn’t my favorite interpretation of Peter Parker, but Holland definitely won me over in this reboot. He had the right mixture of nerdiness, awkwardness, and innocence that I felt was missing from Garfield, while still being courageous and full of strength when he put the mask on. Marvel Studios definitely made the right choice with this casting!

The rest of the cast: The side characters are some of the most lovable that I’ve seen from any Marvel movie up to this point. Pretty much every character had a vibrant personality and made it easy to either love them, root for them, root against them, or even sympathize with them if they had any flaws. Ned played the perfect hilarious “sidekick,” Flash Thompson was easy to hate despite the fact that he was also hilarious, and Michelle often stole the scene whenever she appeared. Of course, Robert Downey Jr. did an amazing job as Tony Stark (like always) and he served the role of mentor really well. I was worried that he might steal the spotlight from Peter, but he was in just the right amount of time and it didn’t feel “forced” just to get people to see the movie. He progressed Peter’s story without overshadowing him in his own movie. Which is exactly what a side character should do!

The Vulture: Michael Keaton was intimidating as hell! Never before have I watched a movie where a villain legitimately left me with my mouth opened simply because of how tense he made the scenes he was in. While the Vulture may not have been a lot of people’s choice for the main villain, I guarantee that Keaton changed their opinions about it. Keaton recited his lines incredibly well and it felt like I was holding my breath every time he was on screen. The scene between him and Peter in the car before the homecoming dance was nerve-wrecking and it was incredible to see how well-delivered lines can create suspense! That’s a sign of a great actor! It was also great seeing a villain that could garner some amount of sympathy. While the Vulture was certainly no saint, it was difficult trying to separate the thief from the man who just wanted to provide a good life for his family. He wasn’t just “another guy trying to take over the world.”

Overall story: Good characters are only as good as the story they’re put into, and this movie had a wonderful story to tell. Not making this into ANOTHER origin story was a smart thing to do first of all. The focus on Peter’s attempt to become into a hero was a great decision. While that may be a simple premise found in most origin storylines, the fact that he needed to do this in a world with the Avengers gave it a nice twist. It was incredibly interesting seeing his attempt to prove his heroics to Iron Man, himself, and the world as a whole. And yes, the plot twist was one of the greatest things I’ve seen in ANY movie! I can honestly say that I did NOT see either the Vulture plot twist OR the MJ plot twist coming at all, which was actually pretty refreshing for a Marvel fan who is used to foreseeing where things are going in these type of movies. Funny, engaging, and with a lot of personality, this is a great story that needs to be seen!

 

THE BAD

Sony Universe?: This one isn’t really a bad thing for the movie itself but rather a potential drawback for the series moving forward. With the recent news of how the Tom Holland series and Sony’s own Spider-Man spinoffs will work, it sucks that fans are left in a state of continuous confusion as to how these ongoing series will work with one another. This means that we currently don’t know if the upcoming Venom movie will even connect to Spider-Man: Homecoming at all. At this moment this makes me feel a bit “incomplete” making it seem like we won’t get a more “full” Spider-Man series. While this doesn’t affect my outlook on this movie per se, it was still something that I was thinking in the back of my head while viewing the movie.

Where’s New York?: This is more nitpicking than anything else, but I was surprised by how little of New York we actually got see, and by New York I mean the typical tall buildings, back alleys, Times Square type of stuff that we usually see in Spider-Man movies. Most of the movie took place in a high school, suburbia, and in Washington DC. Even the final fight took place in the air which, while still awesome, didn’t really show us much of New York. The only reason why I bring this up is because of how connected Spider-Man is to New York City, and because we didn’t really get a scene of him swinging around from tall building to tall building. I can only hope that we see that in the sequel. Maybe once he gets a job downtown at the Daily Bugle?

 

THE INTERESTING

Integrating into the MCU: As soon as it was announced that Spider-Man was going to be coming to the MCU there was always a question as to how exactly they would integrate him into the already expanded universe. Those questions were put to rest in Civil War and again in this movie. From the first scene in the movie, it was made apparent that Marvel Studios was out to fully immerse Spider-Man, and his cast of characters, into the established Marvel universe and I think they did a good job! Spider-Man seems to fit right into the world that Marvel Studios has been building for almost 10 years now and it’s interesting to see how he will fit moving forward. Cameos were going to be expected but I was surprised by how many cameos and mentions this film had. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Avengers, all of these characters effortlessly made their way into Peter’s story and it’s so good to see how Marvel Studios will continue to further integrate the “new kid” into this huge universe they’ve created.

MJ?: One of the surprise plot twists this movie gave us was the revelation that “Michelle” is actually this universe’s Mary Jane, or “MJ” as she referred to herself as. It’s definitely a departure from the source material in more ways than one, but not one that is entirely surprising. Marvel Studios obviously made it an effort to diversify the cast (just look at Flash Thompson as another example) so changing Mary Jane’s character a bit wasn’t completely a shock. However, it did come as a shock after seeing the type of character that Zendaya portrayed, one that didn’t exactly scream out “Hey it’s Mary Jane Watson!” So it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the character moving forward and if they’ll start to mold her closer to her comic book counterpart. Can we expect her to get a makeover, complete with bright red hair and a more “sultry” personality? Who knows!

Setting up future stories: One thing that Marvel Studios does incredibly well is set the groundwork for future storylines, and this movie was no exception. There were a few moments (from my memory) that served as building blocks for potential future stories for people who payed enough attention. We were introduced to Donald Glover’s character who (if you noticed the info given by Spidey’s HUD) was known as “the Prowler.” While he may not be a household name to most, this is the name of a fellow superhero whom Spider-Man has crossed paths with on a number of occasions. Can we expect him to fully reveal himself in the sequel? We also saw a glimpse of Mac Gargan, the real name of the man who eventually became the Scorpion (and Venom further down the line). We’ve yet to see Scorpion on the big screen so far so this would definitely be a nice surprise, especially if this will lead to a “Sinister Six” style team up. And finally, we got a tease near the end of a few major upcoming stories, mainly that Spider-Man will eventually be a part of the Avengers (or at least team up with them on a few missions), a tease for a new costume, and the (unintended) revelation of Peter’s secret to Aunt May. All of these can make for some interesting storyline choices that will undoubtedly be touched upon in futures entries in the Spider-Man series AND in the upcoming Avengers movies. So for now all we can do is speculate as to how Peter’s life will change going forward!

 

THE VERDICT

As a fan, it was amazing (no pun intended) seeing Spider-Man make his solo MCU debut. A few years ago it was something that fans didn’t think would happen, and seeing it now become reality it still feels too good to be true. I can’t wait to see what else Marvel Studios is able to do with Spider-Man and what other stories we’ll get to see. From a critical standpoint, this was a great movie to reintroduce the character to audience members who (at this point) have already been introduced to the character twice before. I think this was a clever way of introducing the character while not necessarily making it an origin story, which I think would have just irked viewers. It was a solid story with characters full of personality, an intimidating villain, and great world-building making for some interesting possibilities for future films. One thing that I would like to mention is how I loved that we now have a character in the MCU whom we can use to view the world in a different light. Peter is more grounded than the more flashy Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, and instead his story focused more on regular people (in this case high school students) and how they deal with being in a world full of heroes and villains. I think that’s something that the MCU has been missing and it’s great that we now have a way to see how the actions of these heroes affects everyday people.

And finally I’ll end this review by saying this: I really hope that this movie will serve as an example to 20th Century Fox to see what Marvel Studios could do to the Fantastic Four. If Marvel Studios can reinvent Spider-Man and save him from mediocrity (after The Amazing Spider-Man 2) then they can definitely do something to the Fantastic Four’s (at this point) shattered reputation. Just saying… I’m sure Kevin Feige will be happy to make a deal!

 

 

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