Well this weekend is EVO, so let’s talk about Spider-Man: Homecoming (what do EVO and Spider-Man have to do with each other? Nothing really unless he’s on the roster for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Oh yeah D23 is happening too… that could have been my connection). I’ve now watched the movie twice and if I were to give a jokingly short review, I’d give it a 9.2/Tiddlewinks—not enough Donald Glover.
In all seriousness though, I approached this movie in a mood unlike my approach to DC movies. Rather than being cautious and expecting the worst, I expected this movie to be great despite the large amount of unfortunate promotion. I mean if I had seen another commercial featuring DJ Khaled I might have watched the film (the first time) in a sour mood, remembering DJ Khaled say, “Another one”, two times too many.
Rather than a foul mood though, I came into the movie amongst friends, reminiscing about what had been my favorite Spidey film, Spider-Man 2. That movie had always been my favorite Spidey film (second being Amazing Spider-Man). It had an awesome villain. It had “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional (which is still a good song). It was in my opinion the best Spidey film, but since you see that I’m using past tense quite a bit, I think you can tell that I no longer feel that way. After watching Spider-Man: Homecoming, I came out of the theater yelling, “The fuck’s a Spider-Man 2?” It’s a great movie and I’ll tell you why.
First off Spider-Man: Homecoming does something that I felt the other movies never really did, it captured New York in a way I don’t really feel the other movies doing. It was more than shots of the New York City’s skyline or some monument shots or saying, “Don’t mess with New York!”. Peter walks into a bodega, he asks for a deli sandwich, pets the bodega cat. He interacts with a man selling hotdogs on the corner. Neighbors yell at him and converse with each other in a way that felt like the director wanted to capture the culture (because it’s one thing to set a piece in a location, but it’s entirely another to attempt to capture the culture of the setting and sometimes it doesn’t feel as though people are trying to do that).
This movie is also the most true film to capture Peter Parker as a teenager in high school. He’s a nerd. He’s trying to fit in at school. He has a nerdy best friend. And though a good number of his social interactions don’t stick to the source material, they still do make sense in the realm of being a real fleshed out character in a high school setting. And though the movie does have a focus on Peter as Spidey, I’m glad that there’s an actual focus on Peter being Peter and being in school. You get to see his school. You get to understand the culture of that school. The students don’t feel like bits or set props. Each person from chess boy to mascot to members of academic decathlon feel like characters who, while not necessarily focused on, are members of a school. They have activities to do and places to go. It’s a good piece of world building that I usually see in the cartoons rather than the movies and I enjoyed seeing Peter’s world. Some critics talked about the diversity of Peter’s supporting cast, and though I get the concerns especially when regarding the role of Ned (and people’s opinion of his character following the Asian side kick to a tee), but I enjoyed the point that there was diversity. And though some of their diversity roles are a tad formulaic, they do craft these characters in a way where you feel invested in the supporting cast. For each action that Ned and Michelle take, I rooted for them and cheered at their own successes. While I’m still on this subject, I should mention that there’s a good chance you’ll love Michelle. Didn’t think I would, but I did and now I don’t want a movie Mary Jane or Gwen Stacey, though I would like to believe that this is due to me resonating with her mean spirit or me just enjoying the observations and points she makes throughout the movie (deep down I believe there’s more to her character than what we simply see).
As for the villain, the movie plays with very simple reasoning. They don’t try to make Adrian Toomes more complex than he needs to be. Rather than having a tragic backstory, he’s simply a man out to get his and will end whoever obstructs him from that goal. One of the problems I have with is his reasoning about being a working class citizen who doesn’t want to watch the rich get richer. Though that’s fine for motivation and a realistic sentiment I think I’m kind of tired (and a few of my friends are truly tired) of that story line of working class citizens becoming villains in order to keep up with the Joneses. I get it, but can’t we give him Toomes another background that doesn’t add to the ever growing list of villain blue collars? (this is really just a nitpick).
Other than repeating over and over that this was a good movie, I’d like to say that this fits into the MCU and though Tony Stark’s role in the film is limited, it’s still there and helps to build on the MCU realm. He was nice as a mentor role for Peter.
While we’re on the focus of Peter, this is a good movie that serves as both a superhero film and a coming of age film. You see Peter mature from a pure teen who’s kind of angsty into a teen more accustomed to reality (bad wording). He has hopes for his heroism and desires for lofty goals that may, at the moment, be out of his reach. And it’s a realness of his character that I enjoyed being captured. When it came to other portrayals of Spidey, they were relegated to being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and stuck with it (though that’s probably because they weren’t part of an MCU). Peter is looking at other heroes and hoping to reach their ranks. He wants to be more, but at the end of it he decides to continue being a neighborhood hero rather than an Avenger, because he wants to gain experience. He has a great character arc and around the end of the movie there’s a wonderful moment of character shift for Peter. The movie actually takes care in giving Peter development that doesn’t end with him being a broody teen.
So I’d like to say that this was a great entry for Spider-Man, and I hope that the movies continue to be of this quality. And with how the movie ends, you’ll probably leave the theater in anticipation for the next film and maybe you’ll end up yelling, “What the fuck’s [insert your favorite Spider-Man movie here].” I think I’ll leave you with the opening to a wonderful Spider-Man cartoon. Seriously, everyone should watch Spectacular Spider-Man. Later days.