Before I check out the podcast review of Spider-man: Homecoming done by my buddies over at Discussing Who, I figured I'd get off my duff and write my own review. I saw Spider-man: Homecoming the first showing on Thursday (because we live in a society without traditions and the midnight release has died a silent, forgotten death). Here are my thoughts....
I don't like the tech suit. At. All.
Still with me? Cool. Let me explain my love for Spider-man briefly, in way of apology to those who are already brandishing pitchforks.
Spider-man is my favorite superhero. I grew up on Spider-man. I read his Golden Books adventures and his comics when I was 3. I learned to read, in part, because of Spider-man. He was also around me in other media. The live action Spider-man from CBS was something I was exposed to through VHS and there were four different cartoon series running around Saturday morning as I was growing up. I identified with Peter Parker and his willingness to do what was right despite the odds. With Great Power comes Great Responsibility was a serious mantra to the young Nerd-storian. He worried about his family, his friends, doing the right thing. He worried a lot and it made him relatable to me. The Marvel Tales reprints of his early adventures made him feel like a kid like me. I could grow up to be like Spidey. In truth, while I have a strong moral compass I also have some neurotic tendencies to worry that have caused a lifelong battle with anxiety, so sometimes being too similar to your heroes can be a bad thing. Imagine fans of the Hulk having explosive rage issues or Batman fans being far too interested in unquenchable vengeance. Come to think of it I may have still got the better end of the deal...
Anyhoo, the short version is I love Spider-man. While I am protective of the Friendly, Neighborhood One, I am also capable of overlooking many things with his various film appearances. When something comes along that envelopes the joy center of your brain you tend to not question the few things that might not be good for you. You sit back, let your pupils dilate, and allow yourself to be washed in the magic of seeing Spidey flip around and do all the things a spider does. It gets you through things like an armored and biker helmeted Green Goblin. Or a weird looking, paintball garbed Green Goblin. Or a Green Goblin that looks like something out of Legend. Or most of the scenes of Venom in Spider-man 3. Or an emo dance number by Peter Parker. Or a spider costume that talks to you and has 500 different web combinations.
Spider-man: Homecoming was a good movie but for me, it wasn't great. That title still stands in my mind as belonging to Sam Rami's Spider-man 2. I was right there with the majority of people that gleefully wet themselves when Spider-man showed up in Captain America: Civil War. "OMG his eyes moved! Shut up and take all my money!" I was on the hype train from then on. "When will he be back? Who will he fight?" I eagerly absorbed all trailers and tv spots. I made all haste to see it opening night. However, I left the theatre (after seeing my current all time fav end credits scene) with mostly a shrug, a smile, and a sense that my time hadn't been wasted but I didn't exactly feel elated by the movie.
Tom Holland is an awesome Peter Parker and Spider-man. The guy is a great actor and damn decent athlete and fills the role well on both sides. Micheal Keaton, was fantastic as always and it was a pleasure to see that this movie gave him three dimensions and a perfectly understandable reason for being a villain. Jacob Batalon as Ned made such a great friend and sidekick in this movie and all the kids playing Peter's classmates worked great. When Zendaya had her few scenes, she stole the moment. Laura Harrier as Liz Allen could not have been better cast.
The things that impressed me most were the character moments where Peter knew the kind of hero he wanted to be and despite the influence of adults and mentors who wanted him to go a different path, he stuck to who he was and what he knew was the right thing to do. Hunting down the high tech weapons had to be done. He had to stop the Vulture, despite what he knew it would cost him. He was able to dig down in the third act and find a reservoir of inner strength we as Spider-man fans know he has but that he hasn't discovered on his own. His naivety with things really played well as a high school kid who happens to have spider powers and a scientific genius.The Homecoming "twist" (no spoilers) left my mouth agape. Didn't see it coming but was so fascinated by the turn of events. I don't want to give any spoilers to anyone who hasn't seen it though I don't know why you're reading this. Turn off your comp and go see it, then come back. Spider-man: Homecoming will give you chills and thrills, there were several times I wanted to get out of my seat and cheer, especially when Ned has his moment as "the guy behind the computer screen".
Yet when it was all said and done, I left the movie feeling like I had just read a regular issue over a special event comic. And maybe that's the point. Homecoming IS the third attempt at a Spider-man franchise. It's still trying to find itself and fit into the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can't fault them for coming in for decent and not world shattering. They have time to get to that and I have no doubt they will. I just wanted a special issue. A cathartic read (view) that gave me a feeling of satisfaction that it was one of the great Spidey stories amongst the likes of The Death of Gwen Stacy. That's the only real shortfall I had with Homecoming.
Well, that and the tech suit.
Like Spidey himself says in the movie, "I just need webs!"
What did you folks think?