Last weekend I took my son to see Spider-Man Homecoming. My take on the movie: It was OK. Spoilers ahead. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie.
Full disclosure: I stopped reading comics in 1984, when I was 12 years old and started reading Stephen King.
…But until that time, I grew up on comics, and Spider-Man was one of my favourites. I can’t comment on fan favourite villains like Venom because he was created after I stopped reading comics, but I did love my Spider-Man comics, most of which were from the 1970’s, and of course I had some from the early 80’s. So I went into the movie with high expectations. (Don’t do that.) Vulture was always one of my favourite villains.
Don’t get me wrong – I liked the movie. I didn’t love it though.
Another disclosure: I fucking hate Iron Man. I enjoyed the first movie, but found the sequel stupid. And the third one? Well, that didn’t even qualify as stupid, what with hundreds of CGI Iron Man suits flying all over the show. So for Spider-Man to have a costume made by Tony Stark, a costume that talks to him with an AI more advanced than anything we will have in the next hundred years or so, it felt more than a little cheesy.
The movie had some good points.
- Michael Keaton is always great. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie where I didn’t like him. He has a certain charisma that always shines, and he plays a villain particularly well. You even get to sympathize with him, despite him being the bad guy, and he kind of redeems himself in the end.
- Some realism in situations I always wondered about, even as a child. Like, when Spider-Man is in the middle of suburbia, he can’t be swinging his way anywhere. Also, if he climbs a really tall building, it’s going to take a mighty long time to reach the top.
- Tom Holland was excellent in the role; I’ve no complaints there. He’s playing a character the right age, and it’s set in high school.
And it has some bad points… My issues are mostly with the plot, and with the character of Spider-Man himself. No amount of good acting can fix these issues.
- That stupid fucking costume. He’s supposed to get fucked up, and I expect his costume to be in tatters by the end of the movie. But he always bounces back.
- He operates alone; in fact it’s his isolation and guilt at the death of his uncle, and his loneliness, that makes him so loved. Fuck this Uncle Tony shit. (OK, they don’t call him “uncle”, but still.) In so many comics, the end would be a large panel… lonely Peter sitting atop some monument or gargoyle and feeling abandoned. That’s what makes Spider-Man great – that’s why we identify with him because he’s just an ordinary guy who gained amazing powers, who doesn’t quite fit in. And although he triumphs anyway, his life is a struggle. The Spider-Man I knew was isolated, his personal life a mess due to his devotion to an unreasonable and unforgiving, punishing aunt, and nobody knew his secret. With his great powers came not only great responsibilities, but also depressing isolation.
- His snarky attitude is another facet of his character. They got that right in Captain America: Civil War. It’s missing in this movie.
- Two love interests. Why? I’m just gonna put this out there… If Zendaya was obsessed with me, I would not even see other girls. They’d be fucking invisible. But somehow he doesn’t notice her. She’s beautiful and smart and he doesn’t really see her. I’m watching it and going, “What the fuck is wrong with you, Peter?”
- Liz’s father just so happens to be Vulture, and he figures out Peter is Spider-Man while driving them to the homecoming dance. Oh, for fuck’s sake! And don’t tell me about the Osborns in previous movies… Yah, it’s a similar problem, but that shit was straight from the comics. It wasn’t a twist but was something every fan knew and so the fun was about finding out how that happened.
- Tony Stark offers him a position in the Avengers at the end of the movie. It makes no sense because he’s still in school. It also doesn’t follow that Stark would do this. Of course he doesn’t take the offer, but it felt like the whole scene was just there to add in a so-called “Easter Egg” – the costume he turns down in the process. I don’t know what costume it is but I’m guessing it’s something from after 1984 in one of the many comics I never read. And they put that scene in despite the fact that it didn’t make sense in the plot.
- No spider-sense. Maybe they’ll include it in a sequel, and +1 to the director for not trying to one-up previous spider-sense sequences from the other Spider-man movies, but this is a part of the character that’s always been there. They kind of used the senses of his magic costume instead, but yeah… that stupid fucking costume again…
Overall, I did like the movie. And my son who is nine years old liked it too. But he didn’t love it either. He loved the older ones, and when I got home from work yesterday, he’d just finished watching my DVD of the Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Also worth mentioning is that the poster hanging up outside the movie theatre featured the same image I used in this post, and Josh commented on it before we went in. He said it “looks animated”. And that’s a problem.