Editor’s note: So, I f’d up months ago. My friend, J. Michael Trautmann, wrote an excellent review of Spider-Man: Homecoming when it was released, and I totally gaffed on getting it up. Rather than leave it to the ether, I’m really happy to post it now (with apologies to JMT). Spider-Man: Homecoming is doing gangbuster business on VOD and Blu-ray (see more here), so luckily, his work remains timeless, even with my mistake.
OK, so it’s been enough time and everyone has seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, who cares by now. Here are my thoughts on the latest Sony adaptation of Marvel’s (and my) favorite character, Spider-Man. Spoilers a plenty, for those of you slacking.
Showing Peter Parker this young was a good move by Marvel. And after my first viewing of this film, I’ve come to learn that this iteration is a combination of both Parker and Miles Morales’ storylines, the latter having a best friend who knows his secret of being the Web Slinger. That being said, it still bothered me that Peter had so many people to talk to about being Spider-Man. I have always thought that the one thing that makes Parker relatable and human is the fact that he has no one else to confide in. Just himself, with a hard lesson and a great quote from his Uncle Ben and a genius that might even rival Bruce Banner. He had to keep his identity secret to save the ones that he loved and that made his struggle and journey so much deeper and relatable to its audience. He didn’t garner other heroes to talk to like Johnny Storm and Daredevil until he was well beyond high school.
Now, I understand a film, especially a third reboot of said character, needs to have cool stuff happening on the screen to keep us actively engaged, now that our attention spans only last three to eight seconds, but I absolutely hated the suit. Not necessarily all of the Stark gizmos and enhancements that it had, although those were completely out of place for a young Peter Parker. It was the fact that it talked. Enter another entity for Parker to bounce his adolescent superhero problems off of.
It was ridiculous.
Also, I don’t care about RIGHTS – show us the Iron Spider costume at the end, not that ugly giant black arachnid atrocity. Come on!
My other major problem with this story and film is the liberties that they decided to take on the Spider-Man classic characters. First of all “MJ” is a powerhouse who is not named Michelle. I could rant for weeks on that alone, but I digress. I didn’t mind the punk artist take on her, but don’t change what her name is. Why even have her say, “My friends call me MJ?”
Betty Brant was harsh and unmistakably was made to look like Gwen Stacy; there is no excuse for this whatsoever, and the actress was stale. And finally, Flash Thompson is not an academic alternate in any high school. Anywhere. Ever. I get that you want him to be there for dialogue in group scenes with Parker, but then make him be the mascot, or EMCEE, or even someone who is being punished by having to attend their academic event, because he’s an asshole. He was a weak bully and I found him beyond annoying, “Penis Parker” aside.
Michael Keaton, as the Vulture, was the best part of the film; he made me care about Tommes’ plight and I loved how they connected him to the Avengers storyline. His costume was brilliant and the subtle fur collar with that helmet & wing/talon combo was really fun to watch. Making him be the father of Liz Allan was a stretch I understood they took to tell a two-hour story, so I have no complaints in the villain department of this film, unlike every other Spider-Man film, minus Spider-Man 2. His keeping Parker’s identity from Matt Gargan at the end was a great retribution for the villainy he had just embodied.
I was also happy that this film didn’t turn into Iron Man 4. Robert Downey, Jr. was sprinkled into this film perfectly. We got great moments and exchanges between Parker and Tony Stark. Also, having Iron Man save that ferry was a great way to show the difference between a novice hero and a seasoned veteran. And speaking of Avengers: Chris Evans stole the movie with his Captain America Educational Films. I died at the post credits scene.
So, ok, is Spider-Man: Homecoming a good film? Yes. Should you watch it and have fun? Always. Was it the best Spider-Man film ever? No, far from it. In my correct opinion, no Spidey flick has gotten to the core of this sensational story like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, even with Tobey and Kirsten’s half-assed performances. I do like Tom Holland in this role and will even go as far as saying that Civil War was a better Spider-Man film than Homecoming. Sony was smart to hitch their wagon to Marvel Studios. If they don’t bring back the symbiote from the Infinity War, someone is really dropping the ball. I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a B- because I do understand that this Web Head wasn’t made for me, it was made for the latest generation of young Wall Crawler fans.
Still, her name is Mary Jane Watson. Better ask somebody.