Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming SPOILER REVIEW

Image Courtesy
Unfortunately this week has been insanely busy.  I was planning to publish this review yesterday and then my review of Ghost Rider (in which Nicholas Cage answers the question "What if Nicholas Cage were a really good motorcyclist and accidentally sold his soul to the devil?").  Unfortunately that didn't happen.  Then I was going to publish this tomorrow and Ghost Rider today, but I realized that I never actually finished writing that review!  So now this is getting published today, and hopefully Ghost Rider will come tomorrow.  I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath for it...

Spider-Man: Homecoming has been out for a few weeks already, but I was on vacation the week after it came out and busy recovering last week, so this is the first chance I’ve gotten to finally sit down and write a full review (spoilers and all).  There really isn’t much more to add about the movie, but there are a few things I wanted to say in the previous review and couldn’t.

Obviously there will be spoilers this time around, so you’ve been warned.  Although if you haven’t seen this movie by now, you really need to get out from in front of the computer screen, and get yourself in front of a theater screen!

Spider-Man: Homecoming does an incredible job of fitting Spider-Man into the pre-existing Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The movie’s villain gets his start right after The Avengers while his company is trying to clean up the mess left behind at Grand Central Station after Thor and the Hulk took down that leviathan.  Peter himself is a huge superhero fan-boy, as evidenced by his video of Captain America: Civil War.  In a post-Avengers, post-S.H.I.E.L.D. world, superhero messes are cleaned up by a combination of Tony Stark and the U.S. government’s new Department of Damage Control (a take on the comic book business of the same name).  And it is in the context of the MCU that Peter Parker, high school aspiring hero, is trying to balance his school work with learning to be a hero so he can join the Avengers with Tony Stark.  Happy Hogan serves as his reluctant contact person, with Peter’s Tony Stark-designed suit keeping tabs on him for Tony.

Image Courtesy
Tom Holland’s Peter Parker was one of the surprise hits from Captain America: Civil War, and that continues to hold true in his first solo outing.  Not only does he play Spider-Man well, but he also makes a great Peter Parker.  The social and academic crises of high school get just as much weight as the citywide crises he must deal with as Spider-Man.  And when his personal and secret lives collide, it does so in a realistic manner:  Peter’s repeated absences get him into trouble.  Peter’s use of the Academic Bowl to go out as Spider-Man causes problems.  When Peter discovers that Liz’s father is the Vulture, things can’t be the same again.

On the subject of Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. the Vulture, he is probably the best Marvel villain to-date not named “Loki.”  His motivation is very clearly spelled out, and actually makes him really sympathetic:  he’s a working-class guy who’s been fighting to get ahead and wants to provide for his family.  Who doesn’t empathize with that?  In fact, after watching Damage Control kick Toomes’ crew off the job at the beginning of the movie, you almost root for him to succeed.

The revelation at the end that Toomes is Liz’s father offers the most natural “villain discovers the hero’s secret identity” moment from any of the Spider-Man movies to-date (with the possible exception of the original).  I personally was expecting Vulture to take advantage of that knowledge to eliminate Peter, but instead he (almost) thanks him for saving Liz’s life in Washington, D.C.  I don’t think anyone really expected Peter to sit out the heist at the end just because Toomes told him to, but it was a great moment when they were in the car together.  Then the scene at the warehouse when Peter confronts him, only to get buries, was a great moment for explaining Toomes’ motivation—and did so in a way that didn’t feel like the stereotypical “villain starts monologuing.”  Finally, the post-credits scene when Scorpion approaches Vulture to find out Spider-Man’s identity offers even more character development for him:  instead of taking advantage of his knowledge, Toomes keeps it to himself, almost as a sign of respect to Peter for saving both his life and his daughter’s life.

Peter’s two biggest moments in the movie are probably the Staten Island Ferry, when his failure nearly causes untold collateral damage, and the collapsed warehouse, when he finally recognizes himself to be a hero, regardless of what he is wearing, and reconciles the two parts of his identity.  The first, the Ferry, is a huge shock, considering that every other superhero movie (or at least every other Spider-Man movie) features the hero rescuing massive numbers of civilians from certain death at an iconic location.  In every other movie, the hero succeeds on their own; in this one, Peter nearly fails and nearly gets everyone killed—it’s only the timely intervention of Iron Man that prevents a major tragedy.  The second, the warehouse, was a good use of a comic book scene in that it really fit into the story naturally.  We hear him crying for help, expect Iron Man to show up, and when he doesn’t, Peter finds it in himself to lift the rubble from himself.

Image Courtesy
In terms of villains, it appears as though Sony has finally learned from their The Amazing Spider-Man mistake—though it’s just as likely that Marvel got it right, considering that Marvel Studios had creative control of the movie!  Even though there are no less than four different villains in the movie (Vulture, Prowler, Shocker, and Scorpion), there is no confusion.  Vulture is the ringleader, with Shocker as his enforcer.  Prowler is just there for a couple scenes (and to drop a significant Easter egg), but shows himself to be a decent person by helping Peter.  And then the Scorpion is only in a single scene to tease what’s coming next for the series.

There are a lot of other great parts to this movie.  All of the action sequences are great.  There are a lot of little Easter eggs, none of which are distracting.  And unlike so many other movies, this one actually does a good job of dealing with the collateral damage that results from superhuman battles.

Really, the only negative I found in this movie was the title card at the beginning of the movie which showed it to take place eight years after The Avengers.  Considering how badly that messes with the MCU timeline, it distracted me from the movie for the next two or three scenes while I tried to reconcile it!

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an amazing movie, and leaves me very excited to see what the future holds for this character.

No comments:

Post a Comment