I may have mentioned this in my previous reviews of films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) but most of my knowledge of comic books comes from my father who was a teenager in the 1970’s when comics were just as big as marvel films today. Around this time, Spider-Man was a much more child friendly comic books that compressed adult themes so they could bring out a more relaxed approach to what people could call a superhero. Spider-Man: Homecoming take the exact same approach in its presentation of both Peter Parker and the web slinger himself.
The films high school location and having students that reflect their personalities externally creates a tone like a good Disney Channel film. Even saying Disney Channel film makes it seem as if I’m harsh on the film, but in the films effort to focus on the simplistic good guy traits of superheroes, the tone is more than tolerable. Even the costume design for Spider-Man’s suit is kept simple which for makes it the most visually impressive of Spider-Man suits in film.
I can see this film connect more with the young millennial audience. There’s a teenage rebellious aura surrounding the films story points that take place at the high school location, think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but taking place in the MCU. I feel that because comic book superheroes are now considered cool and not geeky, this affected how cool the character of Peter Parker has to become whilst also having others around him identify him as a nerd. Tom Holland is certainly a cooler Peter Parker than the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield portrayal of the past. He’s very quick at shifting his performance from the overconfident Spider-Man to the shy introvert that is Peter Parker. The character in question, when you add the child friendly nature of the hero himself, is interesting itself as he is trying to prove himself to be a worth Avenger to the big boys (mostly Iron man). I’m pretty sure you already know that Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as Tony Stark, much like Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow or Heath Ledger as The Joker, the character involuntarily has become his property.
Michael Keaton stars as The Vulture although I’m pretty sure he never referred as that in the film isn’t that impressive as a villain, but as a man, there is potential in bucket loads. He doesn’t seem that much of a villain and more as a hardworking man who needs to provide for his family whose reveal is very unexpected and I must applaud the writer on that turn of events. The balance between comic book villain and working man is evenly spread out and Keaton’s performance brings out floods of intimidation and a tension though his reaction to other characters dialogue. In one such scene, the tension builds and builds as Keaton’s character slowly but surely pieces together the information.
I must say that the most notable and more eye-catching scene in the final fight between Spider-Man and Vulture. The previous scenes involving the two characters are good but there’s something about them that doesn’t have that moment of wow. It feels as if every action sequence in chronological comes closer and closer to fitting into the MCU with the final battle being the most comfortable for MCU followers to see. The amalgamation of impressive visuals and the scene bringing out the humanity in Spider-Man makes this scene one of the more memorable in the film and even shows filmmaking talent in choreographing a good fight scene through fast editing and clear cinematography.
The films main characters are certainly worth caring about, but its additional characters, don’t even bother. I must say for all the praise of putting the starts of the show in the spotlight, it’s the additional character that the film could have easily done without. There are characters whose relationship with Peter are sometimes glossed over and characters like Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who is downright annoying. I couldn’t stand the character of Ned in this film which is a shame because he ends up becoming slightly important to Spider-Man in the film’s conclusion.
My main worry about this film is how heavily reliant on the star power of Robert Downey Jr. and popularity of Iron Man. I’d even put money on at least a quarter of people seeing this film were influenced by the presence of Iron Man. I am glad that the two didn’t team up and fight like one scene in the trailer suggests but nevertheless Iron Man is still a pretty heavy impact on Spider-Man’s quests.
For quite a while it’s been building up inside me a boredom of Marvel films now with a big purpose of milking people’s interest to stay for the end credits to find out where we are heading in this universe. Previous MCU films have had more or a purpose of selling the next films, but Spider-Man Homecoming tells audiences to sit back and relax. There’s something about Spider-Man Homecoming that makes it feel more like a spin-off that a film within the MCU as it chooses to reject typical MCU elements and identifiable narrative devices, which is a breath of fresh air admittedly.
This film will certainly appeal to the younger generation with is simplistic charm and a much cooler Spider-Man that in previous portrayals of the character. Tom Holland certainly has a bright career waiting for him and I have a hunch that he could rival Tobey Maguire as the definitive Spider-Man portrayal.
Final Result: 7/10 – Good
(for younger audiences)
Have you seen Spider-Man: Homecoming? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: War for the Planet of the Apes