Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (Spoilers!)

From the moment it was announced that Sony was finally teaming up with MARVEL to make a “Spider-Man” film (and hopefully save the Spider-Man franchise while they are at it), many have been eagerly waiting for this movie to arrive. After all, Spidey was coming back home to MARVEL. I myself was quite excited about this as well, (but probably not as excited as I was for the very first “Spider-Man” film) as from the few trailers I had seen (by that time, my life had been sucked into the black hole of “Doctor Who” once again), it looked like they got the true spirit and essence of the web-slinging superhero right, and because I was eager to see Tom Holland prove himself in his first feature film in the MARVEL Cinematic Universe.

Before I go any further, I just have to say that I was going to post this sooner, but then I realized that this would be a good time to finally revisit the Tobey Maguire and the Andrew Garfield films, to see how they stack up against each other. So yes, I will be revisiting the other Spider-Man films, and will be posting reviews about them soon.

At this point, we have already gone through what I call the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi Era and the Andrew Garfield/Marc Webb Era, so, many were excited to see how this one would be able to tell the same old tale in a different way. Also, the expectations were way much higher especially after seeing Holland in action in “Captain America: Civil War”, and because Spider-Man was being handled by the company that created him in the first place.

Thankfully, MARVEL’s and Sony’s collaboration together worked out really well as this film centered more on Peter Parker himself as opposed to his super hero alter-ego, and because they got the true essence of the character right.

Aside from this, they were also able to incorporate elements of what happened during “Civil War” in it, and it dealt a lot with the aftermath of Peter’s collaboration with his new found mentor, Tony Stark or Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.).

Speaking of Stark, I love the fact that he popped in and out of the film, and wasn’t in the movie that much. This was great because it allowed the film to really be more about Peter than it being about his future as an Avenger and all.

I liked some of the changes that they did for the movie, as they were truly able to adopt and update the material to reflect present day themes and views.

Holland did a phenomenal job as Peter. From the very first time I saw him on screen as Spider-Man in “Civil War”, I knew that he would do great. I do love Maguire’s version a lot, but I felt that Holland’s performance and Holland himself was able to encapsulate the essence of what and who Peter Parker is. His performance from the comedic bits, to the action sequences, all the way down to the emotional beats were well done.

Michael Keaton was just fantastic as Adrian Toombs or the Vulture, and I think that aside from Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Toombs is probably one of the best villains that MARVEL has put on screen, mostly because you could understand where he is coming from, and what he is going through. His performance was just mesmerizing, but everyone probably expected that from him from the get go.

I think that my only gripes with the movie is the fact that Donald Glover didn’t seem to have much of a role in this one, the fact that I really didn’t like how Zendaya portrayed her character, Michelle Jones, and that most of the adults in Peter’s school and most of the kids in Peter’s school felt too apathetic about things.

All in all, this was a great coming of age story, and a great popcorn film that  was able to successfully retell a story that has been told twice over in a new and refreshing way.

And now, you know the drill, beyond this point, there will be spoilers.

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First off, I must admit that I wasn’t that thrown off by the timeline, because I figured that I’ll find an explanation somewhere, and because I didn’t really want that to spoil my enjoyment of the film. Sure enough, I did end up finding out about it, but it really didn’t affect the way I see the MCU. ( I blame the fact that recently I’ve getting used to having continuity all over the place as I am a Whovian).

Before we get into Peter Parker and company, let’s talk about Tony Stark and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).

As I said earlier, I really like the fact that they were able to utilize Tony in such a way that he popped up only when needed, and that also allowed it to be less stuffed with Avengers stuff. This is also probably why they decided to have Happy be Peter’s baby sitter, not that I can complain, because a really grumpy Happy baby sitting Peter was pretty fun to watch.

I also like the fact that Tony appears to be a little bit more mature than before after the events of “Civil War”, especially when he tries to be a good mentor and father figure to Peter. I also like the fact that instead of giving the whole “With great power comes great responsibility line”, Tony taught Peter how Peter himself is really the superhero, the suit and moniker are just extensions of that. Also, I was happy to see Gwyneth Paltrow pop back in as Pepper Potts, and I’m happy that the two are finally getting engaged.

Now, I said that I loved Maguire as Spider-Man, but Holland easily takes his place in my heart because it felt like he was born to play Peter Parker. He got every single thing right, and didn’t stop there. I loved the fact that they had him eating while sitting on the edge of a rooftop, scanning the streets below for any crime he might be able to stop. That felt like it was ripped right out of the pages of a comic book.

I also love the fact that instead of playing up his superhero side, they concentrated more on Peter Parker himself. I like that they did this because they’ve already done so much to talk about his superhero alter-ego in the past five movies.

Holland’s performance was also great because it felt so real and raw, and I particularly have to give kudos to him for his performance when that wall fell on him when he went to confront the Vulture without his suit, because he sounded like a panicking kid, and that was what he really was at the moment.

The way he approached the role was so genuine and raw, and I cannot wait to see what Holland will do next with the character.

Keaton’s Adrian Toombs or the Vulture was both wonderful and mesmerizing, and right from the start, you felt for him. Also, he, alongside Loki, probably were given the most depth out of all the villains that our MARVEL based heroes encountered in their movies.

I especially loved the scenes when he was driving Peter and his daughter to the homecoming dance, with him piecing things together and giving Peter a serious talk while hinting that he knows that he is Spider-Man.

I also didn’t expect him to be Liz’s father, so that was one wonderful surprise and plot twist for me.

Jacob Batalon was great as Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds, and I cannot wait to see what they’ll do next with this character. Some people may have issues with Aunt May being young, but I thought that it was a good creative choice, especially as the Peter we are getting is the youngest incarnation we have seen on screen yet.

As mentioned earlier, I thought that Glover should have been given a bigger role, but if his character will have more to do in the sequel, then I’ll just be patient for that to happen.

I wasn’t fond of Zendaya here, mostly because I had heard that her character was supposed to be like Ally Sheedy from “The Breakfast Club”, but it didn’t come across that way to me. Instead, it came across as a pouty and a little bit pretentious hipster. I also don’t like the fact that they are trying too hard for her to be the Mary Jane Watson character, especially as I do not see any chemistry at all between her and Holland.

For some reason, I really didn’t like how blah Liz Allen (Laura Harrier), the other students and the teachers were. It’s like they all were bored out of their minds and didn’t care about anything that much.

Narratively speaking, I thought that the movie was well-paced, and it didn’t falter during the denoument of the movie, with the big battle sequence that the heroes always have with the main villain of the movie. I also liked the fact that Peter discovering the alien hybrid weapons was done very organically.

The action scenes were also well-done, and didn’t lose itself too much in too much CGI.

However, for some reason, this film didn’t have the emotional high stakes that the very first Spider-Man had, but all the same, it was a really enjoyable movie that got the essence of Spider-Man right, and most probably, has succeeded in saving the Spider-Man film franchise. Aside from that, besides being a fun superhero film, it was an excellent coming of age film, and a film about one’s own identity. I can’t wait to see where this will go next, and I cannot wait to see Holland’s Spider-Man back in action during “Avengers: The Infinity War”.

Normally, I’d go back to my regularly scheduled “Doctor Who” posts, but as mentioned earlier, I decided to go back and re-watch the past five Spider-Man films. So, after posting my reviews on that and after seeing how all the movies and the Spider-Mans stack up against each other, I’ll be returning to Classic Who to talk about the last three seasons of the Tom Baker era.

Did you like “Spider-Man: Homecoming”? What did you like or not like about it? What did you think of the reveal that Zendaya is portraying a Mary Jane Watson-esque character or archetype? How did you like Holland’s performance as Spider-Man? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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