Dad Movie Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming
Notice concerning spoilers: While we will try to avoid any major reveals, the definition of what constitutes a spoiler tends to be a bit fluid. So this post
may probably will contain some mild spoilers. For example, Spider-Man is a dude. Yeah. It’s out there. Deal with it.
So me and the Bear went to see Spider-Man: Homecoming, and having done that, we have some thoughts.
First off, this is, hands-down, the best Spider-Man movie ever. Nobody has nailed the character more accurately. For better or worse. I say for better or worse because, depending on how much Spider-Man has been a part of your life in the past, this might actually put you off just a little bit. It was smaller in scope than most MCU movies, excepting Ant Man. The culmination of the Avengers is Iron Man flying a nuclear device into the core of an inter-dimensional portal to stop an alien invasion at any cost. In Ant Man, somebody stole a shrinky robot suit. Yeah, so small. But it worked for Ant Man. It lent charm to the film.
Spider-Man has a similarly small feel. I think it works. While Spidey has never shied away from duty, (with one notable exception,) said duty mainly focuses around his section of NYC. As in, “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” So while Spidey is perfectly happy to tangle with an Infinity Gem powered Thanos if needs be, he usually doesn’t. Here, he tangles with the Vulture and Shocker. As Iron Man says in the movie, these guys are below the pay grade of your standard Avenger. (Yes, even Hawkeye.) (Who is actually the awesomest Avenger.) (Shut up. I’ll fight you.) In this way, Homecoming feels small, as well. It’s nothing world-ending, probably. Yeah, a bad guy is trying to steal some stuff that would make him an even badder guy, but he still couldn’t step to an Avenger, much less all of them. In its way, this makes it a better Spider-Man movie. Because Spidey is close. He’s personal. He takes this stuff in stride, yeah, but he’s still more like one of us. While Tony Stark is busy inventing things, insulting bloggers, (more on that in a bit,) and causing basically every major problem in the entire MCU, Peter Parker has a Spanish test.
And that’s the heart of it, right there. Peter Parker. There is perhaps no other superhero who is so closely tied to his secret identity than Peter. Sure, everybody knows who Bruce Wayne is. Super rich, super handsome, super popular, super pedestrian to most of us. Clark Kent is literally a pair of glasses that is boring. Bruce Banner is the angsty side of the Hulk who never smashes anything. Clint Barton is… a guy? Yeah. Anyway, Peter Parker is one of the only secret identities that doesn’t feel like an afterthought. And that doesn’t feel like everyone around him would have to be an absolute moron not to see right through it. Again, it makes it feel small, but not in a bad way. So why did I say for better or worse? Because Spidey has already appeared in an MCU movie, and it was a big one. The biggest yet, in fact. And in this, I think that Marvel Studios did him a mild disservice.
While he and Ant Man had basically extended cameos in Civil War, the two critter-based superheroes stole the show. (And Cap’s shield.) Now, Ant Man had already hit the big screen, so it didn’t diminish his movie any. But since Spidey hadn’t yet, Homecoming does feel a little bit less epic in comparison. Marvel Studios has already been found guilty of hanging their franchises out to dry in the interest of promoting the MCU at large, and thumbing their noses at rival studios with Marvel Comics properties. The spot in Civil War feels like just a bit of both. I don’t have any real problem with that (it’s petty, yeah, but the best way to get back at them would be to make actual quality movies. You know, like Marvel Studios.) But I do feel like they stole a little bit of Homecoming’s thunder in the process.
This said, the movie has its share of pretty epic moments. Bear’s favorite scene, by a long shot, is when Spidey lifts up a big chunk of a parking garage to save not only himself, but more people than anyone else realizes at the time. There is a scene featuring the Washington Monument that will stick with me for a long time. And we’ve all seen the trailer, where he’s the only thing keeping the Staten Island ferry in one piece. If you’re looking for action, you aren’t going to be disappointed. If you’re expecting a non-stop action fest, well, this isn’t it. But the time it spends not smashing things is time it spends developing actual characters with actual personalities, and actual drama that doesn’t feel manufactured. There is a reveal about 2/3 of the way through that really adds something all the other movies lacked, even Civil War. My advice, don’t try to find out ahead of time.
Oh yeah, and the blogger thing. Okay, so Tony Stark makes a comment about real journalists, not bloggers. And some bloggers are a bit… upset. If you’re mad, you need to know two things:
1) Tony Stark is an egotistical jerk. He only cares about what applies directly to him, and only values his own opinions and interests. As a result he is directly or indirectly responsible for every major crisis to strike any movie he appears in, including this one. He’s said plenty of mean things about plenty of people before. I guess this time just hit too close to home for some.
2) He is making a callback to a video diary that Peter is shooting at the start of the movie, while simultaneously indicating to Peter that this is something outside his wheelhouse, so to speak. It perfectly sets up what happens immediately following this statement. If you take it fully out of context, yeah, it sounds like a slight against bloggers. But in the context of the movie, you can see that it really isn’t offensive, and you shouldn’t be mad. And if, after reading all this, you’re still mad, you’re still not as interesting as Bruce Banner when he gets mad.
Overall, fantastic movie. I walked out wanting to see it again. Like, the same day. I highly recommend it, and I think you won’t be disappointed. Just as long as you understand that it isn’t as epic as the Avengers and their individual parts do. Which it shouldn’t. This isn’t Epic Universe-Hopping Spider-Man, it’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
If nothing else convinces you, Tom Holland reprising the Emo dance scene from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 will.
I am so joking.
That didn’t ever happen. Hopefully, it never will.