Another Take – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Home Indeed

Yes it would appear that I only write about things relating to Spider-Man, you’ve got me. I’m a massive web-head, always have been and probably always will be.

Two reviews for the same film, I know a bit silly really.

If you want a straightforward spoiler free review you can click here to read Mr Moody’s take on Spider-Man: Homecoming, but if you’re after something that goes in a bit more then stick around.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is unquestionably the best Spider-Man movie we’ve had since 2004’s Spider-Man 2. There that’s the review, go watch it already.

 

Still here?

 

Right, let’s get down to business then.

 

Put out of work by Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) Damage Control team, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his crew take to salvaging materials from Avenger related incidents, developing weapons from Chitauri scraps and Ultron bots to sell on the black market.

Meanwhile Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) find himself back in the mundanity of his life as a 15 year old, in his efforts to prove his worth and value to Tony Stark, Peter finds himself attempting to take down the team of advanced weapon dealers, and quickly finds he has a lot to learn about being a real hero.

When Tom Holland fist swung onto screen in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, he was an instant success. In a brief 15 minutes it was clear that Tom was excellent casting, and that is only proved more so in Homecoming.

Holland is without doubt the finest Peter Parker/Spider-Man we’ve seen on the big screen, perfectly encapsulating

 Parker’s awkward nature and intelligence.

This is in actual fact the first time we’re seeing a big screen Spider-Man who is the same age as he was in the early comics. Tobey Maguire’s Peter was 18 when we first meet him in 2002’s Spider-Man, on his way into college, and the same goes for Andrew Garfield’s Peter.

It’s understandable that these previous films aimed for an older Parker, he was only in high school for 28 issues of the comics, and the big adventures for Spider-Man all took place while he was at Empire State University.

 

For the first time we’re getting a comic accurate 15 year old Spider-Man on the big screen, and boy-o-boy does it work well.

The MCU’s Peter is a perfect update of the original character. Key to me is the depiction of Peter’s intelligence, something that was either only ever brushed over in previous films or practically thrown out the window in others (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I’m looking at you).

Here we have a Peter who know lots about science but not so much about life. He makes mistakes, big ones in the context of being a superhero, but he’s only a kid with a lot to learn.

Holland portrays a wonderful naivete that previous performances were lacking, desperately seeking the approval of Tony Stark, Peter is constantly bombarding him and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) with text updates of his Spider-Man-ing and endlessly asking when the next ‘retreat’ will be.

 

Now at first some might turn there nose up at the idea of a Peter Parker who is so needy, I’ll admit that I wasn’t too keen on the idea of Peter chasing after Tony so much, but in the context of this Marvel world and the film it totally works. Of course Peter want’s Tony’s approval, Iron Man is his hero, and when you’re given the promise of future adventures with your hero you’re going to go chasing after them.

 

Of course a good story of the battle of good and evil isn’t worthwhile without a good villain.

Enter Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes.

The reimagined origins of the Vulture lay the overall responsibility of this villain at the feet of Tony Stark, yes again.

The opening scenes of Homecoming work as setup for Toomes and his crew, it’s a smart move on the part of director Jon Watts as it paints the villains in a more sympathetic light, especially when compared to previous MCU villains.

The driving force of Toomes’ villainous activities are annoyingly understandable and aid in the conflict that Peter feels later in the film;  Toomes is doing basically exactly what Tony Stark did to make his fortune.

Keaton clearly had fun with this role, he’s strikes a great balance between relatable everyman and psychotic mastermind, he bounces off of his supporting cast very well who also all pulled in solid performances, Bokeem Woodbine is notably fun with his time as the Shocker.

 

Overall there isn’t a missed beat within the casting, Marisa Tomei is by far my favourite Aunt May that we’ve had on the big screen.

Tomei doesn’t have many scenes in the film but the few that are here are great, some of my favourite moments of the film stem from the fun jokes about how “surprisingly” attractive she is.

I particularly enjoyed the scene where Peter goes to his Aunt for girl advice, the montage of dance lessons and small talk coaching. The structure of the Peter/May relationship is quite different here compared to the previous films and even the comics, it’s refreshing and works very well.

No longer relegated to providing words of wisdom, Tomei’s May Parker feels like a much more 

 

real character with a life outside of the scenes she is in and I’m looking forward to seeing how she handles the knowledge that her nephew is Spider-Man.

 

Now let’s talk about Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter’s best friend, who’s stolen straight from the character banks of the Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man series, this renamed version of Ganke Lee does not sit well with me.

Especially when Miles’ existence in the MCU is heavily implied through Donald Glover’s character of Aaron Davis, who in the comics is Miles’ uncle and future nemesis. But we’ll see how it goes.

 

Let’s talk about love (I wanna feel it too).

Homecoming has two love interests, three if you count Peter’s obsession with Tony Stark, the first is Liz (Laura Harrier) who is our proper love interest for the film. Sadly she’s not in the film much other to be lusted after by Peter and later abandoned at the Homecoming dance, the few scenes she’s featured in are fun and performed well.

 

Our second interest is more so setup for the future, Zendaya’s Michelle later to be revealed as “my friends call me MJ” a moment that I don’t particularly care for.

If Zendaya was meant to be playing MJ then fine, awesome, but why skirt around it? What purpose does it serve?

Clearly the love interest to be in future films at this moment I’m not believing it. Michelle isn’t in many scenes, though she does provide some of the best one liners in the film. While I don’t doubt the capabilities of  Zendaya and Holland to supply a believable chemistry in the future I’m not seeing it now, those few scenes have Michelle quite cold toward Peter, very uninterested indeed and he’s too hung up on Liz to really notice anyone else anyway.

 

Homecoming is shot and edited with a wonderful energy that carries the teenage energy of high-school to life, thanks to the smaller scale of this film I felt more connected to the world here than I ever have done with any other MCU film.

I’ll mention the cast once again, simply to say that the choice to ‘cast young’ is one of the smartest things done in Homecoming, I’m happy we weren’t subject to once more pretending those 30 somethings were pulling off being 15, this obvious decision really brings the immersion.

 

Despite its [estimated] 175 million dollar budget, Homecoming features some very questionable CGI, especially where the Super-Suit is concerned; I’m not how much time Tom or his stunt performer spent in costume, but the impression is not a lot. That or they over-did-it a bit when adding some computer aided flare to the Spider-Suit.

The final battle of the the cargo plan is a bit shakier than I’d have liked, the flickering of the damaged camouflage system on the plane also gave me a headache after a short time. And I had a hard time making out what was happening, who was punching who? Was that a wing, or a wing?…

 

Though my concerns of the action moments are limited to that final act.

 

The penultimate scene of the film served to fill that missing piece from Civil War, the unmasking of Spider-Man, of course not at all done to the same effect.

 

Tony has a room full of press ready to have Peter reveal himself, he’s made him a new suit ready for the big new Avenger, but Peter declines and heads home. 

A fun twist on that classic moment from the comics.

 

But it’s that final scene that has me both laughing and very excited for the future of our friendly neighbourhood webslinger, the moment Aunt May finds out Peter is Spider-Man what the f**k indeed.

I’m glad that’s out of the way, I plainly could not be bothered with a sequel with lots of sneaking around. Of course we’ll get to    

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming trades the bombastic set pieces of other MCU films for much more grounded and heartfelt moments.

Homecoming is a great film, full of heart and great characters.

The overall smaller scope of the film helps it to be a more inviting and accessible to viewers and I genuinely think this is the best Spider-Man film we’ve had in a long time, certainly miles beyond The Amazing Spider-Man franchise.

 

I’m looking forward to see Holland in Infinity War, and I’m very excited to see what next in store in Homecoming’s sequel.

 

Have you seen Spider-Man: Homecoming yet, if so what did you think?

Let us know, down below!

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Lover of games, guitars and cats. Alfred has been wondering around confused and hungry for some time now, he's Out Of Lives and on the last boss. Wish him luck, or don't. You can do what you want.
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