We run a website called Thwip! Its a given we are huge webheads. Have been for years. So it was with great anticipation and equal parts dread that I was awaiting Spiderman : Homecoming. While Tom Holland made a huge impression on most moviegoers, he just didn’t click for me in Civil War. I thought given more time to play the character in the movie, he will probably show me more – more reasons as to why I should like him as my favorite comic book character of all time. Did he? Answers below.
I read or saw all the reviews of Homecoming before heading to the theater today. They were all glowing reviews, best superhero movie of 2017 said Vox and its ilk. Praise that was being laid at Wonder Woman’s feet a month earlier. I was buoyant with hope that maybe just maybe Marvel pulled it off despite the underwhelming trailers and promotional material. Did it? Answers below.
Tony Stark : Dad of the Year
While the movie quite rightly veered away from the origin story of Peter Parker. It also did away his relationship with Uncle Ben. This relationship is a core component of who Peter Parker is. It is what defined who he was going to be as a person. The death of Uncle Ben solidified in Peter, the sense of responsibility as to how he wants to use his newfound powers. In his darkest moments, he hears Uncle Ben’s words. It’s what raises him above and beyond his limits. The movie replaces this staple with Uncle Tony. While Robert Downey Jr ala Tony Stark is always entertaining, I was never happy with his role in MCU’s Spiderman, and what I feared was right – Tony Stark is full and center Peter’s mentor. He keeps tabs on him. He motivates him. He is there for him. And lastly he designs the suit for Peter. That takes away another staple of the Spiderman mythos. A teenager trying to express what he thinks is cool through his costume. Peter not making his costume is akin to Batman killing people. Oh wait.
Peter Parker or Spiderman?
If you know anything about Spiderman, you know that Spiderman is not the hero, its Peter. Peter is not the mask, Spiderman is. And yet in this movie’s quest to get our hero to accept his destiny, we see him embrace the title. In an impressive recreation of an amazing scene from the Ditko run, he calls himself Spiderman – something in the 20+ years of me reading Spiderman, I have never seen him do. Spidey, yeah. Peter, always. But calling himself Spiderman, was a hamfisted way of him rising above his doubts. And there is another thing that bugged me about that scene, that I cant talk about now, but that bugged me big time, that ties in with the above point.
Downtime or Pacing issues?
The movie is ridiculously slow in the first act. Most people will call it downtime. We get to see Peter’s world and we get his teenage angst balancing against his thrill seeking superheroic desires – that’s what it is supposed to feel like. And that’s fine. That’s a core concept of Spiderman. But how much of that is too much? It felt monotonous, like every other high school movie you have ever seen. It doesn’t really do anything new with the dynamic of him having superpowers and how it has changed his life. His best friend finds out in ten minutes. It takes away that dynamic of living a dual life. We see its toll, kinda. He misses going to a Decathlon – which he ends up going to anyways. He misses showing up to Liz’s party as Spiderman – which in the long run didn’t matter. I can argue quite easily as to how exactly has becoming Spiderman made his life harder? His aunt is a healthy 35 year old hot Italian woman. Its not like in the comics that she would drop dead if she found out he was Spiderman. His fear is she would stop him from being Spiderman. Being Spiderman is supposed to be a hard choice for Peter. Here, its not much of a choice.
The movie had nothing memorable about it. There were no stakes. It felt safe. There is a case to be made for a young Spiderman, and most people feel that. But for us older fans, Peter Parker grew up with us and yeah that disconnect is probably a part of why I didn’t connect with the movie.
The special effects were serviceable, the acting was on par with Michael Keaton being an amazing villain. The story isn’t one to write home about, barring that one twist. *eye roll* Overall it felt like a very average movie to me. All this talk about heart and relatability was just not present to me. It felt like too much of a departure for me from the comics – the iron man tech suit, the reason why Peter chose to become Spiderman (not saying I want another origin story, I am just saying it got MCU-ed), the pacing none of it worked for me. It was an average movie, not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination – but not a great one either.
2 out of 5 Thwips.