Hey everyone! Get ready, it’s time for my first movie review in what feels like ages. Back when I used to write for my old university’s newspaper, I wrote a couple of film reviews, in addition to the video game reviews that were published every few weeks. I still prefer writing about video games, as evidenced by my prior posts on here, but I enjoy watching and discussing movies as well. Anyway, here I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the web-slinger’s latest on-screen adventure, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This movie has been a long time coming. I remember being excited about the next solo Spider-Man flick years ago, when Marvel announced their plans to team up with Sony for a new Spidey film. Many fans breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing this news, especially after watching the mostly unsuccessful release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014. I thought it was a decent movie, but like its predecessor, I felt that it was missing the exciting action and human elements that the first two Spider-Man films directed by Sam Raimi contained. Certain scenes stood out to me, such as Gwen Stacy treating Peter’s wounds in her apartment, or Peter discovering the research his parents made before their death, but I felt there was something missing in the movies. At certain points they felt a bit artificial, feeling more like a Hollywood concoction rather than a movie created by a proud filmmaker. It feels good to say, then, that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a more engaging film than what the first two Amazing Spider-Man movies presented, and present some exciting ideas that were not previously explored in other Spidey movies.
For instance, there’s always the running gag outside of Spider-Man films asking what does Spidey do when he has to chase a villain in the suburbs? Well, that question is answered in Homecoming, as there is a sizable chunk of screen-time that takes place outside of New York City. In fact, a large majority of the action scenes on display take place either outside of the city, or in areas where tall buildings are nonexistent. The suburbs, a ship at sea, and atop a moving convoy of trucks are battles between Spider-Man and the Vulture that all take place away from the skyscrapers present in every previous film. This change in locale is welcome, because superhero fights in large cities have become rather trite. A change in location is often welcome.
Speaking of change, it’s worth mentioning that the Vulture is the best villain the Spider-Man films have seen since Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2. The Lizard, AKA Doctor Connors in Amazing Spider-Man 1 was an okay villain, but his motivation for evildoing was weak (turning all of humanity into lizard people? Seriously?) I still hold a soft spot for the Sandman from Spider-Man 3, because his motivations to save his daughter were relatable to the audience, but the character motivations for the Vulture’s evil-doing were also justified. It was refreshing to see a superhero film that did not have the villain plotting for world domination or total destruction; it felt like Homecoming was instead a smaller story that focused on Peter coming to grips with his powers, versus a villain that felt evil yet justified in some way for his actions. Combining alien technology with human weaponry opens up a bunch of possibilities for future films, and I hope they up the ante with its incorporation in other Marvel movies. The introduction of the Shocker is a nice addition, as his appearance never felt cheesy or out of place, and he never occupied an unecessary amount of screentime.
Seeing Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 was a nice change-up from Mary Jane’s on-screen appearance, and I think Emma Stone did a fine performance as Gwen Stacy. It’s interesting, then, that Homecoming mostly ditches the Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy female lead that prior Spider-Man movies had previously featured, instead focusing on a new love interest in the form of Liz. I think the scenes of Peter and Liz together were captured well, veering on the side of awkward teenage love but not leaning too far into it so as to be annoying. The reveal of Michelle being called ‘MJ’ toward the end of the film was an interesting nod, as it means Liz is most likely out of the picture, instead to be replaced by Zendaya’s character. Only time will tell if this potential new love interest fills the role that Liz previously occupied. It’s not too common that the main character fails to win over the love interest by the end of the film, but Peter was unsuccessful in bringing himself and Liz together, which I appreciate as it highlights his imperfections. Speaking of imperfections, Peter messes up a bunch during the movie. He’s constantly missing web shots at bad guys, falling through debris, and generally showing a level of incompetence that we aren’t used to with superheroes.
How about that surprise reveal a little over halfway through the film, when it is shown that Liz’s father is none other than Adrian Toomes, otherwise known as the Vulture? I was genuinely surprised by this reveal, and surprises in modern superhero films aren’t quite as common as they used to be. After hearing Adrian make a couple of prior references to his family earlier in the film, I was hoping to see a glimpse of the family that he mentioned. To this end, I’m very glad that the movie brought his wife and daughter into the mix in a compelling way. The Vulture’s spiel to Spider-Man as they’re in the car about to leave for the homecoming dance leaves Peter in a state of vulnerability, and gives the Vulture even more weight behind his serious threats. Perhaps my favorite part of the movie is when Spider-Man is crushed underneath the rubble that the Vulture dropped onto him, because it shows a side of superheroes that is interesting to me – their human element. I enjoy high-speed action and engaging fights as much as the next guy, but seeing Spidey struggle to lift the rubble off of his body and convince himself that he can make it out alive gave me legitimate chills.
I think one of the biggest reasons I enjoy Spider-Man is thanks to his relatable motives, witty humor, and of course, the awesome powers he possesses. However, the emotions he conveys on-screen also make me like him more than any other superhero, because he shows a willingness to do anything to save the lives of those around him, including the villains trying to stop him. There are multiple scenes in Homecoming dedicated entirely to Spider-Man rescuing the lives of innocent civilians, and it reminds the audience that he is a superhero first and foremost, bad guy ass-kicker second. Despite his upgraded suit’s “robot lady” encouraging lethal force to take down his foes, Peter Parker tells her to engage non-lethal means as even he knows most of the people he battles do not deserve to die.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter Parker continues to be an interesting and relatable protagonist, his alter-ego Spider-Man providing the high-stakes thrills that we keep returning to the theater for. Having Peter’s buddy Ned being the first to discover Peter’s secret identity, rather early in the movie, too, was a fun addition that made Peter feel less alone than during previous Spidey films. The movie provides a satisfying conclusion to the plot that made me satisfied in the film’s events, and didn’t give any regret for my ticket purchase. Honestly, I feel rather tempted to give the movie another look next weekend. If you enjoy hero flicks, I highly recommend giving this one a look, although chances are you already have an opinion on this film.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming. I’m happy the movie is finally out, and I’m looking forward to reading the Spider-Man comic books that I bought a few weeks back! Have a wonderful week, everyone.