My review of Spiderman: Homecoming!
Disclaimer: Spoilers are ahead. You have been warned!
With the release of Homecoming in the UK, people waited anxiously to see if we were seeing another rehash of what has come before or if, finally, Spiderman has been done justice. After leaving the cinema last night, among other feelings, I felt relief. Relief that finally Spiderman was done right. Now a semi disclaimer here, I am a massive Spiderman fanboy and as much as I will try to be balanced in this review, it will also probably be bias…. So my verdict:
AMAZING 10/10! Great 9/10
- Peter Parker/Tom Holland = Great!
- Vulture/Keaton = Great!
- Story was original with decent twists and turns. Good mix of action and emotional moments
- Good supportive cast with fresh takes
- Loosely fleshed out supporting villains but these offer a promising future
- Easter Eggs galore!
I considered writing this review last night, but I decided to sleep on it and in all honesty, let my excitement die down to allow me to look on it rationally. Coming out of that cinema I literally didn’t know where to start. This morning, the logical place to start is Peter Parker.
The thing this film drives home is that there is a man/boy behind the mask. This is as much a Peter Parker: Homecoming as it is a Spiderman flick. It’s a coming of age film that shows the real challenge with being a teenage superhero. At a time when your life is full of angst and school drama, the Superheroes naturally become an escape from these things. Peter gets a taste of this first hand in Civil War, only to be ‘benched’ by Tony Stark and given menial tasks like stopping bike thieves. To Peter this is him being told he’s not good enough, he’s not old enough, he’s not experienced enough by an authority figure, Tony Stark. These insecurities mirror those of a teenage boy in school but on a ‘super’ scale. He rebels against Tony, much like a seemingly oppressed teenager would against a parent for example and he pays for it. The father/son, mentor/mentee relationship drives Peter’s fundamental need to prove himself an Avenger, despite not appreciating that Tony may be enforcing these restrictions for his own good. You add this, sometimes blinkered, approach to being Spiderman and you see the impact it has on the rest of his life; with the debate team, with Liz and with school in general. At one point, he’s already not worried about school as the Avengers are moving away and as a result, he thinks he will too. It takes the various beat downs through-out the film, be it physical from the villains or emotional from Tony, for him to truly learn that his responsibilities lie as much to himself as a boy as they do to Spiderman and the rest of the world. And I loved it. Peter is human and he comes across as that in the film; he has the day to day challenges a teenagers faces, he makes mistakes and he learns and grows.
And with that, Tom Holland did an amazing job portraying him. The mix of awkward nerd, cheeky Spiderman and hormonal teenager are all presented fantastically. I will admit, a few jokes at the start fell short, and I was worried that he become tedious after a while, but he quickly found his stride. His relationship with the supporting cast, from Tony Stark to starstruck best friend Ned was great to see and it honestly felt genuine. His portrayal of a young, inexperienced Spiderman was great to watch and you really see him grow through-out the film.
A hero is often defined by his villains, and I must say, this isn’t Marvel’s strength. Michael Keaton however as the Vulture was a real surprise for me. Toomes in the comics isn’t necessarily the biggest threat Spidey faces, but you know what, that works for this film. With everything happening in the MCU, between a big planet dad (Guardians 2) or Thanos bearing down on the universe, Homecoming takes a step back to a street level approach. The big bad isn’t out to destroy Earth, all he wants to do is look after his family after being wronged by the ‘fat cats’. There is an element of reliability with Keaton’s Vulture, at least up until he seems to be comfortable killing people on a whim. That jump was a bit abrupt if you ask me, however it elevated the threat to where it needed to be. But even then, he’s not an Avenger level villain, as stated numerous times through the film, even by Stark himself. And that was needed for this film, its almost a gateway villain for Peter, but also a throwback to a time when heroes fought for the little guy and protected a person’s purse rather than fight a race of aliens. The Vulture served to bring this scale down to a Defender’s level, rather than an Avengers’s level and I’m okay with that.
His crew as well were solid although not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I was able to identify who was who due to my Comic book experience, however the existence of the Tinkerer for example could have been clearer. They addressed the Shocker a lot better and even had his signature padded outfit to match, at least before he was vaporised. I believe these guys serve to further the Spiderman franchise, rather than this film itself. Marc Gargan for example, (played by Michael Mando of Farcry fame) is known to be the Scorpion, as also shown by the tattoo on his neck. The Vulture is obviously still very much alive, and the Shocker is AWOL. The Tinkerer is, as far as I am aware, also free and kicking which means you have at least three potential members of a Sinister Six with the Tinkerer being the weapons provider. This is exciting as Marvel’s track record of creating interweaving stories is on point at the moment so I am hoping for good good things to come out of this!
The film and story itself was enjoyable and served as a refreshing take on what is a well known origin story. It felt like it was a lot more along the Ultimate Spiderman storyline, which was very well received and one of the few successful comics in the Ultimate universe in my opinion. I was also relieved to not see Uncle Ben die for the third time because although we know this happens, reboots of films like Batman like to remind us that Martha and Thomas Wayne were shot in an alley (we get it, they died). The film trusts us and moves past it, alluding to it as an ongoing emotional driver but only to justify why characters act as they do. The fresh takes on MJ (spoilers the rumours are true) and Toomes being Liz’s dad served to create an original story that was entertaining as it was unpredictable at times. And it was well done too, the action scenes looked great as you were to expect, but they weren’t overshadowing the emotional character moments either. The Washington Monument scene was the most enjoyable action piece, however there are pretty tense and powerful moments outside of this, for example when Peter is in the car with Toomes and Liz or trapped under the rubble. Kudos to Tom, because that rubble scene to me showed just how flawed Peter is. He was, in that moment, a 14 year old boy. Forget the strength and agility, his reaction to being trapped was in all honesty harrowing to me.
A few other points from me:
- Donald Glover- until his name was revealed I was at a loss, but now we know he is Aaron Davis aka The Prowler aka Miles Morales Uncle, and at that point I lost my s***.
- The Iron Spider suit at the end. Although it did look a combination of this and the Spider Armour Peter wore, I am so looking forward to seeing this in action in Avengers 3…
- … not to mention the suit itself. I loved his suit in this film and it honestly felt like his best suit yet. I’ll need to hit Stark up and get one myself.
- The fake out at the end with the press conference was great. Very Civil War in my mind, although the opposite. In Civil War he revealed himself as Peter Parker and received the Iron Spider suit before eventually turning to Cap’s side. In this, he doesn’t do that, in turn doesn’t take the suit and effectively remains neutral.
- The Captain America videos were amazing and I feel I would have paid more attention in school had I had them