Spider-Man Homecoming: The Popped Review
We’ve seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, and now we have words about it! We’ll be discussing in further detail on Tuesday at 8 PM EST on www.facebook.com/poppedshow/
Remember that scene in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War where Spider-Man was introduced and fandom breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Marvel was going to do it right? Well, get ready for two hours of the same feeling!
Spider-Man: Homecoming is an appropriate title as it brings the title character back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fold. It also brings Spider-Man back to his roots as a character. This movie is lean and wastes no time getting into the main story. Gone are the sub-plots about secret agent parents and Aunt May’s nursing career. Gone is the attempt at setting up sequels that will never happen at the expense of the plot. Gone is the same rehashing of Uncle Ben’s death and Spider-Man’s origin.
Allowing Peter Parker and his alter ego to join the MCU was the perfect choice. It allows him to live in a world that is already made. The homages and easter eggs in the film work, not because they are trying to create a universe, but because they add small touches to a world that already exists. They are there just enough to give the world a ‘lived in’ feel without distracting the audience, and they show a different corner of the MCU not seen in any of the other Marvel movies or Netflix series.
I was a little worried going in that the trailers had given away too much of the movie’s plot, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong. I said earlier that this is not an origin story, but at the same time it is. We don’t see Peter get his powers, but we join him right at the beginning of his super hero career. Peter already has his power’s, but he hasn’t completely honed his skills yet. Taking place almost immediately after Civil War, Peter has just been introduce to a larger world that he desperately wants to be a part of. He knows he has something to offer and tries so hard to prove it, he almost wrecks his chances due to his exuberance.
Tom Holland is perfectly cast. He captures the athleticism and snarky attitude of Spider-Man, but his Peter Parker is spot-on as well. You completely believe him as the nerdy teenager. The movie does a great job of showing how Peter is often his own worse enemy. His sense of responsibility drives him to do what he can, often at a great personal sacrifice, but at the same time it compels him to take huge risks that get him (and others) in situations over his head. And, of course, the more arrogant and self-confident Peter becomes, the more the famous ‘Parker Luck’ strikes back.
Michael Keaton gives one of the better villain performances as the Vulture. I may like him better than Loki, but time will tell. He doesn’t want power for power’s sake like most Marvel villains do. He’s not out for world domination or mass destruction; there’s no earth shattering plan he’s trying to accomplish. HIs motivation is both simple and believable. I love the fact that he’s a ‘working class’ villain, as this type of story fits Spider-Man best. The Vulture gets enough development as a character that he doesn’t feel like a plot device or obstacle for Spider-Man to overcome.
The supporting cast is uniformly excellent as well, from Aunt May to Peter’s fellow high school classmates. Robert Downey Jr. is in the film just enough, though not as much as the trailers would like you to believe. We get to see a different side to Tony Stark as he’s forced into the role of parent for Peter. It’s a role he doesn’t handle well, to good results. The argument he has with Peter midway through the film grabbed me emotionally as a parent. Chris Evan’s random cameos are also priceless.
There have been some pretty good super hero films released so far this summer, but for me Spider-Man: Homecoming is the one to beat. It’s definitely one of my favorite Marvel films, right up there with Captain America: Winter Soldier. Leaving the theater, I couldn’t wait to see the movie again. What better praise is there than that?
Spider-Man has come home (see what I did there?) to his rightful place in the cinematic world. Don’t get me wrong, I love Raimi’s take on Spider-Man, but Tom Holland and team give us the truest Spider-Man to date. We finally have a true teenage, comic accurate version of Spider-Man with all the little intricacies that we associate with Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego. Granted, he is based more on the Ultimate universe rather the main continuity.
Comics are supposed to be fun and we definitely get that with this movie. This was the most fun I’ve had at a Marvel movie to date. Marvel really knows how to balance the grounded seriousness with the “we are still based on silly drawings from the 60’s”. Bringing Marvel in was the best decision Sony could’ve done with the character (maybe Fox will learn from this with Fantastic Four). Marvel knows their characters and their fan base. They know how to honor the character and still keep it fresh. They’ve been doing so for fifteen movies and almost ten years now. They gave plenty of fan service by throwing in a classic scene from the comics and plenty of universe building. Heck, they even managed to handle multiple villains without muddling the plot.
This knowledge and experience shows through the movie. We get a wonderful display of Peter Parker and dual life he leads. Yes, we got it a bit in Raimi’s Spider-Man, especially in SM2, but at its core, that was more romantic based than anything. Homecoming was mainly school based. I would’ve liked to see the duality with Aunt May more, but this will suffice. In fact, the school is what made this film fun. It was like watching an episode of Freaks and Geeks with superhero elements balanced in. I use that reference for a reason because not only was Martin Starr in the movie, but John Francis Daley also had a hand in writing the story. So you can see why the high school angle was played so well in this movie. I thought director Jon Watts was just bullshitting when he said he took from the great high school/teen movies when creating this movie. However, while watching Spider-Man try to get through the suburbs (one of my favorite scenes btw), I got a very Ferris Bueller vibe. This vibe was confirmed shortly thereafter.
The characters are also written really well in is movie. Yes, there were some archetypes, but they seemed fresh for a Marvel movie because we haven’t really had a teenager style movie in this universe yet. The returning characters that did pop up though were fleshed out and well developed because we’ve seen them for ten years now and they’ve had time to marinate if you will. Robert Downey Jr. has evolved so well, I liked the mentor/father role he took in this movie I like that he recognized how his dad wasn’t great as being a father figure and he was trying to be better than his father, “break the cycle” as it were. Michael Keaton was born to be a Vulture. Everything he has done has led him to this role. Personally, I think it’s the perfect evolution of an actor. He made it big as the superhero, rode the fame train for a bit, disappeared for awhile and made smaller budget movies, then made a major comeback as one of the best Marvel villains to date. I say he’s one of the best because his motivations are clear and make sense, and he’s not just trying to take over/destroy the world. It also helps that Michael Keaton is awesome. While on the topic of characters, can we bring back J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson?
This movie wasn’t without its faults. I have my nitpits, but that’s what they are, purely simple nitpits that don’t take away from the enjoyment of the movie. The movie introduces Damage Control. While I’m happy to see this minor Marvel entity in the movies, it messes up continuity. If Damage Control was created after the events of The Avengers, why weren’t they cleaning up the messes that Shield was cleaning up after Thor: The Dark World? Yes, I know one could make the argument that they’re not as connected as Marvel proclaims, but still. The second thing is Peter wasn’t as quippy as I’ve seen him be. This is purely personal preference. I’m guessing it’s because he’s still insecure as a superhero and will get more quippy in the sequel. Last nitpick I have is the [SPOILERS STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS] name drop if the Michelle character. She claims her friends call her MJ. It was the same level of annoying as Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character name dropping Robin in Nolan’s third Batman film.
Lastly, make sure you stay throughout the credits because, duh, it’s Marvel. This movie doesn’t have the quantity of post credits scenes (only two) that Guardians Vol. 2 had, but it definitely has the funniest one so far. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch the best Spider-Man cartoon, Spectacular Spider-Man (seriously, go watch it).
It’s been two days since we saw Spiderman: Homecoming and I’m wrestling with one question: how forgettable will it end up being for me?
This is not going to be a harsh review. On the contrary, I loved the movie. It was delightfully surprising in a lot of ways:
-No origin story. While we’re talking about memorable, I do remember Tobey what’s-his-face and that whole situation with that chick from Bring it On. It was kind of nice to go through the movie without delightfully blunderous training montages.
-Peter Parker, potentially the most angsty Marvel figure ever due to his age, was probably the least angsty of them all. I appreciated that he could just be like, “I have powers. THIS IS SO COOL!” the way that any other peasant human would probably be. This is not to minimalize the conflict or the struggle of the other origin stories we’ve seen, it was just refreshing to not have some kind of crazy revenge plot, an overdone “I just want my kids back” motivation, or a ton of baggage from a cold parental figure. Also I wanted to punch Dr. Strange in the face for most of his movie. While I did roll my eyes at Peter Parker’s very realistic teenage struggles, it was more in a “oh, kids!” way than a “ugh can’t I just take out this d-bag?” kind of way.
-The bad guy isn’t just like, a pure sack of evil. I mean he’s pretty bad, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not Kingpin bad. Plus I like Michael Keaton. More about bad guys later, though.
-Happy. I’m a huge Jon Favreau fan anyway. Have you seen “Chef?” Go watch it. It’s on Netflix.
Some things I wasn’t nuts about:
-They leaned heavily on cameos. I don’t know if it was more than previous movies, but Cap kept popping in, and honestly that kind of scrambled my understanding of the timeline after Civil War. Much discussions were had in the car on the way home. I accept the explanation Keith and Myles gave me, but I’m still not sure. Also when there are a ton of cameos and inside jokes it makes me wonder how my pre-Popped self would have enjoyed the movie. A whole lot of missed jokes.
-The soundtrack was okay, but I’ve seen better. There was lots of missed opportunity there. I should probably say that we last saw “Baby Driver” so the bar has been raised, but even Zimmer’s stuff on the DC movies was a little more punched up. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Marvel movies have weak soundtracks (GOTG proves that wrong) but with a few exceptions, they’re mostly meh.
Now onto my overall fear for this movie: forgetfulness. I enjoyed the hell out of Spiderman:Homecoming. I really did. I won’t roll my eyes with Keith buys it on DVD. But I realized in playing back what happened in the Marvel universe with Keith and Myles after the movie was over, that I don’t remember half the crap that happened. I remember the main plot points of Civil War, but I had really foggy memories of the other bad guys in the Marvel movies. Michael Keaton as Vulture was great, and even different in some ways I mentioned earlier, but the bad guys seem a lot more one-off than the good guys. I know that’s probably how it is in the comics and it makes sense from a casting point of view, but still. Sometimes you just want a Joker or a Zod to hate and wait for the entire movie.
Tom Holland was super, mostly because I’m pretty sure he is actually Peter Parker, and I know in a year I’ll go into future Marvel movies thinking about the cute Spiderman movie and looking forward to the other ones. I don’t know if myself or any other drive-by fans will really take a whole lot away from this, though, but who cares? Marvel is already making buckets of money on this, it fits in nicely, and it’s among the highest rated so far. I’m sure they’re going to take my “great, but possibly forgettable” review and just go cry into their huge piles of money.
All in all, well done, Marvel. Looking forward to the next one.