Spider-Man: Homecoming – Review

Peter Parker zips around Queens New York, fighting crime as Spider-Man. He has a fancy hi-tech suit made for him by Tony Stark. Parker wants to join The Avengers and constantly bugs Happy Hogan to brag about his heroic deeds.

When a series of unusual robberies happen around the city – Parker investigates – disobeying Stark’s strict orders not to do so.

Parker’s actions will bring him into conflict with Toomes AKA “The Vulture”. A burgeoning super villain with a few personal issues of his own.

Parker must find a way to combat the threat and explain himself to Stark, his Aunt, his friends and the Principal at his High School.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a delight. This is what you’d get if John Hughes directed a superhero film in the 80s. Amongst the superhero action there is a very real, very human story of a teenage boy struggling with the trappings of adolescence.

Disobeying authority, thinking he knows better, and thinking that all grownups are dumb. Even The Avengers. 

It’s this humanity that makes this incarnation of Parker such a sympathetic character cause it reminded me a bit of what I was like as a teenager. Yeah the parties were cool – but that first heartbreak? Ahh man! SO RAW!!! It’s all here in this film.

Refreshingly – Parker’s secret identity as a superhero doesn’t automatically solve his problems. He’s still nerdy, somewhat bullied and a little awkward. Tom Holland sells it all beautifully. It wasn’t until the end of this film that I realised who he reminded me of: A young Michael J. Fox.

Is this the best Spider-Man film ever? It’s too early to make that call. But it’s the most HONEST one.

I was watching an interview with Kenneth Johnson not long ago. As you all know Johnson was responsible for the iconic live action The Incredible Hulk TV show in the 70s/80s.

That show is known as perhaps the first most successful screen adaptation of a superhero. In live action at least.

Johnson was asked about what he did to make it work and he said that George Burns once told him that to make a lie believable you have to infuse it with as much TRUTH as possible. He said that this approach is how he can get an audience to actually buy his myriad fantasy productions.

This also seems to be the approach that director Jon Watts took. He really gets to the CORE of who this Parker guy is. His hopes, his dreams, and the many disappointments he must encounter on his path to make them happen.

However – if I carried on analysing that particular element of the movie then I’d be doing it a disservice. Cause it ain’t all teen angst and doom and gloom.

This works PERFECTLY as a superhero film. The action scenes are kinetic and inventive – especially two thrilling sequences at the Washington Monument and the Staten Island Ferry. The visual effects are crisp and serve the story rather than distract from it.

Michael Keaton’s Toomes is an excellent bad guy. He’s probably the first blue collar working class comic book mega villain I’ve seen in a movie. His ambitions are surprisingly small – and in a way – we can understand where he’s coming from. Doesn’t stop him being an asshole, but hey – we’ve got to do despicable things to put food on the table sometimes. Amirite?

Jacob Batalon provides comic relief as Ned – Parker’s VERY nerdy best friend. Martin Starr is also very funny as Mr Harrington – Parker’s sardonic High School teacher.

Marisa Tomei is wonderful as Aunt May – although I hope that the jokes about her being a MILF Aunt are dropped for the sequel. It was done in Captain America: Civil War and it’s done here. It’s one of those things that’s amusing the first couple of times but could get boring very quickly. Yeah – she’s attractive. WE GET IT. Move on.

Robert Downey Jr is incomparable as always as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and Jon Favreau is a lot of fun as Happy Hogan. There’s another appearance by someone from their corner of the universe as well. I won’t ruin it here – but do look out for it.

Why?

I’m REALLY hoping that this is a hint that Iron Man 4 may be on the way. It feels like they’re saying “Watch this space”.

FINGERS CROSSED!!!

I’d love one more Stark solo adventure before Downey decides to hang up the suit for good…

Laura Harrier plays Liz – Parker’s love interest. She’s not a bad actress but she is the source of one of my criticisms with the film. I didn’t find this character particularly well developed. I didn’t understand what it was about her that would rock Parker’s world so much.

Another criticism I have is a little something in the third act. I’m not going to go into specifics but unless I’m mistaken – there is a MASSIVE plot hole in the final battle. It goes from A to C and I was sitting there thinking “What’s happened to B”?

Still. Minor gripes.

In some ways this film answered my prayers. One of the things that really frustrated me about Marvel’s Cinematic Universe films is that the origin stories were too similar to each other. It especially bugged me in Doctor Strange. 

I’ve always said that I’d like one of these movies to ditch the origin story. Explain it in a line of dialogue or something and not make me sit through an hour of having it laboriously explained to me.

Well – it seems like the boys and girls at Marvel Studios were listening. This film hits the ground running and doesn’t bore us with any unnecessary exposition. It was like a refreshingly cool breeze on a stiflingly hot day. I hope this is a sign of things to come.

Special mention must go to Michael Giacchino’s score. This is one of his best. I noticed the use of a pounding and bombastic tune in the action sequences and it really added to the excitement.

All in all Spider- Man: Homecoming is huge fun. Great Summer entertainment!

The Man Who Saved Movies. Penis Parker. 

 

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  • Nice appraisal. I dunno if I can handle a third iteration so quickly but this does look fun. I’m not sold on Tom Holland yet but let’s see.

    • He’s great man! Check it out!

      • Mistah Doe

        He certainly was in CW.

        • If you liked that you’d love this.

          • MegaDethlok

            Stu, a good friend of mine gave it a 6.5 and compared the first hour to Saved by the Bell. We have simular tastes so I have to go with him on this.
            I like Spider-Man but after being burnt twice..okay thrice if you count Spider-Man 3, I’m putting Homecoming on reserve. Plus I have this hate on for Amy Pascal, that sneaky vile bitch. I read IAB’s weekly spinning column and he mentioned how Ironman’s appearance in the trailer was ommited from the film. WTF!!!

          • That thing about Iron Man’s appearance in this VS the trailer isn’t entirely accurate. See this film dude, I promise you’ll dig it.

          • MegaDethlok

            I’ll check it out over next weekend. Apes was first on my list.

      • It’s pretty good; much better than I hoped. The twist is fantastic.
        What’s the plot hole?

  • I’m really looking forward to seeing this, which will probably be sometime in September. 🙂

    Good review, Stu. Something that made me smile: “I didn’t understand what it was about her that would rock Parker’s world so much.”
    All that a teen girl needs to do to rock a teen boy’s world is EXIST. 🙂
    Over at the other place some folks are bitching about the tech-suit. I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that as I think it’s a really clever way to have the eyes on the mask dilate and constrict. VERY COOL!

    • I thought the tech suit was awesome. It really helps the plot. There’s a payoff.

      • WALKER TEXAS AIDS MACHINE

        The tech suit sounded like such a bad idea, but executed so well. Sort of like the Door Opening.

        What a great flick.

  • Pawpr1nt

    I was sold on this film as soon as I saw Spidey in Civil War. My ass was guaranteed in a seat after the first trailer.

  • The Magic Hunter

    Awesome! I’ll see it soon… in the meantime, I’m visiting my sister (6 hour drive that should have taken 3 — stupid traffic), who hardly ever goes to the movies. I’m gonna try & convince her to go to a “Wonder Woman” matinee…

  • franks_television

    Sounds good. The NPR guy didn’t like it, but of course that would be the case.

    • NPR?

      • The Magic Hunter

        National Public Radio. Sort of like the BBC. Lots of local stations that have local programming, but also all carry few of the same national NPR programs, such as the self-explanatory “Morning Edition” and the early evening “All Things Considered.” 7 of the current top 15 podcasts in the US are either directly done from NPR stations or spun off from that world.

        • franks_television

          And they’re a bit snooty.

  • Mistah Doe

    I’m not in a rush to see this and will more likely check out WFTPOTA this weekend. Spiderman is still in the vile clutches of Sony and Amy Pascal aint getting my money anytime soon.
    I binged on Netflix’s Castlevania series instead.
    ?

    • I have a weird relationship with movies made by Sony.

      • MegaDethlok

        Me too, especially since the first Resident Evil movie.?

        • Oh man, that SUCKED!!! Didn’t see any of the sequels. I remember not long ago my wife and I were at the cinema and we saw Resident Evil 7 (was it 7 or 6?) being advertised… and I said to my wife “Who EXACTLY is watching that shit!?!”

          • MegaDethlok

            Mostly, the fans of the videogames I take it. Paul WS Anderson claims he’s a fan of the RE games yet basterdized the concept with his overdone high octane action adaptations. I’m just glad that he’s finally “done” with the franchise. I was shocked to learn when mentioning how i hate the RE films to my late friend Rich Buckler (Creator of Deathlok) and his response was “I love those movies”!
            Talk about shooting from the hip.. X)

          • I only ever played one RE from start to finish. Resident Evil 2 back in the N64 days.
            I’ve tried others but ended up getting bored. I just feel that when you’ve played one RE game, you’ve played them all.
            Dead Space on the other hand… I absolutely fucking LOVED those!

          • MegaDethlok

            I love dead space although the 3rd game was weak but still its a great series. Glad i can still play the games on my backward compatible XBox one.

          • I hope one day there’s a Dead Space 4.

          • MegaDethlok

            I think 3 is more than enough. Especially when it comes to Isaac Clark’s arc. The man deserves a break. X)

          • It’s a big universe man, surely someone else out there can go up against The Marker?

  • Felchmeister777

    I can’t seem to get myself excited for anything comic book related, so I’ll be waiting for blu ray to watch this.

    However…that was one of your best reviews for sure. Passionately written…

    • Why thank you sir! It’s weird… my BFF is a Marvel nut in the way that I’m a DC nut – and I was very surprised to find out he didn’t like this. He gave me a list of reasons as to why.
      I was surprised cause I thought all Marvel fans would be going crazy for it – but according to my pal – it just took too many liberties with the source material.
      I think the fact that I’m NOT a Marvel nut means that I’m more likely to have a better time with these movies in a weird way – cause concerns that would bother them wouldn’t bother me.
      With Marvel films – I just go to see a movie. Plain and simple.
      I never asked him – but when he saw BvS I doubt he was pissed off when Jimmy Olsen got killed in the way it pissed me off.
      So swings and roundabouts.

    • WALKER TEXAS AIDS MACHINE

      I am completely of that mindset. I was almost physically dragged to this, but submitted after noticing a distinct lack of cynicism surrounding it on aint it cool news, the centre of productive film analysis.

      It is unbelievably good. Well worth seeing in a theatre, and just totally joyful. I hated Wonder Woman, and can’t even be arsed to watch Civil War on loan from my local The Pirate Bay

      Really, see it! Even the handwringing social justice stuff is tolerable, because it’s tongue and cheek.

      I seriously can’t recommend it enough, and I’m an incredibly miserable human being who had started to hate super hero films.

      • Felchmeister777

        That’s very encouraging indeed. Duly noted…

  • The Magic Hunter

    Saw it today with my son (took him as a reward after a wood carving incident with his Swiss Arny knife took us to urgent care for an hour and a half, where we listened to a toddler who’d fallen off a chair onto his forehead scream while getting stitches, but, fortunately, my early clean up work and pressure on my son’s thumb was so good they just put some glue on it) and we both loved it — and he’s not into comics!

    I agree about everything in Stu’s review and elsewhere: the leapfrogging over the Origin Story, too much lusting after Aunt May, the great 80s feel (though the stumbling run through backyards with the tv playing FBDO was fun but a little too on the nose), the acting, directing, music, etc.

    I especially liked the plot structure, since, oddly, I didn’t see first one and then another twist coming, and when they began to be revealed I was like, “How perfect is that?! It’s like cinching up a cat in a bag.” Props also to the casting of Martin Starr, one time tv high school “Geek,” as a teacher mentor to geeks!

  • TrollPrince : Truck of Peace

    Can’t believe they have you repeating the “John Hughes” line. That’s a marketing gimmick.

  • Blanket-Man

    “The Incredible Hulk TV show in the 70s/80s… is known as perhaps the first most successful screen adaptation of a superhero. In live action at least.”

    Known by whom? That TV show was barely average, my friend. It captured almost none of the fun of the HULK comics. It was “The Fugitive (Who Turns Green and Gets a Little Stronger When He Gets Mad).” Bixby elevated the material as best he could, but it was sooooo pedestrian. I’m not even sure what you mean by “most sucessful,” considering that “The Avengers” is one of the biggest-grossing films of all time. Maybe you didn’t mean to leave that “most” in there, and meant to write “perhaps the first successful screen adaptation of a superhero.” I guess *that* could be debated…