Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Web-slinging spoilers catch more than flies!
Coming off the dubious success of the previous Captain America movie, wherein Spiderman was introduced as a protégé of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), we find Peter (Tom Holland) feeling rather too large for his admittedly smaller life back home with May (Marisa Tomei). In this outing, Pete simply calls her ‘May’ and it is only the first of many odd un-Spidey-like actions he takes. Dutifully attending high school and trying to stay out of trouble while sincerely frustrated with the held-back feeling of all the good he could be doing, if only Mr. Stark would but let him. There are bad guys in Pete’s neighborhood, stealing alien tech that’s the consequence of the wider-world fights between the Avengers and other alien invaders and selling it to other bad guys, or forging new weapons and tech from these salvaged parts for their own nefarious purposes.
Pete’s been telling everyone at school and home that he has an internship with Tony Stark, when in reality, it seems as though Stark has left his protégé behind to linger in mediocrity. While Spidey is off with his spiffy Stark-made suit with the training wheels still on, rescuing cats from trees and stopping eensy-weensy thefts, the Avengers are in theory out there having mega-battles with who-knows-what kind of alien villains, and Pete is heartily sick of it. It kinda sorta helps when Pete’s best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon) finds out about his double-life and starts fan-squeeing at him day and night, but seriously, chemistry labs and the academic decathlon are nothing compared to the Avengers world. Yet the film often insists on tossing in we’ll say half of Pete’s so-called “normal” life, like your first major high school party, with the other half, like a tiny bank robbery that turns into murder by alien high tech, in a manner almost expectant of Spidey instantly able to do the necessary thing; poof. We need our Hero Spider-Man and we apparently needed him like yesterday – what’s the rush?
I totally get wanting to fly again after Spiderman’s cameos in the previous movie, but come on fellows. Most of the fans and the general MCU folk want Spider-Man to join the Avengers for whatever varied reasons, but you can’t expect him at a Toby Maguire level if he never had time to be at an Andrew Garfield level. And that’s another place the movie just feels weird – the apparent age of the Spider-Man and his support cast, you know, the high school kids, the girly crush and the best friend who suddenly morphs into ‘the guy in the chair’ level tech mastery. Many of the characters in the film are in an awful hurry to grow up, but that’s unfair to those familiar characters and especially to our beloved web-slinger himself. Spidey trains extra-hard to live up to what he thinks Stark’s expectations of him are, far beyond the point of risking his own safety, and crucially, no real regard for how his actions may affect his loved ones. No Peter Parker-Spider-Man I ever heard of did that (there are other comic book incarnations of Spider-Man now too). Why insist on sticking him in with the Avengers at this young age, and more bogglingly, why cast Tony Stark of all people in the missing-father role? It is what it is; onward we go.
The bright spot in an oddly endearing little fan-film version of Spider-Man we have here, is Michael Keaton as Vulture, and Adrian Toomes. I always thought Keaton’s double performances were some of the best Batmans I had ever seen, and his astounding job in the recent gem Birdman was quite good, so casting him in this beleaguered father role was a very smart move. He took what was essentially, let’s be honest, a boring leftover villain from the glorious 60’s only ever meant to forward the Avengers plot, and made him fun and maybe even a little relatable. How many of you can honestly say, with access to that kind of tech and a bunch of imagination, that you wouldn’t make another version of Vulture, or something like it, for yourself?
Every Spidey film has to have a gigantic “Spidey saves the day!” moment, and Homecoming is no different in this regard. But crossing the epic Spidey-Vulture fight with the high school academic decathlon field trip imminent-elevator-death scene was kind of ridiculous. And the very end scene where Pete finally goes to visit Tony Stark in the new HQ, was once again, mostly all about Starks attempts at mentoring. Does Pete’s decision mean he won’t be in the next Avengers movie? I highly doubt it.
Catch the web-crawler and his flying pals in Spider-Man Homecoming, on Hulu now!