Review: Spiderman: Homecoming

Lots of people dislike Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider Man movies. But while I agree that the second one was a hot mess, the first was wonderful. When people argue against it, the main issue seems to be that the origin story wasn’t necessary. I agree, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that it’s wonderful. Pretend the Toby McGuire movies never happened and watch Amazing Spider Man. It’s awesome.

So this is what I bring to Spiderman: Homecoming. First, I really dislike Tony Stark. Marvel let him take over what should have been Captain America 3 just so they could one-up DC and now they stuffed him into their Spidey film, like Marvel’s most popular superhero needs propping up. I mean, WTH, Feige?

…And I admit it doesn’t suck. Maybe if it wasn’t so soon after Wonder Woman, I would be more enthusiastic but I guess I’m just looking for something…more.

The Good: Peter goes to a nerd-school and he’s still not one of the cool kids. Cute that he makes his own webs in chemistry class and hides them in the school. Loved the cute notes he left after his heroics. The first two big set pieces (the ferry and the Washington Monument) were very good and I appreciated that we didn’t get the Gwen Stacey moment that seemed to be coming in the latter. Tom Holland was very good, as were his supporting cast in high school. Vulture was a good villain, layered and with realistic motivation (which is unusual for Marvel) and he felt like a genuine threat…though that’s partly down to the hero being a 15-year old kid. The moment when Peter knocks on his date’s door and is confronted by his enemy was really good. So was the part where he had to resort to running through the suburbs because there were no skyscrapers to swing from.

The Bad: This didn’t feel like Peter Parker. Despite the hint that we might see Miles Morales in a future movie, this felt very much like they were trying to make a Miles Morales movie. From the best friend to the fact that we didn’t see Peter even touch a camera, this wasn’t a Peter Parker I recognise. I’m no expert, but that’s how I felt.  Also the product placement was about as subtle as a punch in the nose. The Lego Death Star? I mean, really?

The Ugly: The real villain of the story, once again, was Tony Stark. Let’s be clear about this. Tony all but kidnapped a schoolboy and put him in danger for his own reasons, then having given the kid a taste of adrenaline he abandoned him. He doesn’t take back the suit, so he knows Peter will continue his anti-crime spree, but he lets the kid think he’s taking a genuine interest then ignores him for months. Then, Peter does what any teenager does when no adult is listening, Tony not only chews him out but has the nerve to tell him he doesn’t deserve the suit. Words that, much like his sanctimonious speech to Cap in Civil War, apply far more to Tony himself than the person he’s lecturing. Tony has himself created almost every villain he’s fought and he created Vulture too. And BTW who the hell creates a “lethal mode” for an AI-powered suit and then gives it to a teenager? Answer: a bad guy.

While I’m really glad we didn’t have to watch Uncle Ben die yet again, some back story or context would have been nice. What’s driving Peter? Why is he swinging around Queens stopping bicycle thieves and ATM robbers? Sure some of it is a boy wanting to be like the Avengers but there should be something more and we didn’t really get to see it. And bits of the plot felt very contrived, like Liz being Vulture’s daughter.

So, yeah, it didn’t suck. But like last year’s Doctor Strange, I feel it didn’t quite reach the level I expect from Marvel.