“… I just wanted a movie that better balanced adult themes and child-serving entertainment (like literally every other Marvel movie).”
It finally happened! Spider-Man got a solo movie that was helmed by Marvel. After his amazing appearance in Captain America: Civil War I was absolutely pumped to see the web-slinger we all know and love finally get his due. Spider-Man: Homecoming follows Peter Parker, a high school sophomore who spends his spare time parading around New York in spandex saving people. All is well until a new villain is found utilizing and selling alien technology that he has salvaged from the many fights that the Avengers have had with other-worldly beings. So what did I think of Spider-Man: Homecoming? It was alright, but far from great.
This review will have a shitload of spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. If you are looking for a spoiler-free opinion, read the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
Why did I not love Spider-Man Homecoming? The answer is very simple: the movie, to me at least, felt very juvenile. Spider-Man’s appearance in Civil War was really funny and amazing because we hadn’t seen that character interact with any of these other superheroes before. It was funny that Spider-Man was simultaneously cocky and star-struck, and his little quips made me fall in love with him even more. As it turns out, this stuff is only funny in small doses. Spider-Man: Homecoming bases the entire movie around these jokes, and they get old fast. “Well what do you mean the movie was juvenile?”; Well, I found a lot of what was in Spider-Man: Homecoming to be directly appealing to children. I felt that a lot of what could have been was lost in favour of a few more jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good joke as much as the next guy, but in Spider-Man: Homecoming there is nowhere to take a break and learn about the characters we are seeing. I also felt that, because of this, the story in the film was pretty disjointed. Not only did it feel like Spider-Man: Homecoming was aimed at children, but it also felt like it was written by one. (Now I know opinions can go one of two ways, so let’s cover all of our bases) “Of course it was aimed at children! Spider-Man is a kids cartoon!” or alternatively “Of course it felt like it was aimed at children, the movie was about a child. You can’t expect a child to do adult things, idiot”. Let’s dissect the first comment first. Sure, some may say that Spider-Man is a “kids cartoon” (yes, I do realize I just quoted myself), but there are also a lot of people that would get mad at you for saying that. There are of course the die-hard comic book fans who will say that superheroes are for adults, but even looking toward the more casual crowd I think it is unfair to say that superheroes are still just a kids thing. Marvel alone has done so much to make each and every one of their movies appeal to both children and adults alike, that I was just surprised to see a movie (20 movies in, might I add) that seems to pander to children more than the others. Oh boy, let’s talk about the other comment. “Of course the movie felt aimed at children, it was about a child” is a comment that I haven’t heard, but one that I’m trying to counter myself with. And for that I will just say that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was also about a child. Score one for me. In all seriousness I do understand that Spider-Man: Homecoming is about a child (Peter Parker is 15 in the movie), but that just makes me question whether or not this movie should have been made in the first place. If this is the result we were going to get regardless, in my opinion they should have waited until Spider-Man had a few Avengers movies under his belt to get his solo adventure. This would have given Peter Parker more perspective on the world, and it probably would have given Homecoming a more adult feel. I’m not saying I want an R rated Spider-Man movie, I just wanted a movie that better balanced adult themes and child-serving entertainment (like literally every other Marvel movie).
All of that being said, I did find that Homecoming got better as the film went on. Jokes started to be moved to the background, plot was more focused on the task at hand, it started to feel like a real Marvel movie. Now this doesn’t mean that all problems were fixed, but this is the happy part of my review so let’s not get into that. One thing I really liked about Homecoming was the characterization of The Vulture. This is the first time I can really remember where the villain in a movie is just a dude trying to make a living. He got fucked over, then he decided to grab life by the balls and start making alien weapons. Sure, weapons are bad and everything but let’s not forget Tony Stark sold weapons too. I thought that the character of The Vulture was only made better by Michael Keaton’s fucking amazing performance. Keaton is such a nice guy (or at least he seems like one), so he was perfect to play the regular guy who got fucked over by the big guys. On the flip-side, Keaton is able to bring so much anger and sense of evil to a role that he made a brilliant villain. As far as other performances go I can’t really praise too much, just because of all of the criticisms I had with the film. Sure Tom Holland was great, but like I said I found his character to be too focused on jokes. Robert Downey Jr. was great too (like always), but his character felt like more of a babysitter and that bothered me a bit. As far as all of Peter’s friends go, they really weren’t in the movie enough for me to form an opinion. I will say that I wasn’t a fan of Jacob Batalon who played Peter’s friend Ned, because he was pretty much the embodiment of everything I thought was wrong with the movie; all jokes and no heart. I did really like all of the familiar faces that we got to see throughout the film, either from Marvel movies (Pepper Potts!!) or otherwise. I understand that Marvel movies are huge now, and I’m sure everybody and their mother are dying to get into one, but it was still really cool to see a bunch of actors (mainly comedians) that I recognized. And can you believe that Jennifer Connelly was the voice of Spider-Man’s suit? That shit blew my mind during the credits. Speaking of which, Spider-Man having a very high-tech suit is another thing I wasn’t really a fan of. Spider-Man is supposed to be just a regular kid with the ability to shoot webs from his wrist, but in Homecoming he was essentially turned into pre-pubescent Batman. I get that Tony Stark built him the suit, but couldn’t all of that shit be saved for the reveal of The Iron Spider? It makes me kind of sad that we won’t really get to see a barebones kid-on-the-street Spider-Man.
Overall Spider-Man: Homecoming was a movie I liked, but I didn’t love. I found it to be pretty enjoyable throughout, but I also felt this weird sense of the film trying too hard to be aimed at children. Instead of the wonderful stories with heartfelt moments we usually get from Marvel movies, what we got with Spider-Man was just a whole lot of jokes. Don’t get me wrong the jokes were funny, but they left something to be desired.
I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a B