Occasionally we will catch a film that doesn't fall on the fringe of horror, but does fall comfortably in the category often considered the fun step-cousin of horror: scifi/fantasy. While comic films have become commonplace-enough to practically earn their own genre, I would still classify them in scifi/fantasy, for the most part. Spider-Man Homecoming most certainly falls in that place.
Spider-Man Homecoming follows the events of Captain America: Civil War, in which Spider-Man assisted Iron Man on a mission. Filling in as Peter Parker's semi-absentee father, Tony Stark begins to neglectfully mentor the overzealous Parker. As Parker investigates the happenings of a group tinkering with alien technology (Chitauri tech, from the first Avengers film), he has to decide whether to heed Stark's request to lay low, or dive headfirst into the danger awaiting him.
Spider-Man Homecoming Review
On a whim, I've decided to do this review in 16 thoughts, in honor of the movie mentioned above:
I did think there was a bit too much high school drama - I have been hoping for more substance in comic book movies, like we got in Logan and Winter Soldier, but not like this...It stayed light enough that it never felt like Dawson's Creek, but it was enough that it felt more like the Breakfast Club than Spider-Man at times.
The formula is getting more stale with each entry - I don't blame Marvel for not messing with something that's working, but it's starting to grow stale. I think this was the first Marvel movie I actually forgot was coming out...That speaks to my personal lack of interest. Marvel may want to consider mixing it up a little bit, maybe find a way to pull of a PG-13 take on the Logan and Deadpool creative freedom.
The bland villain is the serial crime of Marvel movies - I was very excited to see they chose Michael Keaton to play the Vulture. Yeah, I partially enjoyed the hilarity of the similarities of this character and the Birdman film. But also, Keaton is a great choice for the role. Unfortunately, the casting is wasted on a bland script that gives absolutely zero depth to the character and a complete neglect to his development. One of the greatest things about Spider-Man is his rogues gallery is stuffed with villains that have a conflict of interest and conscience. The Vulture doesn't have a long history as one of those villains, but with the first two Raimi Spider-Man films giving us the best Marvel villains to date, I've developed a high standard for their adaptations, and this fell way below the mark.
I loved the character design of the Vulture - They took the classic layout of the Vulture and mordernized it to near-perfection. I loved the jacket and the helmet design in particular. It had the feeling of modified pilot gear from back in the day. The mask reminded me of the sleek and stylish green goggles common on Siphon Filter marketing. I feel like I am exhibiting my age all over this post...
(MINOR SPOILER) I loved the Mac Gargan easter egg - Gargan, also known as Scorpion, made a brief appearance in the film. I was a bit giddy, but not because of Scorpion. Eddie Brock is Venom through-and-through...but I loved the arc where the symbiote went to Gargan. It was a great interpretation on the character.
I loved the Tony Stark scenes - Yeah, I agree with the complaints that are saying, "whose movie is this???" I think people are especially sensitive to this considering his "invasion" of screentime in the Civil War movie. But, I think of this in two ways...the relationship between Stark and Parker that has been created is very interesting because of the father/son dynamic that can enrich them both. Also, RDJ is the best casting for any Marvel role ever and we should savor the moments we have left.
I hated the treatment of Shocker (MAJOR SPOILER) - I did not understand the way Shocker was written into the film. The "original" is killed by Vulture towards the beginning of the film no more than a minute after he was introduced...and the actor, Logan Marshall-Green, is gone as soon as he arrived...Regardless of who picks up the mantel, in hindsight it makes no sense story-wise. What was the point of killing him to have someone else play him? Why cast Marshall-Green at all?
The after-credits stinger was perfect - It was the best thing since Deadpool's. I loved it. But, minor spoiler, don't bother staying if you are hoping for some kind of tease to Infinity War or something.
I loved Karen - Karen is the name Parker gives to his suit's AI. It was cool because she was much more personable with him than Stark's usual sassy and sarcastic AI. While it's worth arguing that AI voices are a Stark thing, its treatment made it fit Parker very well and I hope it stays in future films.
The closing credits graphics were great - It was an indie dramedy style that I thought was great, and I actually wish the film would have been more like that than how it turned out. More grounded.
The action sequences are nothing new - There wasn't anything particularly impressive or unique in the action sequences. It feels like it followed basic Marvel blueprints.
They skip the origin story...sort of - This film received premature praise for being a reboot that wasn't messing with the origin story...AGAIN. Instead, we get the occasional quip referencing how he got his powers and where his parents are. But, the film still kind of plays out like an origin story, focusing on Parker's growing pains with becoming a top-tier superhero. It still makes for a less-than-stellar plot.
(MAJOR SPOILERS) Parker can't handle giving away his identity in this one - He's a little absent-minded on the secret identity front. It isn't addressed as much as an important element of his heroism journey, and that's fine because we get plenty of other elements of Spider-Man.
(MAJOR SPOILERS) Where's Iron Spider? - Even at the end of the film, we don't get a reveal from Stark on Spider-Man's Iron Spider suit he designed in the Civil War comics. It would've been a perfect time to do it, especially since Parker declines Stark's offer to join the Avengers full-time.
The humanity of a young superhero - One of Spider-Man's biggest conflicts in life is his balance of his personal life with being a superhero. And we get plenty of that in the vein of silly parties and homecoming dances...but we also get it in this gritty and emotional moment when Spidey is buried under some rubble. That moment was fantastically done.
Happy makes sense in this movie - I love Jon Favreau for his role in bringing cinematic Marvel to us. But his Happy character was getting really annoying. However, I think he really worked in this movie as the liaison for Stark to Parker. It limited RDJ eating up all the screentime and also helped establish the distanced relationship Parker is forced to deal with, just adding an extra wrinkle.
That was harder than it looked...All in all, I considered Homecoming to be another standard Marvel film, which is actually becoming stale...I really thought I would never say that...
Horror Qualifier: 2/10
Horror Quality: 1/10
Film Quality: 5/10