It’s about time we spoke about the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you’ve read my recent post on the things that were wrong with the Spider-Man franchise you’ll know that Sony has a lot of making up to do! It was the best decision they ever made to strike a deal with Marvel Studios and give the wall crawler a lease of life. Spidey’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War was one of the stand out moments from that film and now he has his own solo outing!
From this point on there will be huge SPOILERS for the whole film so if you haven’t seen it yet stop reading now! You have been warned!
Are you back yet? Good, settle in and let’s talk.
The story follows Peter after the events of Civil War as he tries to establish himself as a new superhero. Constantly waiting to be called up for the next big Avengers mission he spends months helping the little people, returning bicycles, giving directions and just swinging about. There are no big bad guys for him to fight! That is until he stumbles upon a bank robbers using some hi-tech weaponry.
His attempt to foil them quickly goes wrong and a local sandwich bar is destroyed nearly killing the owner. This is the first inkling that maybe Peter isn’t ready for some things. To give some context, the robbers are using tech made by Adrian Toombs (Michael Keaton) and his gang, the main antagonists of this film. At the beginning of the film we see that Toombs runs a superhero clean up crew and gets the job of tidying up New York after the events of The Avengers but this is taken away from him by Tony Stark and the company Damage Control (good to see the comic superhero cleanup crew finally represented on the big screen).
Toombs stands to lose everything. So he decides to use some of the tech they have scavegend and use the skills of The Tinkerer to make some weapons to sell! The rest of the main plot centres around Peter discovering this gang and trying to stop it against the wishes of a Tony Stark at the same time as keeping his superhero identity a secret and still be a high school student!
As we knew from the trailers, Peter screws up badly trying to stop a weapons exchange prompting Tony to take the new spidey suit back. Eventually Peter takes it upon himself to be a real hero and confronts Toombs, finally taking him down and proving himself to be worthy of wearing the suit.
So there’s a quick run down of the story. Pretty standard formula for a superhero movie but a bloody good one in my opinion. There weren’t many surprises in the film and while that meant some of the Jack and the Geekstalk team were less than impressed with it, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Instead of giving you a play by play I thought I’d pull out my favourite parts and some of the bits that didn’t work so well.
Tom Holland is a brilliant Spider-Man and Peter Parker. I would even go as far to say he is the best live-action web-slinger we have ever had. The balance between shy nerd and witty superhero is perfect, neither taking precedence over the other. Unlike the other films in the franchise when Peter was out of costume I wasn’t always itching for him to put the mask back on. Peter’s side of the story was as engaging as Spider-Man’s. Holland maybe be knocking on the door of his early 20s in reality but he looks much younger and is very believable as a high school student.
He pines after the popular girl at school, is on the Academic decathlon team and is made fun of by the rich kids. Basically he and his best friend Ned Leeds (who in the comics becomes Hobgoblin) are losers. There may have been a little bit too much of the high school stuff but I think it was compensation for having virtually none of it in previous films.
Speaking of Ned (Jacob Batalon), I thought I was going to hate him. It was clear he was going to be the main comic relief in the film but I really enjoyed his presence on screen. He wasn’t slapstick, he was the perfect representation of what anyone would be if they found out their best friend was a superhero! Of course you want to know everything and be ‘the man in the chair’ helping him stop the bad guys. His excitement was refreshing instead of being the concerned friend who thought Peter was being an idiot trying to do these things. Ned also gets his chance to save Peter during a fight with the second version of the shocker which was great. Ned and Peter’s chemistry was great and I look forward to seeing him in future films.
I was worried there was going to be too much Tony Stark in this film but he was a supportive presence instead of being the hing that held the film together. I think the film handled his character very well being the mega rich, busy superhero that he is and having most of Peter’s interactions happen through Happy Hogan. Even going as far to have an Iron Man suit appear but not actually have Tony inside it as he was in another country at the time! As always Robert Downey Jnr showed that he was born to play the part and i wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of his lines we improvised. He is a great mentor (even if he does it accidentally) giving Peter the chance to prove himself, punishing when it goes wrong but spurring him on to prove himself, even acknowledging that that wasn’t actually his intention! We love RDJ and always will! His new Iron Man suit was pretty cool too.
Michael Keaton was great. Not fantastic but entertaining. A pretty standard villain for the MCU but on a smaller scale. His entire motivation is about making money to support his family but he doesn’t mind destroying and murdering anything and anyone that gets in his way. He stresses the importance of staying under the radar to his crew, clearly identifying that they would be outmatched against the Avengers. Instead they have to deal with the persistent nuisance of Spider-Man. Keaton seems to strike a balance between Batman and Betelgeuse, being confident and capable but verging on the edge of crazy and I loved every moment he was on screen. The one thing that did surprise me was that Toombs turns out to be the father of Liz, Peter’s high school crush! Toombs quickly works out who Peter really is and issues the traditional ‘I’ll kill your whole family’ threat, but it added another interesting complication to Peter’s life. He finally gets the girl (her having agreed to go to prom with him) only to discover her dad had been trying to kill him.
The Vulture suit looked amazing. I’m glad they didn’t go full comic book and give him essentially a skin tight green suit. The repurposed tech wings and super cool but creepy helmet combined with the leather flight jacket with a nod to the comic look, having a furry collar, was great. It was difficult for Peter to fight too, enhancing the strength and speed of Toombs massively. Peter had to use his smarts to defeat him, luck wasn’t good enough.
Now that’s all the main parts dealt with what else was good?
The DC rescue scene was exciting as Peter struggles to save his friends but does so in the nick of time (of course) and there was even a nod to the upside down kiss from the first Spider-Man film.
The spidey suit was good but was slightly overpowered after Ned hacks it. It was essentially a scaled down Iron Man suit. I did not like the female JARVIS inside the suit aka Karen. It had too much personality.
Spidey in action was great. He was agile, fast and incredibly reactive. But he wasn’t flawless. Peter is still fairly new to the game so made lots of mistakes, some small some much bigger. The ferry scene was really tense as he tries to hold the two parts together, his desperation very apparent. The film also addresses a long standing problem for fans, if there are no tall building around how does Spider-Man swing? Well he doesn’t. At one point Pete’s webs just go sailing into the distance and he has to run across a Golf course!
The beginning ‘A Film by Peter Parker’ was fun, having the footage of how Peter got involved in Civil War shot with his cell phone, very ‘trendy’.
The sheer number of comic characters references in some way was impressive! Outside of Peter, Stark and Vulture we got to see two different Shockers! Eventually being easily foiled by Peter once he was in possession of his web shooters. Prowler played by Donald Glover made an appearance and mentioned his nephew, who in the comics is Miles frigging Morales!! Will we see another Spider-Man in a sequel?! And in the mid-credits scene we saw Scorpion! Another Villain from Spideys Rogues Gallery, hinting at a future appearance! The Tinkerer was making all the weapons for Toombs’ gang, who can potentially return as we didn’t see what happened to him.
There were plenty of other nods to comic stories or other characters, plenty that I’ve missed I’m sure but we see Captain America a few times (including in the post credits scene that was one of the funniest we’ve had), and did the Principal look familiar? That’s because it’s the same actor (Kenneth Choi) who played one of Cap’s Howling Commandos in The First Avenger, which is referenced by him having a photo of a soldier who bares a striking resemblance next to some framed medals! Clearly a direct descendant!
Stan Lee makes an expected cameo as a disgruntled neighbour and there are countless name checks of wider MCU events or items; Sokovia, prototype Cap shield, Thor’s magic belt, Ultron drones and Chitauri tech. Links to other films and characters are always welcome in my book. And a surprise appearance from Pepper Potts, seemingly still in a happy relationship with a Tony!
So what didn’t work? Well in truth, not much but there are a few things I didn’t like.
Liz (Laura Harrier) was a bit of a nothing character.
Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) was not a great character. I have no problem with the change of ‘bully’ but he was just a bit rubbish.
Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) wasn’t interesting and they didn’t have to keep using the ‘she’s hot but doesn’t realise’ joke. Although the final scene of the film where she sees Peter in the suit was funny!
Michelle (Zendaya) was a great sassy character. She was a brilliant foil to Peter and Ned and was genuinely entertaining but I didn’t like the fact that she turned out tonne MJ! Her name is Michelle not Mary Jane! The look she gives Peter near the end of the film clearly points to there being a possible future romance but why call her Michelle!!?!
I wasn’t a huge fan of the future Spider-Man Suit that Tony offers Peter. I assume it was a nod to the Iron Spider suit from the comics but it just looked weird!
Right now I can’t think of anything else I didn’t like but as it sinks in I’m sure something will occur to me.
Overall Spider-Man: Homecoming ranks third in the franchise, after Spiderman 2 and then Spider-Man but I can definitively say in my opinion Holland is the Spider-Man we have been waiting for! A fun and entertains film but with little new to offer other than more Easter eggs for comic fans. You’ll enjoy it but it won’t be at the top of your best MCU films.
Spiderman: Homecoming gets 8 beans on the Geekstalk.