SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING REVIEWED
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a work of love. I say that as one of the easiest Spider-Man marks on the Earth. Also, I say that as someone who hasn’t enjoyed a Spider-Man film since 2004. When a fan, a critic and entertained masses approach a subject…something happens. The fan scrutinizes a film to see if its a venue for their projected love. The fan wants to see that love returned and shared with the masses. The entertained masses just want a passable two hours to silence the kids and get them through another weekend. The critic just wants something that pushes the bar a little bit north.
As a comic fan, I spent my time looking for homages and style lifts. Between the multiple Ultimate Universe references, the Captain America PSAs and the implied new occupant of Avengers Tower…I wasn’t undersold. But, there’s that critical mindset. That Eye of Agamatto that dares to ask if this movie will hold up by the time it hits Home Video. Michael Keaton is amazing, Tom Holland is the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man and the youthful flair actually helped. To begin, let’s start from the first point. Michael Keaton is the second best MCU villain.
Michael Keaton plays his Vulture as a cross between Adrian Toomes and Blackie Drago. Toomes in terms of appearance and general wing ability. But, the personality is all Blackie Drago. At this time, I really wish I would’ve finished the Spidey Project to help explain the differences. So, let’s take a deep breath. From Day One, the Vulture was a role shared between people. Stan Lee had the foresight to realize that Adrian Toomes was an old punk that would get dominated in any prison. Naturally, a real felon steals his wings and busts out.
That felon was the second Vulture (Blackie Drago) and most of Keaton’s performance mimics that character. He’s a working class brute that just wants to make some real money. When he gets screwed over, he desperately searches for an opportunity to make things right. In the film, he builds a tech crew of crime featuring two Shockers, the Tinkerer and a sly inclusion of the Prowler. The working class approach to villainy instantly brought flashes of “Robocop” to mind, as they matched the lower middle class flair of Peter Parker amazingly.
The class discrepancy is quite the rub and the inclusion of Happy Hogan sells it. Jon Favreau returns as the Stark best boy that serves as Parker’s check-in guy. The lengths at which Stark goes through to keep Parker distant from The Avengers is pretty insulting. Then, you realize that Parker is a kid and his life is endangered during every crime patrol. Of course, all of this goes out the window near the end of the movie. But, let’s sit on that until Infinity War.
While Tony Stark and his pals were necessary to push Parker deeper into his journey, they felt a bit extraneous. The effort is made to say that Spidey is his own person and that this is his world. I enjoy that, as Spidey boasts an insane Rogues Galley and supporting cast. The depths that can be explored without Amy Pascal level interference are astonishing. The world doesn’t need to see Silver Sable, Carnage or Venom in standalone movies. But, we could see how they work in the MCU. Do the right thing, SONY.
Finally, the film’s final stinger is perfect. While it has been a repeated scene in Spidey comics since the 1960s, it allows Marisa Tomei to have a big moment. So many people forget how big of a role that Aunt May plays in the mythos. She’s Peter’s heart and soul. Hell, he chose her over Mary Jane. If that last line confuses you, get a nerd to explain the last 7 years of Spider-Man to you. Everyone else can swing into theaters for an amazing and spectacular web of a time. Something, something…Marvel Team-Up.
- 2 hrs and 13 mins
- SONY/Marvel Studios