Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Actors: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Donald Glover
With the reboot of the spider-man universe for the third time, people are wondering whether Marvel's attempt will hit its mark or flop like the previous iteration did. Based so far on the general public opinion, Marvel has been able to cater to what the fans wanted and have been able to deliver a profitable success. However, I am a little bit disappointed with the end result and felt like a huge potential was wasted with this film. Here is why:
The main issue I have with this film is that Marvel tried to shove too many things into one film. What with Iron Man, Vultures's origin story, the high school dynamics, the love interest, and Peter's personal journey I felt like too much was happening in the film. So what we ended up getting was a little bit of everything. We could not get invested into Peter's self journey as spider-man and his desires since the film would need to switch between that and all of the other elements I listed off. I was not able to fully connect with the film due to the constant switching of subplots. To be honest, I felt like the inclusion of Iron Man was the worst mistake Marvel could have ever done. I wanted to go into the film and watch Peter Parker's personal journey as spider-man and how he deals with it. I did not want to see Robert Downey Jr popping in every 20 minutes with a witty remark. Spider-man is a character which is unlike any other super hero in the Marvel Universe. He is relatable, especially to younger audiences reading his comics. Although I do believe Marvel did a great job with the casting of the role of Spider-man, I just wished they had focused more on his journey rather than these subplots.
Moving along to something more positive; one of the most impressive aspects of the film to me personally is the villain. Marvel, in my opinion, has always had the problem with making putting great villains in their films. Aside from Loki, all of the other MCU's villains have been forgettable. However, what we see in Spider-man: Homecoming is a breath of fresh air. Micheal Keaton was the perfect choice to play Vulture. His acting range allowed him to flourish in his role as he was able to perfectly transition between the hardworking man who cares for his family to the stone cold killer who would stop at nothing to get what he wants. The scene where he intimidates Peter in the car was brilliant and further cements his place as one of the best villains the MCU has seen in recent years. Furthermore, other than Keaton's performance, Vulture was such a menacing and memorable hero. When he puts on the suit you know that something intense is about to happen and every appearance is better than the last. The only disappointing factor with Vulture is that thematically I don't feel like he complimented Spider-man all that well. In my opinion, a villain should not only challenge a hero physically but also thematically. Their morals and beliefs should be challenged as well. For example, although this has been talked about many times, but The Dark Knight is a perfect example of how a villain is able to challenge a hero's morals and beliefs. They both play off of each other, they both need and hate each other. There was an attempt at this in Spider-man: Homecoming during the final battle where Keaton gives a speech on how Peter and him are actually alike, that they are both hard working. However it felt forced and it was not played out throughout the film. Other than that I fairly enjoyed Keaton's performance as Vulture and hope that Marvel can continue creating memorable villains in future films.
Now I want to talk a bit about the casting and the side characters of the film. Let me start off by saying that I was really annoyed by many of the choices. I have no idea why they had to choose Marisa Tomei to play Aunt May. It makes no sense to me other than they just wanted someone pretty to play Peter's aunt. Aunt May is supposed to be a pivotal character in Spider-man's journey and she shapes his moral compass. However in Homecoming, all she did was peak in his room a couple of times and helped him pick out an outfit for the dance. I was so disappointed at the potential that was wasted. If you remove her character from Homecoming, nothing would change, which is so unfortunate. Second character that really bugged me was Zendaya's character. I have no idea what was the point in including her. Personally, she was not funny at all and didn't add anything to the film. Again the situation is similar where if we remove her character, nothing will change with the film. These choices being done by Marvel need to stop, because I feel like in the long run it will hurt them more than it will benefit their films. As I explained previously I did not enjoy Iron Man being in the film and I still stand by that opinion. However, as I also explained, Tom Holland was a great choice for Spider-man. I am a big fan of the Spider-man comics, and I have always wanted the film version to reflect what I know and love from the comics. This was a step in the right direction for the character. Spider-man's appeal is that he is a teenager with all of these internal conflicts that a regular teenager has along with the obvious struggles of being a superhero. I really enjoyed the way that Spider-man acted in the film as it felt more like what I loved from the comics. An example is obviously the way he saved Vulture at the end rather than letting him die. Overall I really enjoyed this rendition of the character, nevertheless as I explained, I wanted more of the personal journey rather than watching Zendaya acting edgy or Robert Downey Jr swooping in being Iron Man. Finally, I just want to acknowledge that the character of Ned, although fairly generic, was one of the better choices in the film in terms of side characters. However, personally I did feel like his humor was a bit stale and lame many times but I understand that the film was targeted more to a younger demographic this time so I cannot fault them for that. All in all, many disappointing choices for side characters made me enjoy this film a lot less than I would have otherwise.
To wrap up my thoughts on the film. I do feel like Marvel again decided to take the safe and easy route with Spider-man: Homecoming. Other than Vulture and Tom Holland's performance, I was not able to find anything special or memorable about the film. Too many elements were incorporated which caused a lot of disconnect between the viewer and the film. If there was a bigger focus on Peter Parker and his journey as Spider-man along with the ever looming conflict with Vulture, I feel like the movie could have offered something we haven't seen before. As is, I feel like the film will appeal to the younger audiences along with people who just want to have a bit of fun. However, for people such as myself who are looking for something different, unfortunately Spider-man: Homecoming is not where that will be found.