Oct-31-2017

Reel Snippet – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Summary: Our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is back protecting New York City while balancing his double-life as high school student Peter Parker. But that’s become much harder when Adrian Toombs (Michael Keaton), a former construction worker who got screwed over by SHIELD’s cleanup crew, Damage Control, after the final battle in Avengers, puts together a pastiche of supertech to rob Damage Control, Stark Indistries, and anyone else he feels is screwing the little man. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who has become a sort of mentor to Peter, tells him to sit back and let the professionals take care of it, but Peter’s code of honor and need to prove himself compels him to keep on the case. He’s determined to impress both Tony and his crush Liz Allen (Laura Harrier) with his heroic and academic actions, which leads to many blunders and triumphant rises… all while doing whatever a spider can.

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming is amazing, spectacular, sensational, and superior to all five Spider-Man films of the past few decades. My glowing praise of Tom Holland back in Captain America: Civil War still holds true as he continues to be a great Peter Parker and Spider-Man. He also manages to nail the struggle between the responsibility of both lives in his performance, something that past Spider-Man actors have sometimes struggled with in the past. All in all, he’s my favorite webhead to date.

One thing I love about Homecoming is that it outdoes past Spider-Man films in the exact way that they failed. Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 were criticized for having three villains apiece, thus making things too cluttered. Here, not only does this movie have four villains (Vulture, Shocker, the Tinkerer, and a soon-to-be Scorpion), but it balances them all perfectly. They aren’t exactly a-listers either; ask someone on the street to name a Spider-Man villain and they’ll probably say Venom, Doctor Octopus, or the Green Goblin. These guys probably wouldn’t be a blip on their radar, but Homecoming makes them dynamic enough to definitely earn some fans.

And oh, let’s talk about the Vulture. I’m going to say this right now, this guy is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe villain to date. His backstory is fleshed out, his motivations relatable, his fights unique and creative, and Michael Keaton* gives a standout performance. His design is great too — his original design doesn’t really translate well to the silver screen, but his fighter pilot motive and turbine wings update and modernize his look without being edgy or bland (take notes, Fantastic Four movies). To quote Dragon Ball Z Abridged, “Never before have I wanted something so badly and never known it until I received it.”

*Also, can we talk about how, in three different unrelated superhero movies, Michael Keaton plays a character with a winged animal motif?

This is also the first franchise starter within the MCU that wasn’t an origin story and it comes out really well. Since we’ve already seen Spider-Man debut in Captain America: Civil War, we get to see how he lives as Spidey and Peter. We get a look into his home and school life, the people that surround him, and how he fills his time throughout the day. This brings me to one of my biggest accolades about the movie: the characters drive the plot rather than the other way around. Far too often, I’ve seen plots that force their characters to do stupid or nonsensical things in order to move the story forward. Here, everything is a result of the characters’ actions — cause and effect in pure, fluid motion.

The film also gets points for having a very diverse cast (most of the POCs here were white in the comics) and including elements from the larger MCU without getting cluttered. Overall, it’s a great story with a lot of great twists and turns and an amazing amount of heart. It’s clearer that Marvel couldn’t be happier to have their web-slinging mascot back and I’m right there with them. Long live Spider-Man.

Fun Tidbit: So here’s an odd occurrence of family ties. Before he appeared in the flesh (so to speak) as Vision, Paul Bettany voiced J.A.R.V.I.S., the A.I. in Tony Stark’s suit. Here, Peter’s suit that Tony made for him with its own A.I., voiced by Jennifer Connolly, who is married to Paul Bettany. Talk about holy mech-rimony.


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