Spider-Man: Homecoming

Back when Tobey Maguire was introduced to us as Spider-Man (cerca 2002) in the early days of Marvel's box office barrage, it's fairly safe to say that no one thought there could have been a better choice for Peter Parker. After Spider-Man: Homecoming, that is entirely up for debate.  - Maguire is still the best American-bred actor cast to play Spider-Man, now that we've had a brief stint with Andrew Garfield (a Brit) as the Amazing Spider-Man, and now Tom Holland (another Brit) as a fourteen year old high school Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

So far, I have to say, DC still beats Marvel this year despite the excellent casting move of bringing in Holland to play your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.  By that I mean, Wonder Woman is still leading the pack, but this is very, very different kind of superhero movie with a lot less weight on its shoulders.  But I'll get into that a little bit later.

Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (Horrible Bosses, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) - Writers*
Jon Watts (Cop Car)- Director
Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z, Captain America: Civil War) - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Laura Harrier (The Last Five Years, 4th Man Out) - Liz
Michael Keaton (Batman, Birdman) - Adrian Toomes/Vulture
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock) - Tony Stark/Iron Man
Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Wolf of Wall Street) - Happy Hogan
Zendaya (I only know her as some youngin on DWTS) - Michelle
Hannibal Burress (Neighbors, Baywatch) - Gym Coach
Bokeem Woodbine (Riddick, Black Dynamite) - Herman
Jacob Batalon (North Woods...?  never heard of it and won't be seeing it, but w/e) - Ned

*The writers' filmography explains a lot about this movie.


We first saw this new (younger model) Peter Parker as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, but now he is being fully introduced in his own flick with a few tweaks to his story line.  In this version of Spider-Man, we meet him as a nerdy - bordering geeky) high school student.  He has just fought alongside the likes of Iron Man, and Black Panther (Aside: I expect his movie to be effing dope! If you haven't seen it, take a look at the link at the bottom of this page.) but is back in Queens... if that don't make you feel bad for the boy, you might be heartless.

Parker, a high school freshman, is struggling with finding his place in life; sounds like a typical coming of age story, but it isn't - although bits are thrown into Spider-Man: Homecoming.  This centers around Parker's handling of what to do post-Avengers linkup.  Along the way we see that Parker is teen crushing on the lovely Liz (Harrier), a senior who is as smart and ambitious as she is cute. By the way, we're supposed to suspend our disbelief and accept that this "girl" is just a high school senior and not just a slim, yet full-grown woman 21 Jump Streeting as a high schooler -

In Parker's quest to prove himself to Tony Stark (RDJ) and become a real Avenger, he ends up trying to thwart what seems a to be local arms dealers trafficking in the sale of converted alien technology (left over from the Avengers battle in New York).  That tech has been converted into weapons that are way too powerful and way too advanced for the men using them in low-level robberies and heists of the brand usually manageable by local heroes like Spider-Man.  When Parker attempts to bring this information to the attention of the Avengers, he gets boofed and silenced because nobody is trying to hear a 14-year old yap about what they know that no one else does (and 9/10 times boofing these kids is the right way to handle that sort of thing).  This puts Spider-Man in direct line of conflict with  the leader of the arms dealing crew, Vulture (Keaton).

Parker accidentally exposes his secret identity to his buddy, Ned (played artfully and accurately by Jacob Batalon), who literally volunteers to be Spider-Man's quintessential sidekick, or as he calls it "the man in the chair."   He's also flanked by the likes of a weird and snarky but darkly comedic Michelle (played by the almost unrecognizable and mononymous, Zendaya), who proceeds to make comments that most of us cynics would probably have thought or said if we saw our friends doing the same things as Petey Parker and Ned.  Michelle strikes the broodingly realistic tones of Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club or Raven from Teen Titans.

I try not to spoil movies by giving too many details about what happens, but I think you get it. Spidey is a teenager, with teenage problems that are complicated by his abilities.  He's had a taste of the big time and wishes for more, which further complicates his life.  Parker's surrounding crew of friends, family, PE coaches, etc., contribute both to his desire to be more than just a teenager in Queens or an obscure neighborhood hero, and also to Parker/Spidey's eventual realization of who he is and what is most important.

So, what makes this movie good, better, or meh...?  Casting was pretty good.  Liz, eh.  Not so sure about that one.   Good actress, but the combination of Harrier* and Holland makes it a bit tough to believe that there could be a romantic relationship.  Keaton played a pretty good villain. The plot landed and the script was pretty strong.  Given the writers' movie history, it makes a lot of sense why this movie was more funny than anything else.  Where the first Iron Man and Thor were witty, this movie was definitely youthfully comedic.  It was a good call to incorporate other marvel characters throughout so that there is support and continuity.  More importantly, we didn't have to see the whole Spider-Man origin story in Homecoming.  Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus!  

Overall, it was entertaining and better than the last three Spider-Man movies, easily better than Andrew Garfield's (no disrespect he is a stellar actor, but those movies fairly mediocre).  Tough call between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I would give Spider-Man: Homecoming the edge over Guardians.  It was not as much of a heavy lift as Wonder Woman was and there was nothing groundbreaking about it (plus, there was no Gal Gadot which automatically makes this a little bit less than...), so Wonder Woman wins the day.  We'll see if Marvel can top DC's latest when they release their next film in the MCU (for the uninitiated, that's the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Thor: Ragnarok - which will be premiere just before the Justice League movie in November.  Looking forward to that battle.

Note: If you are on a tight schedule, both the mid-credit scene and the post-credit scene are not worth your time.  One was amusing and one added very little to the story or experience.  I waited and watched both and as much as the post-credit scene was clever and all that good stuff it was several minutes of waiting for nothing; so, if you skip it, you'll live and no one will look at you as though you missed some super important reveal if you tell them that you left and they happened to have been foolish enough, like me, to have stayed.

* Post Review Addendum: It turns out, all of the main actors playing high school kids were born in 1996... except for one - Ms. Harrier (Parker's love interest) - she's a youngin, but let's just say - as I told my my ex-girlfriend, "you and I both know I'm always right even when I'm wrong." - I knew one of these kids was doing their own thing.

IMTHATDUDE gives Spider-Man: Homecoming: 4

5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.


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