“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Begins the First Step In Aligning the Marvel Universes
By Scott Kurland
Film: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Jon Faverau, Jacob Batalan, Tony Revolori, and Robert Downey Jr.
Director: Jon Watt
SONY, what were you thinking? I’m not referring to you giving “Spider-Man” to the MCU. You should have done that as soon you put Paul Giamatti into a Rhino suit. I’m talking about how, just when you’ve given us hope of a great “Spider-Man,” you have to make it very clear that this is SONY’s film and not Kevin Feige’s. You slap your name and products all over this film, but you make MARVEL do all the work. Luckily for you, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” shines despite your branding. This week’s film is indeed “Spider-Man: Homecoming;” the first MCU based Spidey film after two previous incarnations from SONY. Let’s find out how good it is shall we?
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” picks up right where “Captain America: Civil War” left our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. Peter (Tom Holland) is fresh off his first mission as a junior “Avenger.” Having been chosen personally by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Peter feels the drive to be the best Spider-Man he can be. However, when Peter encounters a group of thieves with Chitauri- based weapons, he stops at nothing to take them on single handily, thus making himself the primary target of the Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine) and the cunningly smart Vulture (Michael Keaton). Thinking he made a mistake recruiting Peter at such a young age, Tony Stark takes away his suit. Young Mr. Parker must once again learn what it means to have great responsibility. Will Peter be able to become the Spidey we all love? Or will he end up missing out on his destiny?
First off, let me just say that Tom Holland is the best “Spider-Man” we’ve ever had. In the grand scheme of things it goes: #1 Holland, #2 Andrew Garfield, #3 Christopher Daniel Barnes
(the first animated Spidey)
, #4 Neil Patrick Harris (the second voice), and lastly, Tobey Maguire. I’m still mad about emo Parker from “Spider-Man 3.” Holland on the other hand, is both a great Peter Parker and an even better Spider-Man. Peter has a lot of growing to do as the web-slinger, and this first film in what I’m guessing will be many outings for Holland is perfect. It’s an origin film without being an origin film. Peter is still learning to be “Spider-Man,” and he makes mistakes. Holland shows us this and doesn’t voice it like Maguire did. Or, as I call it, "Exposition-Spider-Man.” Holland is such a talented young actor and his ability to do most of his own stunts makes for a more realistic viewing experience. I could watch this kid swing through Manhattan all day.
Kevin Feige taking over or, I guess I should say “working with SONY,” led to a better film. The MCU once again makes a better superhero film. They do it better than the rest because they use genres to tell their story correctly. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a John Hughes film hidden in a “Spider-Man” movie. The MCU brought in different writers to bring out the action, the drama, and the Hughes successfully. What I love about this film is you can tell what John Hughes films are being paid homage. Peter and Ned are supposed to be like Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan-Mitchell Smith from “Weird Science.” Liz and Michelle are Molly Ringwald and Alley Sheedy from “The Breakfast Club.” Finally, Flash Thompson is whatever cocaine-infused-villain James Spader played in “Pretty In Pink,” “Less Than Zero,” and pretty much most of the 80’s.
One of the more subtle Hughes references they did that I don’t think anyone noticed was from “Career Opportunities;” a film about a guy getting locked in a building with Jennifer Connelly for a couple of hours. Peter gets locked in a room with his Stark-enhanced Spidey suit and it’s voiced by Jennifer Connelly. It’s subtle- but I caught on.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” gets a lot right. Michael Keaton as Vulture, Tomei as Aunt May, and the inclusion of Iron Man are all brilliantly executed. As a Sony “Spider-Man” film, this is the best we’re going to get. As an MCU film, it’s a valiant effort. It’s no “Guardians of The Galaxy” or “Doctor Strange,” but it is in my top ten MARVEL Cinematic Universe films. The story is solid, the performances are top notch, and it’s a lot of fun. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a great Summer movie to pick up the momentum and keep summer movie season going.
MCU RATING: B+
Spider-Man Movie Rating: A
REVIEW RATING CALUATED: B+