I was never a fan of Spider-Man growing up, the comics never grabbed me and I was never a fan of either film franchise whether it be Sam Raimi’s original trilogy (minus Spider-Man 2, which I do really like) and Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films. The idea of a Spider-Man film being made now as another entry for the Marvel Cinematic Universe sounded even less appealing to me, with the lack of a real impact of Tom Holland’s own presence in Captain America: Civil War (which was already difficult enough to sit through) and the especially dreadful marketing. Now that an entire movie was set to be centered around him during the prime of his own life at high school, within the homecoming period – maybe it would be about time something more would strike me that would have me attached to Spider-Man’s arc like Spider-Man 2but I’ve expected a tad too much afterwards was what I thought. It was purely Spider-Man the way I’ve always seen him, just angsty and uninteresting.
After Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s own takes on the character, we now have Tom Holland taking the spotlight as Spider-Man. In this incarnation of Spider-Man, Peter Parker is still an angsty, awkward teenager but at the hands of his own fame as the titular superhero, he seeks a balance between his two differing lifestyles. It’s hard enough trying to describe what Spider-Man: Homecoming is doing from here because it seems like we have two vastly different movies being put together into one, creating a lack of cohesion inside of its own narrative. But at its very worst, both of the stories that are being told together in Spider-Man: Homecoming aren’t even anything new, for it’s still the same coming-of-age story about the awkward individual trying to rise up for more, and suddenly it’s a superhero film, just the same as any other.
The film’s disastrous marketing campaign has placed great emphasis on Tony Stark’s presence in the film, almost driving oneself away from thinking Spider-Man would be the focus since Stark has provided the material he requires, but even for how much it misrepresents his presence it still doesn’t change the feeling of uselessness from said moments. Tony Stark doesn’t appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming much, but there’s absolutely no use for scenes in which he appears even on behalf of Peter Parker’s own end. But speaking of Parker himself, Tom Holland seems to fit the role far better than Andrew Garfield did in the previous reboots for he draws back towards the awkwardness that allowed Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to carry its own sense of charm. But his own growth isn’t especially compelling to begin with, for he only comes off as angsty and an overachiever – just a cardboard whiner.
If there was yet anywhere else to blame for the noticeably jarring tonal shifts, then it can all be placed on an evidently overwritten script. The writing team consists not merely of one or two, but six writers who all evidently have a differing idea for where they want to take Spider-Man’s own desire for adventure. And in typical MCU fashion, the forced humour comes by if the film didn’t already feel awkward enough (the starting with Peter Parker recollecting events from Captain America: Civil War especially was grating). Other side characters, whether it be the best friend serving as an embarrassment, the love interest, and Flash Thompson, either annoy or bore in equal measure. The film’s title revolves around the Homecoming period of Peter Parker’s high school, and the film barely even spends its time putting said event into play only feeling minor. It seems as if the film just wants to make clear how broken its own screenplay is so it throws in as much as possible without finding proper arrangement.
If anything great did come out of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it would be Michael Keaton, not only in his performance but in what director Jon Watts is making of the character. For there’s a compelling arc for once inside of Vulture, one that also allows him to leave an impact as the film’s main antagonist – and it was all something I wish that the film had used more. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s villains never really have been able to stand out to me very well and the fact that Spider-Man: Homecoming actually managed to do something different whether it be within how it uses Michael Keaton’s charisma or actually had a clever reveal to his own arc in the third act only made me smile. It was satisfying to see a Marvel Cinematic Universe film that actually left this sort of impact with its own villain characters rather than just having them as plot devices for one character’s growth, and it’s something that I wish these films could actually do more.
As a whole, I can’t help but feel Spider-Man: Homecoming just didn’t seem to do far too much while it lasted because it seemed to have trouble trying to set in place what it even wanted to be. And considering the fact I never really was a fan of Spider-Man growing up, Homecoming didn’t even allow me to see the light in what was so great about the character. There’s potential behind this sort of character arc, it’s something that I won’t deny, but I found myself struggling to piece everything together in what is already an evidently broken movie. Two reboots later, Spider-Man still doesn’t hit me as an interesting superhero but at least it wasn’t nearly half as unpleasant an experience as whatever Marc Webb had tried to make of the character in his own takes. There’s no harm being done by Spider-Man: Homecoming, but just like the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s merely disposable.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Sony.
Directed by Jon Watts
Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, from the comics by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Produced by Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal
Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr
Release Year: 2017
Running Time: 133 minutes