Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)This is a strange one, especially in the light of all of the more recent comic book movies, where even the origin films (like Doctor Strange) have a feel of a bigger cast, and teams.

We've gone from Captain America (the sole focus of the film was Steve, Bucky, and Peggy) and Iron Man (almost entirely the Tony Stark show) to Ant-Man (and his team of scientists and crooks) and Doctor Strange (with Wong, and with Mordo, and the Ancient One for the better part of two acts).

And then there's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which has only three characters ... there is also a co-starring collection of tropes, cliches and cameos. But thankfully, only our three characters get the bulk of the screen time.

Watching all three of these characters in the film is actually quite pleasant, and interesting. The Vulture has a character arc. Peter Parker has a character arc. Even Tony has a character arc, and he's not even in the movie a whole five minutes.

Premise: Adrian Toomes is just a guy running a construction business. When given the contract for cleaning up after the end of The Avengers invasion of New York City, he overextends himself for when the government, SHIELD, and Tony Stark swoop in and take the job away from him. With truck loads of alien weaponry and armor still in the lot, Toomes has decided to go into the high-tech arms business. This might be the best acting job that Michael Keaton has done in years. Toomes is a villain one can relate to -- he's a blue collar crook who treats his career criminal status as ... a career. He's not the psychopath du jour. He doesn't want to destroy the world just because. It's a refreshing change of pace.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is trying to step up as Spider-Man, with a high-tech Spider-suit made by Tony Stark, and wants to do more than stop purse snatching and minor crimes. An ATM theft goes horribly awry when Peter encounters one of Toomes' weapons on the street, he's put on Toomes' trail, even as Stark and Happy Hogan tell him to stay in his lane and don't go near Toomes.

As Spider-Man, this is one of the better versions I've seen. When it's Spider-Man or Toomes on screen, this film is awesome. When anyone else is on screen (and seriously, why are they?) they are annoying as hell.

As I said, when it's Vulture / Iron Man / Spiderman on screen, this film is awesome, and all three actors are amazing...

But the rest of these characters? Good God, I hate them. I hate them all. Largely because they're just annoying. They're crammed and jammed into the film just to say that they're in the film, shoe-horning in forced "diversity" BS that would have pissed me off less had they made the characters like unto their comic book counterparts. They took Ned Leeds, Flash Thompson and "MJ" from the comics and not only distorted their looks (which is a shallow problem I generally wouldn't care about), but more importantly distorted their personalities.

And you know what? On the diversity BS? Peter Parker always lived in Queens. In fact, I know exactly where his apartment complex in the film is. We have the most diverse population on the face of the planet. So had you kept all of these people, and made them original characters with different names .... okay, Ned would still annoy the living f*** outta me, but everyone else I could tolerate.

But geez, people, why the hell did you have to do that to the characters?

In the Spider Man comics, Ned Leeds is a friend to Peter Parker, a professional photographer, very on the ball, and nowhere near as annoying as this kid from the film, who's yet another "annoying fat kid computer guy" who never shuts up.

Her face throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming.
It seems to be her default expression.
In the Comics, Mary Jane Watson was an extroverted party girl who came from an emotionally abusive household and had emotional depth. "Zendaya"'s "Michelle" / MJ suffers from resting bitch face and walks through the movie like a walking PC activist movement on an overload of marijuana.

Hell, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films allowed MJ to have more emotional depth and character....

And why are you making me say nice things about Kirsten Dunst, movie? Why?

And Flash Thompson, who was the walking jock cliche who was an admirer of Spider-Man, tormentor of Peter Parker, and grew up the join the armed forces and serve his country.  Now, in this film he's just the annoying moron who wants to be smart enough to be on the debate team.

There was no reason for any of these people to be in the film. None. They just served to annoy me endlessly. Screw these people.

Final rating:
Tony / Peter / Vulture arc? 9/10.
Movie with the token hires?  7/10

The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


1 comment:

  1. "MJ" was the absolute worst. Way to absolutely miss the point of the character in every respect. If she doesn't end up being the real Mary Jane, then it doesn't really matter. She'll still be an absolutely horrible character with no redeeming qualities.


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