Spider-Man: Homecoming

Full Disclosure: I had to look up how to spell both parts of this blog post title. I thought Spider-Man was one word and homecoming was two.

I also only went to see this movie because it was literally the only thing playing:

  • GOTG2 (seen it)
  • Wonder Woman (seen it)
  • Annabelle: Creation (don’t wanna)
  • Birth of the Dragon (I’d prefer to watch a real Bruce Lee movie)
  • Dunkirk (seen it)
  • Ingrid Goes West (don’t wanna)
  • The Big Sick (seen it 4*’s)
  • Hitman’s Bodyguard (bad reviews but a buddy said it’s good so… maybe)
  • Wind River (seen it)

So I broke all my rules and went to go see a movie that was both a reboot and packed with multiple superheroes. And it was great.

Spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming follow

They did a lot of things right with this movie. First off, it’s not an origin story. As a third reboot in 12 years, we are well aware of Peter Parker’s origin. Tell us something new already. And along with that idea, they eschewed the usual Green Goblin and Doc Ock to go with The Vulture, a less well known villain.

A quick aside here: Michael Keaton played Batman, the story of caped crusader who descends from the dark sky to pluck wrongdoers from the midst of their crimes, then he played Birdman, an actor who once played a Batman-like character having a nervous breakdown who literally flies off at the end of the movie, and now he’s playing a winged villain who turned evil because he lost a government contract.

I’m sensing a pattern here. I just don’t know what it is.

The third thing they got right was the levity. A Spider-Man movie should be funny. This one reminded me a lot of Kick-Ass, another movie about a teenager who is both too strong to not be a superhero and too young to know how to go about it.

Fourth: There was more Happy than Iron Man. A touch of Robert Downy Jr. goes a long way. Too much and he steals the movie, just enough and he improves everything he’s in.

Happy is us. He’s the working schlub who picks up after greatness. He’s the guy who makes the trains run on time and who, therefore, has no time for a runt in a uniform made from a track suit.

The scene where Hap starts to make his apology in the boys room of Peter’s high school had to be a Jon Favreau original. The timing is so perfect. The look on Hap’s face, even more perfect. The amount of time it takes for the kid to wash his hands and leave is beyond perfect.

Perfect.

Fifth: He both does and doesn’t get the girl. She never finds out he’s Spider-Man, but she was attracted to Peter Parker, not Spidey, anyway. And what a job Laura Harrier did as Liz. That can be a thankless role (just ask Lyndsy Fonseca who did knockout work in Kick-Ass only to be summarily kicked to the curb in the sequel. Still hoping she’ll have more to do when Matthew Vaughn takes back the reins for Kick-Ass 3) but she made her time count, somehow infusing her character with all kinds of complexity using only a few minutes of screen time.

Sixth: Way more Marisa Tomei than Paltrow. Making Aunt May young and then dressing her like a kindergarten teacher from 1989 was someone’s lunatic inspiration that shouldn’t have worked but totally did. Let’s see more of May in the sequels.

Finally, they set the table for a whole new series. By skipping the origin story and cutting straight to a later villain, we can expect to see Tom Holland in a bunch of new adventures from the decades of Spider-Man stories available for the telling. Honestly, you’d think Spider-Man was a trilogy about a kid who had to fight Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, and Green Goblin Jr. the way the movies retell those stories over and over.

If you haven’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming (or Spiderman: Home Coming) I suggest you go ahead and go see it. They’ve set the stage for a great series and you’re not going to want to miss out on it.

Oh, and one last note: I haven’t seen the Avengers that this version of Spider-Man was apparently in and it had no impact on my ability to watch this movie.

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