Now back in Marvel’s hands, fans are finally guaranteed to love Spider-Man again. Personally, I say Tobey Maguire still has the best cinematic version, with Spider-Man: Homecoming coming out on top over the Andrew Garfield version. The one we got now gives a brand spanking new take on the famous webslinger, one maybe a little too reliant on jokes for an emotionally satisfying experience. I admit it works in delivering another really funny movie by Marvel Studios, even though the other disliked clichés of the franchise are still here, including his ridiculous pose in front of the American flag. What possibly went wrong here? Well…
Several of the plot details may shut some viewers off. A blatant “save the cat” scenario comes up early on, which may not sound too lame for anyone unfamiliar with what it means, until a coincidental plot twist and the most unromantic of marriage proposals dissatisfies any feel of logic. Besides Tony, nobody in the overly male cast has any personal ambition to exist other than to progress Peter’s journey at the most unbelievably convenient times. So no need to include Spidey in any “Screenwriting 101” courses.
I cannot say that Stark’s version of the patriot-colored costume tops all over versions; a couple of unnecessary gadgets, including a drone from his chest, drags it down too much to feel like the classic Spider-Man. His webbing also breaks too easily compared to Maguire’s and Garfield’s Spider-Men. While plenty of moments could have matched the intensity of Spider-Man 2’s train rescue, it ultimately misses those opportunities. For instance, the ferry repair we all saw in the trailer ends too soon, aside from our hero forming a very on-the-nose crucifix pose.
If anything, this movie works best from all its small, brief moments that connect to the rest of the MCU. To go into greater detail, it introduces our main hero with a hilarious video diary featuring Peter’s perspective of the Civil War battle. Then he attempts to contact his mentor through a long chain of unanswered texts (again, very funny). These small moments all open up chances for the adorkable wall crawler to just have some fun, especially when he has to learn his web shooter settings. The rest of the cast outside of Tom Holland also puts in their A-game: Jacob Batalon, who plays Peter’s best friend, times his jokes perfectly. Even Marisa Tomei understands her role beyond just being “hot Aunt May,” and delivers moments when she genuinely tries to help her confused, secretive nephew. Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming has now become the best acted, and most racially diverse, MCU movie to date.
Yes, like New York City itself, the cast swims in a melting pot of color. Marvel very much strives for a new, inclusive version of the American arachnid, which is great, but the extra ethnicities contribute no storytelling purpose. Make Peter’s Black love interest a Jew, and the plot remains unchanged. Turn the wimpy Indian bully Flash into the blonde-haired macho man he was intended to be, and again, nothing changes.
In fact, I wish we got to see more of the high school setting than Peter’s underused classmates. Rather than social media trends and fidget spinners, we instead watch genius kids solving problems better than the CIA. The “Totally 80’s” themed homecoming dance itself lasts only a few moments, and when we see it, it looks exactly opposite of the 1980’s. Although the homecoming setting does turn briefly hilarious by incorporating the awkward homecoming photo session under dad’s careful hawk’s eye.
Outside of the high school world, both New York and DC are key locations throughout the feature. The makeup and hairstyling job on the entire cast looks great in the different locations, but if you rewrote the script to take place in Malaysia, the story remains unaltered.
Although Spider-Man: Homecoming did get one thing right about New York’s culture: the rebellious nature of its teenagers. Even compared to the other Avengers, no parent would want to raise a selfish kid like Peter. Like his counterpart Deadpool, Spider-Man defaces public property, steals cars, hates authority, and lies to everyone so that he can have fun fighting bad guys. He treats criminals like they deserve just to be bullied around by some kid. His mentor, Iron Man, even gives him a great moral, saying, “If you’re nothing without the suit then you should not have it,” yet the ending contradicts his sensical message. Teens nowadays deserve better role models.
So therefore, I personally prefer the whimpering Tobey Maguire over the kid with the hot aunt; yet I prefer the single antagonist he fights here, however badly designed he may be, over the excessive plastering of villains pitted against Garfield. So the overall perfect version of Spider-Man may never exist, but for what we got now, it’ll do.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Marvel Italy. “Spider-Man: Homecoming - Trailer Italiano Ufficiale | HD.” Digital image. YouTube. 10 Dec 2016. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs64hwoQSiI>.
“Save the Cat.” 2017. Web. <http://www.savethecat.com/>.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Marvel Studios. Web. <http://www.spidermanhomecoming.com/>.