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MOVIE REVIEWS: FTN reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming

July 6th, 2017 by Andrew Comments

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon,  Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori.
Running time: 2hrs 13mins

Eight years earlier, during the clean up of the battle of New York, Adrian Toomes’ (Keaton) company is dismissed by the government in favour of a Stark/Government division. Having spent great cost to fulfill the job, Toomes decides to keep some of the alien technology to make money through reverse engineering it. Eight years later and a video diary of Peter Parker’s (Holland) chronicles his involvement in the airport battle of Captain America: Civil War.

Stark gives Peter the suit under the condition he go back to being a teenager at school, be a ‘friendly neighbourhood spider-man and wait for future calls, but when he encounters a group led by Toomes selling advanced alien weaponary, his constant calls to Stark through Happy Hogan (Favreau) go unanswered, and Peter decides he needs to stop the group from stealing more alien technology to prove himself.

Whereas the previous versions as played by Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield were separate from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Spider-Man: Homecoming follows Tom Holland’s version as seen in Captain America: Civil War, meaning that other characters from the MCU can appear – namely Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. Though while RDJ’s appearance has been heavily advertised, I’m glad to say he only appears in the movie for a total of approx ten minutes.

This is fully a Spider-Man movie, and not another Avengers movie in disguise. What also helps to give it this feel is that it is a much smaller movie than those others with which it shares a universe. This isn’t Peter Parker saves the world, this is essentially a coming of age movie where a school kid discovers an illegal weapons dealer and is forced into acting himself when the authorities laugh at him when he tries to report it. All that’s different is that this school kid has superpowers and is untested.

This is a very early Spider-Man who at fifteen is the youngest version of the character brought to the screen, and is inexperienced to the degree that he even makes painful mistakes when web-swinging. While the movie is not an origin story about how Peter Parker got his powers (his being bitten by a spider is only referenced in a line of dialogue) it is still an origin story in that it is about how Peter Parker comes into his own as Spider-Man. From the outset, Peter pines for the approval of Tony Stark, and to become an Avenger, and Tom Holland’s performance lacks the level of cocky arrogance that was present in previous versions, and adds a level of vulnerability which suits it well.

The movie should be applauded on its caricature of The Vulture, who is well fleshed out and personified beautifully by Michael Keaton and is that very rare thing in the MCU – an interesting villain. Perhaps Marvel should consider bringing Sony on board more often to collaborate when developing others?

Yet for all its greatness, I can’t say that I was blown away by the movie. If anything, I was sadly under whelmed by it.

For starters the movie suffers from a problem with the humour injected throughout, with what should be humorous scenes at high-school between Peter and his friend Ned (Batalon) failing to connect when attempting some of the simplest jokes. The problem isn’t just with these characters, it’s also with the other new characters including Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan, whom we know can be funny from their previous performances in MCU roles and such movies as The Grand Budapest Hotel, and as far as I can tell the issue is with flat direction from director Jon Watts, whose previous directing efforts included the unfunny comedy series’ of The Onion news network.

Then there’s composer Michael Giacchino’s musical score – perhaps my biggest gripe with the movie. It attempts to infuse the original Spider-Man theme from the classic animation series, but fails to add any real tension or excitement to the movie. There are scenes where it decides to not use any music at all where there should be some (without spoiling, a particularly poor choice is made in a latter scene set in a car featuring a corsage –  it had me screaming for something to undercut it). Similarly it does nothing to get the blood flowing excite or elate, even during action sequences. It literally is the example of a ‘play it safe’ score, again missing any theme like all other MCU movie scores, but they at least got your blood pumping or made you feel something when necessary. Here, nothing.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first movie connected with the MCU that I have to say I left the theatre disappointed, not by the movie being poor – it’s not (it’s no Thor: The Dark World), but by it being hum-drum average when it should have been more. I went in with lowered expectations as what I had seen of the movie in trailers and footage had me interested but not excited, which usually means the movie will win me over, but unfortunately that did not happen here.

Again, not a bad movie, and worth seeing if you’re a fan for the character and the performances, but it mis-fires on too many levels to live up to its potential. Again I find myself wanting to give a movie a half-point and give it 3.5/5 (FTN only gives full number ratings) but I can’t justify giving it 4/5, therefore…

3 out of 5 Nerds.

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Co-host of the Monday Movie Show, Andrew is a huge movie fan who is into all sorts of things movie related, as well as a fan of all things nerd. In his spare time he likes to work at script writing, that is when he's not spending it on something movie or nerd related!

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