Gilberto Says SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Is Fresh, Funny, and Innovative.

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FILM REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

BY GILBERTO CAMPA

Last year with Marvel’s Captain America Civil War  audiences were introduced with the third (and youngest) cinematic take on Spiderman in the last twelve years played by Tom Holland who was casted after a lengthy and vigorous audition that lasted months. And with the fifteen minutes (more or less) of screen time that Peter Parker had that was so well received and in my opinion the closest thing to Spiderman we have ever seen on film, it got me very excited for Spider-Man:Homecoming and what the movie was going to be.

Getting to the actual movie, after only seeing it once I can firmly say that Marvel Studios has done it AGAIN! It’s almost scary at this point because they can’t seem to make a bad movie (Thor The Dark World, even though I liked it) even with the massive lived in universe and the potential problem of trying to include too many MCU references to connect the movie, Spider-Man:Homecoming stands on its own as a fresh, funny and innovative take on one of if not the most important character in the Marvel Universe.

One aspect of the movie that I was happy to see was the amount of time that they spend in Peter’s High School since Peter Parker is actually a teenager in this film. Unlike the previous two franchises where Peter was either already out of high school and dealing with grown up problems or not even in high school at all, Homecoming builds the world of Peter Parker through the Jon Hughes (coming of age) style and tone so you really get to experience what this kid is going through. This movie is ultimately all about Peter and through the experiences that he goes through in the movie; finding out what it really means to be a superhero and all that it entails.

The cast for this film was very good and without even mentioning a word about it, very diverse which I really enjoyed. Starting with Spiderman himself, Tom Holland (In The heart of the sea, the impossible, Wolf Hall) gets a whole two hours as the web slinging hero and brought similar yet new things to the role that was original and humanized Peter. It wasn’t really the scenes of him as Spiderman that did it for me (not that they were bad) but all of the moments that Peter had with the people in his life and the internal struggle of being that young while having so much on your shoulders was handled really well. That is what makes his moments in the suit so much more important because you are completely invested in Peter Parker so while he is being Spiderman you can’t help but be happy for him.

When it comes to the rest of the supporting cast, Jacob Batalon as Ned was absolutely delightful as Peters best friend and biggest supporter, every line of him asking Peter about the different abilities that Ned thinks he had were delivered so well and it felt very natural. He also served the story well and didn’t feel like the typical best friend that gets into trouble and the hero has to save him, Ned is able to hold his own. You also had all of Peter’s usual classmates spearheaded by the reimagining of Flash Thompson played by Tony Revolori who dealt with a lot of backlash from the fans and used that hate to drive his performance and it showed. Zendaya also played a nice part in the movie as Michelle who is a girl similar but yet different from Liz as she is more of a mysterious character that provides some humor and good character moments.

The only member of Peter’s family that we get to see again is Auny Hotty aka Aunt May who was played by Marissa Tomei and is not in the movie as much as I was expecting her to be but she served the support role that she is in the movie to play. The age difference didn’t bother me in Civil War and it wasn’t a problem in this movie either as they actually used that fact to make some funny moments of dialogue towards the beginning of the film.

The other woman that is in Peter’s life (or that he wants in his life) primarily is the love interest of the movie Liz played by Laura Harrier who has a type A personality. In a movie FULL of Spiderman references and homage’s Liz in the comics was introduced in Amazing Fantasy #4 and was the first real crush that Peter had in High School (Before Gwen and MJ). The chemistry that Laura and Tom have is charming and felt natural in the way that they are both interacting with each other throughout the film which is nice to see as I’m sure we have all had that special girl or guy that we had a crush on in High School.

Now when it comes to Peters mentor or father figure, however you want to look at it, Robert Downey Jr. aka Tony Stark who makes his seventh appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that anchor in Peters life when this film starts. There were a lot of people saying that this doesn’t feel like its Spiderman’s movie and it feels more like and Iron man film, but that is not the case at all. Robert Downey Jr. delivers a very raw and genuine performance as Tony Stark who (six months prior) had just went through an emotional roller coaster after the events of Civil War.

He is in the movie just enough and comes in sometimes when you least expect it, but all of the scenes that he is featured in are used to bring the focus on Peter and not to himself which makes a huge difference. And Stark does go through some changes in this film especially when it comes to how he looks at Peter because we all know at this point that Tony is not the perfect person to look up to, if anything he is more flawed. This leaves Peter kind of figuring things out for himself when it comes down to what he should and how to use his Spidey suit and that makes the character development even better. But you do see that Tony looks at Peter as the son that he never had and wants to treat Peter better than his father Howard treated him which was very nice to see. And just like the sequence in the trailer, my favorite scene between the two of them is when Tony confronts Peter and gives him the very real lesson of what it really means to be a hero and the amount of responsibility that it takes to do so.

Spiderman Homecoming is ultimately about perspective and making choices in order to protect the ones you care about, which is the motivation for the best MCU villain since Loki, Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture played to perfection by Michael Keaton. Unlike the other previous Spider-man films this time around Jin Watts and the writers were able to FINALLY tackle the multiple villain problem that was an issue in Spider-man 3 and The Amazing Spider-man 2.

Before the movie even starts you see right away what Adrian Toomes is all about as he along with his crew of other future Spiderman villains are working as the salvaging company who were working at the Grand Central Station breaking down the Chitauri tech that was left after the battle of New York. And when the head of the newly formed Damage Control comes in and basically relieves Adrian and his team of his duties they decide to keep some of that leftover tech and change along with the rest of the world, as Adrian sees this as Stark and the rest of the world only caring about themselves . The rest of Adrian’s crew include his tech creator The Tinkerer played by Michael Chernus, and both versions of The Shocker played by Logan Marshall-Green and Bokeem Woodbine respectively.

This is where the MCU comes into play as these group of guys have gone around since the incident in New York and have been stealing Technology from all of the leftover battles that have taken place in the movies so far (Age of Ultron, Civil War, Winter Soldier, etc.) and are creating and selling weapons and in Toomes case, a Winged suit capable of high altitude used to help commit their robberies, but they never intend to hurt anyone at least in the begging.

If three villains weren’t enough for you then it doesn’t stop with them, during the fairy sequence we are also introduced to another future Spiderman foe in Marc Gargan (I won’t spoil it) played by Michael Mando who is really only teased but his appearance was still great to see. And rounding off the list is Donald Glovers character Aaron Davis who (for the people that know) has a very big role in the future of the Spiderman series going forward. I wish we could have gotten to see more of Glover because his stock and profile is really high right now but that’s why you have sequels. So not only does this movie introduce completely new Spiderman villains that have never been on screen before but, they do it in a natural and unforced way that serves the story and not the moment or just for the hell of it.

For me Michael Keaton gave a really solid performance and stole the movie, because of that a lot of people are going to be split on how they see Vulture in this movie because his motivations are sincere and very natural and only an actor as capable of Keaton can deliver that motivation even though you are not suppose to be rooting for him. I know that I have said a lot but I can’t finish without mentioning the score for the movie, Michael Giacchino delivers a very good and upbeat score that is perfect for the type of Spiderman that is being shown in the movie, a subtle tone of hope mixed with the familiar tune from the 1960’s cartoon. And there is a really great homage to Amazing Spiderman #33 that is used in the most important part of the movie (you’ll know it when you see it) and it hits really well with the above mentioned score. All in all Spider-Man Homecoming is a fun and hilarious ride with many surprises and teases for the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

FINAL WORD: