Saturday, July 8, 2017

Thoughts on Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming hit theaters this week, marking Spidey's first headlining appearance in the MCU.  This is not a review of the movie, but a collection of my thoughts from the movie.  Be warned, if you haven't seen it yet HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

While there is some debate about the necessity for another Spider-Man reboot so soon, I for one was glad to see it.  This is the first wall crawler who actually looks like a high school student.  This is also the first time that both Peter Parker and Spider-Man felt like their comic book counter parts.  Peter is geeky and awkward.  Spidey is cocky and cracks jokes.  Marvel and Sony did a good job of making this Spidey his own man, distinct from the versions we've had before.

No origin stories here.  The spider gets a brief mention in a conversation, but we don't have to watch Peter getting used to his powers all over again.  When this movie starts he has already taken on Captain America and his rogue team of Avengers.  There is a recap of that, but done in a way that was cute and entertaining.  Peter kept a video diary of the trip to Germany and the throw down at the airport.

Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts are back!  I didn't even realize how much I had missed them in the MCU until I saw them on screen again.  This movie really felt more like a phase one movie, with a little Guardians flavor thrown in with some of the humor and the classic rock soundtrack. It was a really fun and funny movie.  I know those words are turnoffs to the kind of people who thought Batman V Superman was the greatest superhero movie of all time, but I unapologetically love the light tone of the Marvel movies.  I happen to think there is room for all kinds of different kinds of c
omic book movies.

There were a lot of little nods to the comics for fans.  Images taken straight from the comics.  Betty Brant is there.  The Iron Spider suit shows up, but never sees action.  There were also a lot of great little jokes that were just kind of random.    I liked that neither Mary Jane nor Gwen Stacy were the love interest this time around.  They did have a character who identifies herself as MJ at the end of the movie, but for most of her screen time she is called Michelle.  I am guessing this is a Mary Jane replacement.  I'm not sure why they changed her name, but it did kind of bum me out.

There was talk a while back about having Donald Glover don the tights.  While that didn't happen, they did give him a part in the movie.  He didn't really get much to do, which I thought was a shame.  Michael Keaton killed it as the Vulture, which I knew he would.  I was worried going in because I had heard there would be the Vulture, two different Shockers and the Scorpion.  All of this is true, but the first Shocker is barely in the movie, the second is just a henchman to the Vulture and Gargan never actually puts on a Scorpion suit.  The Vulture is definitely the big bad of the movie and the focus remains pretty squarely on him.

Speaking of the Vulture, his suit is pretty cool, and he made a pretty menacing and interesting villain.  I know I should have seen it coming, but it really did take me by surprise when it turned out he was the father of Peter's crush.  Keaton made him sympathetic, and just really did an outstanding job in this movie.  The Vultures suit is based on old tech left over from previous Avengers movies, as Keaton was originally the head of the crew that was contracted to clean up after the events of the first Avengers movie.  He turns to a life of crime after his contracts are taken away by Damage Control, making their long awaited debut in the MCU.  This movie was much more Marvel than I anticipated, drawing directly from both Avengers movies and of course a little from Civil War.  I really thought the movie would have one or two scenes with Iron Man and that would be the extent of the connection, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much it was based in the MCU.

The fight scenes were well done, the comedy was well done.  Overall just a really enjoyable flick.  Probably the most fun Marvel film since the first Guardians.  The Captain America cameos were really clever,with Cap being the presenter in a series of school videos on various subjects. They used this gimmick for one of the funniest (in my opinion) post credits scenes Marvel has had so far.  One ting that struck me, they used the music from the old Spidey cartoon, and they played the Ramones twice.  Why didn't they use the Ramones cover of the old Spider-Man theme?  Seems like a no-brainer to me, and I keep waiting for their version to show up.  I was disappointed when Raimi's first movie opted to have it redone by Aerosmith instead, in a version that I felt was far inferior to the Ramones.

I was really happy that they had Peter decide to not join the Avengers.  It was only recently that he joined in the comics for a while, and even that felt like a cheap cash grab.  I always liked Spidey as the loner hero, who did the occasional team-up but never had a full time team gig.  I know he'll be in Infinity War and I wouldn't mind at all seeing a team-up with Daredevil in the future.  (They worked together a lot in the comics.)  But for the most part I think Spidey should be doing his own thing.  Aunt May was also great in the movie, even if she is far from the frail old lady we are used to.  My overall impression if the movie is just a lot of fun.  I for one am happy they decided to make another go at Spider-Man with Marvel, and I say "Welcome home, Web head."

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