With the rare collaboration of two major studios you would think Spider-Man: Homecoming would have been caught in a web of messy creative decisions – well, to put things simply, Marvel Studios took the reigns here and they don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
Spider-Man: Homecoming continues the story of Peter Parker after the events of Captain America: Civil War – in this, Peter must face the villainous vulture and prove his worth as hero.
With a film that has a semi-introductory role devoid of an origin story, it felt good to have extra time to absorb Spider-Man and get a view of Peter Parker’s current life. This film is carried by Tom Holland’s charismatic performance and supported heavily by Michael Keaton’s fantastic role as the Vulture. Holland manages to balance many of the iconic personality traits that Peter Parker has – from his PG rated Deadpool style humour, to his day-to-day emotional struggles as an outcast, it’s clear Holland resonated with this character. I find it’s in no way a bad thing to say he played Peter Parker and not Spider-Man in this film, the point of this film is that Peter has yet to “become” Spider-Man. Peter is still trying to find where he fits in at both school and as an Avenger, as well as what his identity truly is – mirroring many of the real life struggles teens go through. Going back to Michael Keaton, it’s nice to see a genuinely well-handled villain. Keaton plays a slightly sinister, yet borderline sympathetic role; this has been the best villain in the MCU since Loki and The Winter Soldier, in that the Vulture in this film does not emulate evil like Thanos. With both the lead and villain playing fantastic roles, the supporting cast also had great chemistry, from the love interest to the best friend, majority of the characters had a distinct flavor and flowing chemistry that director Jon Watts may be responsible for bringing out all of the actors maximum potential.
While the trailers give away some of the story structure, they do not take away from the surprising plot points throughout. The struggles that Peter faces throughout the film are real, and you get a sense of responsibility that he has as becoming Spider-Man – the sacrifices he needs to make, and the people that he has to let down; what’s more is that the film never mentions these aspects, it expects you’ll understand them and treats its audience with a tad more intelligence than the standard MCU film. While you don’t feel the intense stakes that a film like Logan (2017) has, we are offered plenty of emotional scenes from Holland, and this further strengthens my faith in his future roles as this character. The film had some inconsistencies with characters’ decisions and characters moving from one place to another for unexplained reasons.
Sadly this film has many technical aspects that it didn’t quite nail straight down, for starters, you get a great editing style in the first act but as the film crept towards the end the editing in the action sequences became very hard to follow. Spider-Man has one of the most exciting fighting styles, yet it felt underutilized and sometimes wasted – I wish we had more hand to hand combat and practical stunts, as Holland is a talented athlete. The camera-work was also sometimes very blurry in its panning shots, and while it’s not entirely backed by Disney’s wallet, there’s little excuse for the CGI to be “average at best”. We got better visuals in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman (2002) in some parts. While it was “okay” on the visual side, the film was let down by its soundtrack, as we get very little style or substance, much of it is either filler music or partially reworked Avenger style action music, though many of the highschool themed music was better.
This film surprised in many ways, and it truly is a great addition to the MCU, its inconsistencies took it down a few notches and its visuals were nothing to clamber about, but it offered an entertaining story that satisfies that nagging feeling for a good MCU villain and an unexpected story. I’m excited to see how both Holland and Spider-Man will fit into future installments.
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