In preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, I’m watching all the Marvel Studios movies leading up to it.
Spider-man Homecoming (2017)
It’s a little weird as we get closer to the movies that were more recent. It’s harder to have much more perspective on them. But, I’m happy to have an opportunity to talk more about Spider-man Homecoming. After 5 movies getting some things right, some things mostly right, and a few things pretty wrong with the character of Spider-man, this move finally nails him. That’s not to denigrate some of the movies before this. The Raimi Spider-man movies are ones that I really want to go back and watch (at least the first two) at some point because I remember them fondly. Kirsten Dunst was an amazing Mary Jane, and her and Peter’s relationship was fantastic. And, certainly, we got a really classic Aunt Man, and Doc Ock is still one of the best comics to screen interpretations of a villain ever. I liked Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man a lot, and Emma Stone was a great Gwen. But a second go at an origin story, a second go at Green Goblin, and a bit of a mess of a second movie just left me a little bored with Spider-man
Enter Tom Holland in Civil War. And Spider-man was brought to life again, for me, more like his comic book version than ever. He quips. He talks to much in battle. He’s funny. He’s a little cocky. And, he’s really just a kid trying to do the right thing, over his head. Spider-man Homecoming just proved that Holland was the perfect guy for the job, and then surrounded him with a script and characters that really cemented this as the definitive Spider-man, even though it’s so different from the classic set-up in some really major ways.
• Michael Keaton as the Vulture is inspired, and this version of the Vulture is more interesting than pretty much anything I’ve read in the comics, although I’ll admit my Spider-man comics reading is spottier than other heroes. I was so excited when Keaton was cast, after reminding us of how brilliant he is in movies like Birdman and The Founder. I’m SO happy he’s back, because I’ve always thought he was amazing (still my favorite screen Batman) and his working-class man turned crook storyline is brilliant. He can go from warm to cold as ice in a beat. Which makes this next thing work so brilliantly…
• The car ride to Homecoming. One of my favorite scenes in any superhero movie. One of my favorite scenes in ANY movie. The tension that’s created here is almost unbearable, and it pays off the shock of the previous scene is such delicious ways. The best thing is, this all leads to some amazing characterization for Peter. No matter what, Peter WILL sacrifice to do the right thing.
• The classic “lifting the rubble” scene. Pulled from the comics, this scene still fills me with such joy. And, again, it shows the heart of the character so well. There are some great set pieces in the movie (the ferry, the final battle) but it’s in the smaller moments the movie shows its heart.
• The Tony/Peter mentorship. It’s often hilarious. It can be heartwarming, and it’s actually really great for Tony’s characterization too. And we find out Tony and Pepper are back together!
• The supporting cast. The movie casts quite a lot of comedic actors in supporting roles, even small ones, and it pays off so well. From the elevator operator to teachers at school… it helps add a real lightness to it that doesn’t detract from the danger. And Marissa Tomei as a hot, sexy Aunt May TOTALLY works for me. It’s so different from the comics, but it actually feels more modern and I love the relationships she has with Peter. Plus, that final scene is just perfect.
• The ending – Spider-man SAVES his foe! How about that! I hope that becomes more of a trend. The thing where a villain gets offed at the end is annoying. I like the idea of more ongoing villains. It’d be cool if eventually it led to a Sinister Six.
I’m really excited to see where Spider-man goes in the future! I hope we see Doc Ock and Green Goblin again, maybe closer to their counterparts. it feels like The Scorpion, at least, is in the cards. I worry about Sony still having the rights and creating their own Spider-man-less Spider-verse with movies like Venom. But at least we know Spider-man is in good hands.