Monday, July 10, 2017

Looking At Movies - Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

I hope we are done with Spider-Man reboots because if this character gets any younger, using the term "man" is going to seem inappropriate. Marvel missed the boat on Spider-Man when it sold the rights to Sony in 1999. Even though a complicated agreement was struck to finally get the webslinger into the Avengers universe, the story of Spider-Man is so convoluted right now that it is going to take more than a couple of decent movies to straighten it out. When you also consider that Sony could just go ahead and reboot the series again if it wanted to, you start to understand why Spider-Man: Homecoming is so unnecessarily watered down and complicated.

I like Tom Holland as Spider-Man. I always felt that Tobey Maguire was the perfect Spider-Man, but the combination of Maguire losing grip with reality and his third Spider-Man movie being an abomination of a film pushed him out of the driver's seat. Tom Holland does a fine job with the iconic role, despite the type of material he is being given to work with. His limited exposure in Captain America: Civil War was enough to get Marvel fans excited about the new Spider-Man, but I feel like a little of that enthusiasm wears off with this new movie.

Michael Keaton is brilliant as Vulture, and Robert Downey Jr. is, as always, Iron Man. I think the things that bother me are the small changes Marvel is making to its own character to try and make it stand apart from the other Spider-Man movies made over the past 15 years. Aunt May is not supposed to be a seductive looking middle-aged woman. She is supposed to be a kindly old lady who obviously knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. The elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ben are supposed to be the foundation of Peter Parker's very conscience. It is that conscience that eventually drives him to mature at an accelerated rate. We don't have that with this new Spider-Man, so they threw in Tony Stark (not exactly the best father figure).

Peter Parker is supposed to be a kid, but not so damn close to being a baby. He is supposed to be a high school senior at the age of 17 when he is bitten by the radioactive spider. He doesn't even start using his powers until he gets into his early 20s. This Spider-"Man" is bitten at some point before the age of 14 and is just turning 15 when this movie starts, and he has already taken on Captain America. I think Marvel did this, once again, to separate this new Spider-Man from all previous versions. But the character in Spider-Man: Homecoming is just too young. It doesn't work, and it feels really awkward in spots.

I love Marvel movies (despite Marvel's tyrannical corporate overlords) because Marvel movies know how to be really funny and exciting at the same time. Spider-Man: Homecoming seems to forget how to do that and I think that is another thing that makes it awkward. While there are plenty of funny moments (especially the "after the credits" scene which is a big kick in the groin to hardcore Marvel fans), the movie just doesn't seem to flow smoothly. It cannot seem to make up its mind if it is a Marvel movie, an adventure movie, or a comedy. We get plenty of laugh out loud moments, but it just felt forced in spots.

I understand why Marvel felt the need to finally bring Spider-Man into the Avengers universe, but I also feel like that ship has already sailed. While Marvel does an admirable job trying to establish the Spider-Man it wants in this Avengers universe, the constant rebooting of the Spider-Man character has left little traction on the tires. I enjoyed the movie, but it did not feel like an Avengers movie to me at all.

This is also a very, very dark movie in terms of lighting. The full moon did a number on the ability to see this movie at the drive-in. While a night at the drive-in is always a good idea, you will need to have some patience if you choose to see Spider-Man: Homecoming at your local drive-in theater.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who loves watching movies under the stars. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.

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