Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming movie posterSynopsis
Two months after helping Iron Man in Berlin, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) tries to balance his life as a high school student and fighting crime as the masked hero Spider-Man. When he learns that the Vulture (Michael Keaton) has been stealing alien technology and re-purposing them into weapons and selling them to criminals, he tries to stop the Vulture’s operation despite his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) telling him to let it go.

Review
Spider-Man is one of my all-time favorite characters. So of course, I am always excited to see a movie with him so I don’t exactly feel the over-saturation of the character that others might be feeling. But with that said, how does Spider-Man: Homecoming compare to the other iterations of Peter Parker we have seen since 2002? Well I’d say pretty damn good!

Each actor who has donned the red and blue tights have brought a different flavor to the character. Toby Maguire set the tone of what to expect from an on-screen Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield brought a little more humor to the character, and now it’s Tom Holland’s turn to bring his own take on the character. Holland’s Peter / Spider-Man feels like the best of both Maguire’s and Garfield’s versions, mixed with his own unique elements. His Peter is very innocent and excitable. He gets awestruck when he sees the other super humans, despite being one himself. He’s awkward around girls and gets frustrated for being treated like a kid. This might be the most accurate portrayal of Peter that has graced the silver screen yet.

As great as Holland was as Spider-Man, Michael Keaton was equally as great as The Vulture. Keaton is sinister without feeling melodramatic, yet he still has a family-man side to him. When he first confronts Peter face-to-face, his demeanor switches like that (imagine me snapping my fingers) and it’s amazing to see Keaton make that switch so seemingly effortless. His Vulture is a much more grounded villain in terms of his ambitions than other villains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). He just wants to make money, plain and simple. Other than maybe Darren Cross in Ant-Man, most villains in the MCU have world-dominating plans. But not, here. The Vulture is much more street-level, which fits very well into the roots of the character, both the Vulture as well as Spider-Man.

I was really excited to see how many elements from the comics were brought into the film. For example, the shot where he holding the boat together with his webs has been done many times in many forms of media throughout Spider-Man’s history. Another iconic moment is when Peter is buried under rubble and has to use all of his strength to lift it up, which is taken straight from The Amazing Spider-Man issue 33. It’s the small things, too. Like running out of web fluid and changing his web cartridges mid-fight, leaving his clothes webbed against a wall when he suits up, or going to great lengths to hide his secret identity, even from his friends and family. There are many more but my point is it feels like there was more attention spent bringing more of the little things from the comics into the movie.

For me, and I’m sure many other Spider-Man fans, one of Spider-Man’s greatest draws in the comics is that, for the most part, it is very lighthearted. Every now and there may be a darker story or narrative, depending on the writer, but it usually doesn’t last long before the book is back to its bright, cheerful self. Spider-Man: Homecoming took inspiration from this and kept its story bright and cheerful, too. There were scenes were the movie became became more serious but never a point that I would call “dark.” Soon after these moments, the film would shift back to the fun, bouncy story.

There wasn’t much that I can complain about it this film but I did find it a little disappointing that his suit is decked out with all of the bells and whistles of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. It feels too good right now. I understand that it was Tony who created Peter’s suit but Peter is smart and ingenuitive and it would be cool to see him create much of that on his own at his own pace. The portion of the film when Peter was in his original homemade costume was cool because it showed he can operate on just his powers alone. Maybe this is small but I think he should have gradually gotten there amongst his movies rather than get it right off the bat.

Speaking of his powers, I was bummed that Spider-Man’s spider-sense wasn’t more prominent. His spider-sense is one of his most unique skills and it is hardly on display, at least not in an obvious way. If they make it more apparent in future films, I can see viewers who are not that familiar with the character thinking this is a feature of his suit and not part of his inherent power set.

As a long-time fan of the character, it was strange to see much of Spider-Man’s supporting cast changed in some way. MJ has a very different personality than her comic counterpart, Gwen was nowhere to be found, and Liz Allen isn’t one of Peter’s love interests. The best friend role is fulfilled by Ned Leeds instead of Harry Osborn, who is traditionally Liz’s love interest and also happens to be missing. Adrian Toomes is more like Norman Osborn, Harry’s father, than Adrian Toomes and Flash Thompson is more of a rich prick instead of a stereotypical sports jock. I have another more to say about why I don’t like this version of Flash very much but I should wrap this review up soon. In any case, there is a lot of character changes to process for die hard Spidey fans such as myself.

I thought Spider-Man: Homecoming was GREAT 😀 My pal Curt said this feels like Spider-Man: Year One rather than Spider-Man: The Beginning, which is a great way to describe this film. We don’t get another version of Peter learning with great power comes great responsibility. Instead, we get a movie where he is already embraced his role, where is is learning his place in a world already filled with superheroes rather than how his powers work or how he should use them. There have been aspects from the previous iterations of Spider-Man I have enjoyed but Spider-Man: Homecoming finally gives the most accurate and consistent version of the character yet. And personally, I cannot be happier.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Jon Watts – Director / Story
Jonathan Goldstein – Screenplay / Story
John Francis Daley – Screenplay / Story
Christopher Ford – Screenplay
Chris McKenna – Screenplay
Erik Sommers – Screenplay
Michael Giacchino – Composer

Tom Holland – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Jacob Batalon – Ned Leeds
Laura Harrier – Liz Allen
Zendaya – Michelle
Tony Revolori – Flash Thompson
Marisa Tomei – May Parker
Robert Downey, Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man
Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan
Michael Keaton – Adrian Toomes / Vulture
Bokeem Woodbine – Herman Schultz / Shocker #2
Michael Chernus – Phineas Mason / The Tinkerer
Michael Mando – Mac Gargon
Donald Glover – Aaron Davis

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Genre Grandeur – The Amazing Spider Man (2012)

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ll explain soon but bear with me. In the mean time, check out the review of The Amazing Spider-Man I did for Rob’s comic themed Genre Grandeur.

For the next submission in this month’s Genre Grandeur – Comic book / superhero movies, I present you with a review by Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews.  His site is filled with great movie reviews and reviewed of recent movie trailers.  If you don’t already follow his site, I strongly recommend that you do so.

It still isn’t too late to join in on this months Genre Grandeur.  The official deadline is this coming Wednesday, but if you plan on submitting a review, shoot me an email just to let me be on the lookout for it so it gets posted on time.  In order to submit a post, just shoot me an email at comics@movierob.net with your review and I’ll post it for you.

Looking forward to getting those last stragglers’ reviews (Kim? V? Mutant? anyone else? ) soon 🙂

Let’s see what Drew…

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie posterSynopsis
Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) life as Spider-Man is going great. The people of New York City love him and he has a great relationship with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). But when Electro (Jamie Foxx) appears and starts wrecking havoc across the city, Peter realizes that being Spider-Man comes with a cost. Meanwhile, he is haunted by the promise he made to Gwen’s father to keep her away from his life as Spider-Man. On top of fighting the crime of New York City and his relationship, he also has to deal with the sudden arrival of his old childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). All of a sudden, being Spider-Man isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Review
When I first saw the trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I thought it looked like Sony was trying to pack as much as they could into this movie. I was afraid it would become another Spider-Man 3 where there was just too many plot threads and villains for its own good. Although a lot was happening, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 manages to be fairly balanced and finally seems to have the character of Peter Parker down.

One of the biggest problems I had with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and The Amazing Spider-Man was they didn’t seem to understand Peter’s playfulness. He started out light and quip-y, but as the movies went on, he became more serious and his wise cracks went away. This time, his humor was present all through the movie and felt much more like the comic version fans know and love.

When I first saw Electro was going to be the villain in this film, I was pretty excited. In the previous movies, the villains Spider-Man fought were, as Joss Whedon described the Avengers’ power set, punchy. With the exception of Sandman, they all matched Peter as physical adversaries. Electro offers a different set of powers that would give Spider-Man a different type of challenge to overcome. They did a great job with him here. The movie spends a decent amount of time with Max Dillon before is transformation into the master of electricity. By doing so, we get to understand Max and sympathize with his character and what happened to him. It also helps greatly that Jamie Foxx did great with the part.

I have mentioned before how much a good score/soundtrack can add to the film. Every time Electro was about to unleash his powers, his theme would start quietly then get louder, climaxing when his powers were unleashed. It is something small, but it added to the tension and excitement for me and I just wanted to point it out.

Superhero movies have the difficult task of finding a good balance between having the hero in and out of costume. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I think manages to find a good balance between Peter and Spider-Man. I never felt like there was more of a focus on one or the other. This worked well because it showed how much of an integral part Spider-Man is in Peter’s life.

The special effects were extremely well done. Electro looked great and you could almost feel like you were swinging through the New York City skyline with Spider-Man. My favorite effects were when time slowed down to show Spider-Man’s spider sense in action. Each movie has shown his spider sense slightly different each time, but this is probably my favorite portrayal of it.

There were times when I felt this movie tried to include too many characters and subplots, making it feel convoluted. Despite Electro being the central villain, they incorporated the Green Goblin into the mix. The Green Goblin doesn’t have much screen time and when he does arrive he isn’t explored much. In an attempt to set up characters for future movies, several characters appeared briefly, such as Alistair Smythe (who eventually becomes the Spider Slayer) and Felicia (who I’m assuming is Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat).

I was disappointed to see how Peter’s and Harry’s relationship was handled. Peter has a deep connection with the Osborns; Harry is Peter’s best friend and Norman sees Peter as the successful son he never had. It was made clear that they were childhood friends but their relationship wasn’t developed that well. It’s a shadow of what I think it should have been and a far cry from their relationship in the comics or even Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The Osborns’ decent into madness is supposed to be a story of tragedy, but there is no time to see them break down and empathize with Peter.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems to have finally grasped Peter’s sense of humor, one of the flaws of the previous Spider-Man movies. Electro is a great villain for Spidey because it gives him a challenge other than physical strength to overcome, and Jamie Foxx plays the crap out of Electro. The special effects looked pretty amazing, especially when showcasing his spider sense. Several extra subplots and characters that seemed unnecessary were present and made the movie bloated. This caused the Green Goblin, one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, to get very little screen time and be poorly developed. Peter’s relationship with Harry Osborn is one of the most important of the comics and unfortunately it does not receive the attention needed to really flesh it out. Despite being filled with unnecessary character introductions and subplots, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great superhero story and at the very least never becomes slow or dull.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Marc Webb – Director
Alex Kurtzman – Screenplay and story
Roberto Orci – Screenplay and story
Jeff Pinkner – Screenplay and story
James Vanderbilt – Screenplay
Hans Zimmer – Composer
Pharrell Williams – Composer

Andrew Garfield – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone – Gwen Stacy
Jamie Foxx – Max Dillon/Electro
Sally Field – Aunty May
Dane DeHaan – Harry Osborn
Colm Feore – Donald Menken
Felicity Jones – Felicia
Paul Giamatti – Aleksei Sytsevich
Campbell Scott – Richard Parker
Embeth Davidtz – Mary Parker
Marton Csokas – Dr. Ashley Kafka
Louis Cancelmi – Man in Black Suit
Chris Cooper – Norman Osborn
BJ Novak – Alistair Smythe

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer #3

Official Synopsis: It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

So at this point, I think I have said everything I am going to say about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in my posts for the first and second trailers.  This trailer spends a significant amount of its time on Max Dillon and his turn to Electro, much more than the previous trailers.  I am looking forward to seeing Electro, Rhino, and a new Green Goblin on screen and recently it was confirmed B.J. Novak is playing Alistair Smythe, better known as the Ultimate Spider Slayer.  As I mentioned before in a previous post, I’m worried about the movie having too many villains.  Although I think (hope) Novak is more of a set-up for the next sequel.  One thing is for sure, Webb is definitely going big with his Spider-Man sequel.  It looks like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is shaping up to be the largest, most ambitious Spider-Man movie yet.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb, will be in theaters May 2, 2014, starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper, and B.J. Novak.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie banner

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 International Trailer #2

Official Synopsis: It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

That was fast.  The first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 only came out about a week and a half ago, now we get another international trailer.  This trailer has some new stuff mixed with some stuff from the other recent trailer.  However, this shows much more of the lightheartedness that needs to be in a Spider-Man movie.  Spider-Man is always cracking jokes, even in the middle of his fights, and I feel the movies have had difficulty capturing that aspect of him.  The Amazing Spider-Man started off laid-back, but Spidey became more serious as the movie went on.  Same with the Sam Raimi trilogy.  If the tone of this trailer continues throughout the entire film, I will be so happy.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb, will be in theaters May 2, 2014 and sees the return of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Sally Field as Aunt May, as well as introducing Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as Rhino, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 International Trailer

Official Synopsis: It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

This trailer is packed full of action, which looks amazing (pun intended).  More importantly, we get good shots of several villains, including Electro, Rhino, and the Green Goblin.  There were also glimpses of the Vulture’s wings and Doctor Octopus’s arms in an OsCorp facility about halfway through the trailer.  It looks like they are moving towards the Sinister Six, but I have mixed feelings about Sony bringing them in this early, if that is the route they are going.  As much as I want to see the Sinister Six on screen, they should be a culmination of villains introduced throughout several films, not new ones introduced that movie.  It also goes back to one of the reasons I enjoyed the first Amazing Spider-Man: a single villain.  Having too many enemies to focus on (usually) moves the focus away from the hero and their supporting cast.

In any case, I’m excited for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Any chance to see Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter and Gwen is a treat.  Finally seeing why Peter’s parents just up and left, and what was/is going on at OsCorp should be interesting.  There is more to Aunt May than meets the eye, she already looks like a much deeper character than her comic book counterpart.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb, will be in theaters May 2, 2014 and sees the return of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Sally Field as Aunt May, as well as introducing Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as Rhino, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn.