Out of all of the MCU films to have come out in the last decade, there is perhaps one that I’ve been reeling to watch most of all, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Although the first superhero that I was really introduced to in life was Superman, which I also love, Spider-Man has always been my all-time favorite hero when done right. So love it or hate it, I had to see this movie…and I was worried that it would be the first MCU movie I wouldn’t see in the theater as well as first Spider-Man movie I would have to wait to see, as well. Saving to be a homeowner sometimes means sacrificing a few things that aren’t necessary. That being said, my good friend, Rob, from HalfPoppedReviews.com helped out and sent me a gift card to my theater, which I’m eternally grateful. Make sure you head to his site and sign up – he gathers scores from a bunch of critic bloggers like myself and puts them all together – sort of like RottenTomatoes, but for the little guys, I guess you can call it. Let’s talk Spidey.
“Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.” (IMDb)
I love Spider-Man, if done right – that’s what I said earlier, and this is probably the best version of Spider-Man and Peter Parker that I’ve ever seen. I was a huge fan of Toby Maguires’s Peter Parker, liked the suit, but his Spidey wasn’t perfect. I liked Garfield’s Spider-Man, but his Parker wasn’t perfect. Tom Holland is more like the real deal. He’s awkward, relatable, has real teenage problems, and that completely translates for when he’s in the suit. While he has more confidence, he’s still awkward and always working on improvements. He is, after all, a 15-year-old, and as a 15-year-old, he hasn’t figured everything out yet, and I truly appreciate that. For this slightly doubles as a coming-of-age tale, hence the humorous posters made to look like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueler’s Day Off.
Another thing you’ll notice is that compared to the rest of the MCU films, this movie is so refreshing. We have had a build-up of characters in the other films, which meant a more divided focus on each of them, which ultimately means the movies are getting really convoluted and I fear for Infinity War, because we just know that that movie has every potential to be a cluster of convolution. Spider-Man: Homecoming felt fresh and clear. Heck, it had more known villains than the Vulture, but the movie didn’t even divide focus when it came to them, either – this film really did know the pace that it wanted to go, and I highly appreciate it.
The one complaint I have is probably a little bit in the villains category, but it’s only a small complaint, which I’ll go over in the specialty category in a moment. For now, let’s go ahead and break this Spidey film down and interpret the stars.
PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2 |Chemistry – 2
First up is probably the most important category that I can think of with Spider-Man. Every movie gets close with one aspect but doesn’t ever get anything perfect – and I’m pretty sure Spider-Man: Homecoming got this category perfectly. The acting showcases a lot of range coming out of each character, including a surprising amount from Holland himself. I was unsure if this kid could handle it, but he definitely did. As far as characters are concerned, this was a pretty colorful and diverse film with plenty of characters that you won’t have a hard time remembering – including some random characters you’ve never heard of before – Like Michelle, who was just an awesome character in general. At this point, I’m confident in the casting to say no one else could’ve filled these roles for this film but who we got right here. Each person has a reason to be there and adds just a little bit here and there to the plot, making it a very complete narrative. Finally, I would say the chemistry was fantastic. The only time I sensed a lack of chemistry was between Parker and Liz, but I’m starting to think that was part of the point. This category was absolutely perfect.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 1|Balance – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing score, which also did nearly perfect. I just wouldn’t call the film very dialogue important. It has some one-liners here and there, but they don’t leave a hugely lasting impression. On the other hand, everything else worked out well here. As I’ve said before, this was a breath of fresh air compared to the other MCU films up to this point, it is incredibly well paced and balanced, it even makes a point to keep things on point and moving. The story itself felt like a Spider-Man story, but it also serves as a very good coming-of-age film, as Peter has to learn how to come-to-age as a hero, and what that means for his home life versus hero age. It’s a pretty fresh take on Spider-Man, as we completely skipped the origin mess we’ve seen a million times over and gave us an alternative introduction to the man that can do whatever a spider can. Finally, is it interesting? It’s….Spider-Man….what do you think?
BTS SCORE – 9/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Next, we look at the things going on behind-the-scenes, which for the films in this universe, are usually noticeably pretty great. As per usual, the visuals were top notch, and while they are sometimes unnecessary, ie, the electronic part of the suit, it’s still fun to watch. Both the directing and editing had multiple scenes in the film that were noticeably impressive. Numerous scenes that were no-doubt entirely CGI, were done very well, and if you watch it in 3D, incredibly impressive when it came to 3D depth. I consider it a very as-advertised film, but this is one of the few MCU films that didn’t really impress me with the musical score – it sounded like rehashed music from an Avengers film. Good, but nothing I’ve never heard before.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
The narrative structure of Spider-Man: Homecoming was pretty much solid, and there’s really nothing I have to complain about. The introduction does a good job at reminding us at what happened in Civil War, and what that means for the rest of the film. The inciting incident is clearly when Spider-Man runs into the bad guys of the film, which are basically illegal arms dealers selling alien-made weapons. The obstacles weren’t hard to find, either, as this is a Superhero film, but there were equal obstacles to be found in Peter’s own life, as well. The climax was a pretty decent culmination of everything added up to that point, and it does return to a new norm by the end, making for a perfect narrative arc.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 9/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 2|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks you in – 2
Not only is this one of my highest rated films of the year, it’s also one of the most entertaining films of the year – and it’s not common that an entertainment score gets this high of a rating unless I’m in the theater subconsciously smiling really wide from beginning to end, as that’s pretty much what happened here. It is very rewatchable, just as most MCU films are, it was a lot of fun in general, definitely sucks you in without fault, and yes – I would love to buy this film as it is. Do I have an impulse to talk about it? I would say a little bit, but it wasn’t one of those films that blow you away to the point where you need to tell others about it, either.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 45/50
Spider-Man – 10|Superhero – 10|MCU – 10|Super-Villain – 5|Halfway Decent – 10
Here are the five things that I needed to know before I watched the movie. This is a Spider-Man film, and they have a few of those out, now, so how did this one compare? Very well. Like I said, I’m pretty sure this is probably the best mixture of both Parker’s persona combined with Spider-Man’s, and it’s a pretty good performance in both aspects. As a superhero film, does it add anything to a very widely done subject? Yes, the age of Peter Parker definitely adds a very good perspective to things in comparison to the rest of the MCU universe, and even so, you know it fits in perfectly because of the influence put in there with Tony Stark and Happy. The next thing I want to know with basically any villain is, who was it, and how was their performance? Knowing Spider-Man, I have different expectations of villains, and I know the Vulture, yet…I didn’t fully feel as if this were the Vulture. In the comics, there was one time where the Vulture sucked the youth out of people temporarily, and that same concept was revisited multiple times in the cartoon series. For me, that was the entire “schtick” of the Vulture, and he does not suck the youth out of anyone in this film. I know that’s not what the Vulture was all about, but it did differentiate him from other villains in the MCU, which I did think was important. Would a Superman movie be Superman without the flight? I guess…but it might be a little disappointing, too….trust me…after 10 seasons of Smallville, you do get a little aggravated that they take their sweet time with it. So I had to give this half points because I did expect much more from the Vulture. What we got wasn’t too entirely unique from say, Iron Man (2008)’s villain, who flew around in a metal suit selling illegal arms deals to bad people too. Finally, was it halfway decent? I don’t want to waste your time any longer than I already have, so YES!