While I’ve always been more of a DC fan than a Marvel fan, there are some Marvel heroes I like and grew up with. Spider-Man is one of them. I grew up with the 60s cartoon thanks to reruns and Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends was one of my Saturday morning staples. I also used to watch USA Network’s Thanksgiving marathon of the live-action series with Nicholas Hammond. Also one of my first comics was a Spider-Man comic, just not the best one to come in on. I do enjoy a good Spider-Man story.
I haven’t seen the Spider-Man movies from Sony that people are often down on, the studio-interfering Spider-Man 3 and the two Amazing Spider-Man movies, and I can’t get to the theater to watch Into The Spider-Verse but I’ve heard good things about it. I did finally get to see Spider-Man: Homecoming, the long-awaited debut of the web-head into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Sony still holds the license on the Spider corner of the Marvel multiverse they decided to partner with Marvel Studios so fans can finally see Marvel’s original flagship character in the continuity he belongs in. The question is how well did the transfer go? Well, since I reviewed the trailer for the sequel earlier this week it seemed right to review the movie at the end of it.
RELEASE DATE: 2017
RELEASED BY: Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures
RUNTIME: 2 hours, 13 minutes
STARRING: Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.
SCREENWRITERS: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, & Erik Sommers
DIRECTOR: Jon Watts
GROSS INCOME: $880,166,924 out of an estimated budget of $175,000,000
The Plot: Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter is trying to readjust to normal life while waiting for his next mission. However, his contact, Happy, is not…happy about being Spider-Man’s “babysitter” as he’s preparing the move from Avengers Tower to the new facility. So when Spidey gets caught up in a ring of stolen weapons based on alien tech he’s in over his head. Adrian Toomes (Keaton) just wants to provide for his family but eight years ago when his company was destroyed after the government took over the salvage of the battle from the first Avengers movie he was broke. Selling the weapons is the only way to feed his family, which includes someone Peter wants to get close to, and if it means stealing to do it, he’s more than willing. Can Spider-Man choose between his dream girl and his superhero identity?
Why did I want to see it?: I’m a big fan of Spider-Man. I grew up with at least two animated versions and remembered watching USA Network’s Thanksgiving marathons of the live-action series. (We didn’t have Comedy Central and I was the only kid at the Thanksgiving gettogethers. I had to watch something, and I actually like the live-action series.) I think we all were curious how they would bring Spidey into the MCU and since I avoided Civil War because anything with “Marvel” and “Civil War” just unnerves me this was my first chance. (Seriously, if Marvel comics did a story set during the historical “War Between The States” I couldn’t read it.)
What did I think?: Of course we have to start with adaptation, and there are so many mistakes with Spider-Lore that you have to wonder if the writers and director have ever seen a Spider-Man comic or TV show. Ned Leeds, Betty Brant, and Flash Thompson barely match their former selves (Ned and Betty never went to school with them as they were already adults), Aunt May is so off the mark it’s sad, Vulture is an interesting villain and not too bad a take but Shocker they got wrong, and “MJ” doesn’t stand for Mary Jane. So much for all those misplaced worries about Zendaya playing her. She’s not even the love interest.
But then you Peter and this may be the most accurate Spider-Man in live-action ever. He gets the one-liners, he learns how to be responsible, he has the personality you’d expect and it’s close enough to the Peter Parker I know that I can forgive the minor alterations because of that fresh take argument I’m sure someone wants to toss at me for the previous paragraph. Tom Holland gets this role and plays it perfectly.
I can’t really complain about anything from a technical side though. The other actors do play their parts perfectly. It’s the writing that keeps them from being their true comic personas. I do like Ned, and have always pushed for Spider-Man to get a back-up supporting cast that helps him in his superhero stuff; it’s one of the defenses I have for the actual MJ, Mary Jane Parker. (Yes, I’m pro Spider-Marriage.) Zendaya’s Michelle is a fun character to watch although I’m not sure I could hang out with her. May is a decent character, just not Aunt May. Toomes/Vulture isn’t a bad incarnation and works for the MCU. And the story is also very good. It’s only as an adaptation that it fails. I also hope “Karen/Suit Lady” shows up in future appearances.
The story is also very good. It’s fun when it needs to be and serious when it needs to be. Peter knows how to be Spider-Man but Spider-Man has to learn how to be a hero and Tony and Happy need to learn to show him how to do that. You understand their frustrations with each other and it makes a logical sense but they all have a lot to learn about each other to make a better Spider-Man. It’s obvious to the audience that Peter is right but he’s also wrong on other things, which balances it out. The action is amazing, the characters are fun, and outside of a few scenes that I cringed at only because I’m me, I can’t complain about anything as a whole.
Was it worth the wait?: I did enjoy the movie. Holland is a great Peter/Spidey. It’s the rest of the characters that are good characters but terrible adaptations, but overall the story is a fun superhero movie. I’m glad I saw it and I hope this partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony allows this Spider-Man to stay part of the MCU because it just feels right. A little more work and it could feel like Spider-Man, but seeing what I’m given from DC I’ll take what I can while still hoping for more.