I’ve had the privilege of getting to watch more movies than usual this summer. I haven’t reviewed all of them, as I’m not a professional—or even amateur—movie reviewer. Wonder Woman was my favorite of those that I’d watched. Last night, I watched Spider-Man: Homecoming. Spidey has been my favorite super hero since I was in the third grade. So, you might ask if this movie dethroned Diana’s film.
I’m going to break this down into things that I liked and didn’t like. Kind of like a “pros” and “cons” list, understanding that what I don’t like, some others may not mind.
THINGS THAT I LIKED:
The prior two Spider-man actors each nailed one aspect of the character. Tobey Maguire was a perfect Peter Parker. He nailed the nerdy Parker perfectly. When he put the mask on, however, he just couldn’t manage to be Spider-man. Garfield was the other way around. He nailed the humor that defines Spidey perfectly. But his Peter was too “cool”. Tom Holland manages both parts very well. The geekiness, from Peter’s incredible intelligence to the geekiness of helping to put together a Lego Death star, is shown awesomely. Spidey’s humor is there, nailed in particular when he interrupts the ATM heist.
Seeing Spider-man involved in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe was a treat, and Iron Man’s inclusion played an important part. As much as I hated how much Peter idolized Tony Stark in Civil War, this movie went a long way toward correcting that.
Peter’s relationship with his Aunt May was heartwarming. While it didn’t mention Uncle Ben, it paid lip-service to the death when he tells his friend that, with everything else that his Aunt has gone through lately, he can’t put her through the pain of revealing his identity as Spider-man to her.
We also see, in more than one case, how being Spider-Man screws up his social life, affecting school and his time with the pretty girl.
THINGS THAT I DIDN’T LIKE
To start, everyone was spouting off about how this movie did such a great job of including minorities. I’m not racist. I think that having minority super heroes is a great thing. Falcon rocks. Black Panther is awesome. If you made either of them white, there would be heck to pay. Granted, they didn’t make Peter a different race but they made Liz, MJ (see below), and even Flash Thompson a minority. If you want to include more minorities in the movie, create new characters for them, like Peter’s friend, Ned.
Flash Thompson is supposed to be the jock who torments Peter for being a nerd. Here, he’s presented as Peter’s intellectual rival and it just doesn’t work. Further, making him a minority actually kind of defeats what the filmmakers were trying to do. “Hey, let’s make the mean bully a different race!”
They made Liz Allan the daughter of the Vulture because . . . plot, I guess? Ugh.
Zendaya plays Michelle, who really has not reason to be there, other than being a total downer in the movie and to make an obscene gesture at Peter for no apparent reason. On top of that, she tells us at the end of the movie that her friends call her “MJ,” leading us to the conclusion that, while her first name is not Mary, she is going to fill the role of Mary Jane in the MCU. Another UGH. MJ is lively, playful and passionate. Michelle is none of these things. If she were removed from the movie, you wouldn’t even miss her.
The movie had way more adult language than any of the prior Spidey films; compounded by the fact that some of it comes from the Web-head, himself. There is a joke about Ned telling a librarian that he’s looking at internet porn. Tony makes a flirty comment about Aunt May, inappropriate because it’s right in front of Peter.
The new suit was . . . well, a plot device. It looks close enough to the original to appeal to those of us who are old fans. But making it almost a clone of the Iron Man suit (minus the invulnerability) felt really out of place. The talking computer, to whom he gave the name of Karen, had a pleasant enough voice. But Peter being a financially-struggling super hero is one of the staples of the character and all of the tech in the suit kind of worked against this. How many web shooter combinations did she say that he had? Hmmm . . ..
To answer my question about whether this movie dethroned Wonder Woman, I enjoyed watching this movie. I really did. I would probably put it somewhere below the first two Raimi movies and just above the two Webb movies (and WAAAY above the third Raimi movie). But I question many of the decisions that they made. So WW remains my favorite of the summer.