By Phillip Guy Ellis (Northampton, England)
Star – Tom Holland
Genre – Action > Comic Book
Run Time – 2 hr 13 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 3 Wins
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I think it’s fair to say the Marvel Comics have whipped DCs butt in the superhero genre on cinema grosses and entertainment value of late. You could blame Ben Affleck but it’s more than that, Superman V Batman, The Suicide Squad and the Justice League universally panned (they are not that bad). Apart from the Christian Bale, Batman movies that got the whole billion dollar comic book circus up to speed in the late 1990s as CGI matured after that dreadfully camp comic book era of the 1970s and 80s killed it stone dead as far as a cinema experience goes, the Marvel Universe has ruled. The Avengers stuff is all but bankrolling Hollywood now. The Black Panther movie should to that and some to start 2018.
The latest incarceration of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is young Tom Holland, clearly being welded into The Avengers set up for commercial and merchandising reasons.
It’s also fair to say Spider-Man has been the most messed around superhero on the Marvel roster and that hasn’t helped continuity. Toby McGuire’s Spider-Man was the reason why Marvel raced away from DC, post Batman, but we have seen three young actors playing Spider-Man in 15 years now. McGuire bailed after three really good movies because Sam Raimi dropped out, and then English actor Andrew Garfield took over with another reboot from scratch/spiderbite. He was pretty good but after two episodes he too disappeared and now we have Tom Holland (The Impossible), also English. I guess casting young British talent is simply cheaper. There was talk of a black Spider-Man to try and appeal to a worldwide audience more but even young black kids know that would not ring true to the comic books they read and why The Black Panther is so welcome. The supporting cast is quite ethnic though with Spider-Man’s sidekick being a chunky Korean kid and Peter Parkers girl being black.
Little known but talented director John Watts was entrusted with the latest reboot, which picks up from the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, minus Andrew Garfield, of course. The $800 million gross target was achieved comfortably for this one from the director of the quirky film Cop Car (2015).
Spider-Man (2002) Budget $138million – Grossed $821
Spider-Man 2 (2004) Budget $200m – Grossed – $783m
Spider-Man 3 (2007) Budget $257m – Grossed $890m
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Budget $220 – Grossed $757m
The Amazing Spider-Man 2(2014) Budget $290m – Grossed $709m
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Budget $170 million – Grossed $880 million
Following the Battle of New York that featured in The Avengers movie where Loki (Tom Hiddlestone) and his borrowed Chitauri army wrecked Manhattan, contractor Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his salvage company have won a big deal from the city to clean up the mess. But their operation is about to be taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark (Rob Downey-Junior) and the U.S. government, a lot of that debris littered with advanced alien technology they don’t want the general public to come into contact with.
Seething at being driven off the site and effectively out of business after having to overextend his company to be able to do the work, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced black-market weapons. Over the preceding years he has achieved exactly that and now selling to the Manhattan criminal underworld and making a very nice living thank you very much, creating a really cool and armored flying suit for himself in the process, The Vulture. Although he tells his buyers to be low key with the weapons so not to draw attention from Stark and the government, they don’t and the use of them in the city is beginning to be noticed by the authorities.
Across town and 15-year old orphan Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is drafted into The Avengers by Stark to learn the ropes. Stark discovered Spider-Man’s true identity in the last movie and wants to nurture him. The kid has resumed his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology by day and some local small time crime busting by night. Stark doesn’t think he is quite ready to become a full Avenger and so little Peter Parker seeking out tougher crime fighting to prove he can make the A-Team.
The following night, out looking for trouble in the city, Parker discovers Toomes’ partners in crime Jackson Brice / Shocker (Logan Marshall-Green) and Herman Schultz (Bokeem Woodbine) demonstrating weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis (Donald Glover) chasing a sale. Parker rescues Davis before being caught by Toomes and dropped in a lake, nearly drowning after becoming tangled in a parachute built into his new cool Spider-Man suit he ‘borrowed’ from Starks lab. Rescued by Stark at the last – who is monitoring the missing Spider-Man suit – he warns the kid against further involvement with the big league criminals as he is clearly not ready yet.
It’s good fun but just lacks something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Holland is perfectly fine as Peter Parker but there is not much signature swinging through the skyscrapers or exciting villains here. Electro was fantastic in the early films but the villain here rather dull. It’s almost like they are trying to tie in The Avengers with Spider-Man to absorb him so not to make anymore Spider-Man movies.
It’s rather too politically correct on the mixed race cast to sell to the South East Asian and African domains and so feels forced in places. Having a lot of Tony Stark in the film sees Rob Downey Junior takeover some bits and make it feel more like those Avenger movies. It also loses more identity and some of its mystique as most of the various characters in the movie seem to know Peter Parker is Spider-Man. The whole point of these films is people don’t know who the superheroes are.
I like that there is no messing around with another genesis story here though and you have to imagine Spider-Man ‘is’ and that Garfield and Maguire never existed in the Marvel Universe although a chance missed there for a fun in-joke or two. Michael Keaton played Batman, of course, so clearly room for it. Stan Lee gets his perfunctory cameo. The humor is there but not as dry and rapid as the Thor stuff.
I enjoyed it enough and Michael Keaton makes for a menacing villain although not so sure about a 25-year-old playing a 15-year-old Peter Parker. It’s the worse of the Spider-Man films for me although it doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s just an OK movie and we know Marvel have not been known for OK movies. Maybe because I have to judge it against the far superior Avengers, Captain America and Thor movies I should cut it some slack but could do better.
Imdb.com –7.6/10.0 (236,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 92% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 72% critic’s approval