By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)
Marvel sharing the rights of Spider-Man with Sony evidently paid off from the positive reviews from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Being able to witness two studios coming together to do a beloved comic character justice is a childhood dream come through. So far movie-goers have been treated with two incarnations of Spider-Man, the film with Tobey Maguire and the other with Andrew Garfield. In my opinion, the latest incarnation of the film pays tribute to these two Spider-Man films by merging the wits and brawn of Spider-Man in this latest film which stars Tom Holland.
Director Jon Watts has managed to develop the character fully together with producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal in staying true to the comic book iteration of Spider-Man which shows a young Peter Parker who grows up through high school into the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
The film takes place after the events of the first Avengers film which is the Battle of New York and due to the extensive damage that the invasion of the Chitauri, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his associates are helping to salvage the alien weaponry and assisting with the clean-up. However, Tony Stark and the government steps in to form the Department of Damage Control which puts Adrian and his associates out of business as they have strict orders to hand over the alien technology or risk being prosecuted.
This angers Adrian and his associates as they are doing this in order to get stable incomes to support their own families. Refusing to take this lying down, Adrian assumes the identity of the Vulture and his associates assumes the role of Shocker. These two are villains that have antagonized Spider-Man time and time again. The Vulture uses stolen alien technology to upgrade his suit, while Shocker has gauntlets which are reminiscence to that worn by Crossbones in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The storyline is very solid as both main and minor characters are given specific roles to play and they do play them well. Tom Holland does a spectacular job of interchanging personalities between playing Peter Parker and Spider-Man. However, I felt that during the plane fight scene with the Vulture, the special effects overwhelms the action in the scene that I had a hard time differentiating the movement of the characters. Though the film showed that anyone could fit in into the role of a villain, it left the character of Shocker vastly underutilized as I was hoping to see a team-up of some sorts between Vulture and Shocker in taking Spider-Man or Iron Man down for taking their jobs away.
I am glad that Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) made a return in this film which helps join the film and to ensure continuity in terms of plot and character development. The dialogue and banter between the characters were very well done and thought out as each statement they made had either a tongue in cheek response or was simply funny to begin with. We get to see many Easter eggs thrown in for good measure such as the cameo of Stan Lee, image of Electro on Peter’s T-Shirt (flashback to the Amazing Spider-Man 2), the scene where Spider-Man was holding the sinking ship together (Spider-Man 2), Captain America’s motivational videos, the mention of Slovakia’s Accords, the Avengers and even remnants of Ultron’s head.
I felt that they made Spider-Man more relatable in today’s context and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) had a greater presence in this film, but I hope that in the sequel, she plays a more motherly role in helping Peter realise his responsibility of being a hero (she now knows his real identity as Spider-Man). Towards the end of the scene, we get to see an interaction between with Adrian and Gargan which is actually alluding to a potential collaboration between the Vulture and Scorpion (Gargan’s neck has a scorpion tattoo). Hopefully, it sets up a Sinister Six plot with the introduction of Shocker and Tinkerer (Michael Chernus) who will have larger roles in the upcoming sequel.
The soundtrack does fit into the film very nicely with the Spider-Man and Avengers theme being played at certain scenes. It is a nice touch in paying tribute to those that were involved in creating these characters in the first place.
Spider-man: Homecoming does open many opportunities for more captivating stories to be used, more rogues to be use and many characters such as Peter Parker’s friends who will play a more integral role such as the introduction of Michelle “MJ” Jones which could symbolise MJ as in Mary Jane, Peter’s love interest in the comics. With the new AI suit, the goal is for Peter to wear that variation of Tony Stark’s suit in the showcase as it looks more advanced and we could see it show up in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War film. I would like Tony to interact more with Peter as he is a good father/mentor figure since we do not get to see the death of Uncle Ben flashbacks like those in the previous two films.
Definitely a much recommended and must watch film for both new and old superhero movie-goers! It makes me excited for the next phase of Marvel’s films and it has been implied that Spider-man will be the one that will lead the Avengers forward after Infinity War – so we will just have to wait for more adventures and a shared universe with Spider-Man and more so since the Venom standalone film is in production at Sony Pictures.
[secretly filming the Avengers about to fight in the airport]
Peter Parker: There’s Captain America, there’s Iron Man. Whoa, look at that new guy, who’s that?
[we hear Stark calling out for Peter]
Tony Stark: Underoos!
Peter Parker: That’s my queue, I got to go.
[continuing to film himself as the Avengers are fighting at the airport]
Peter Parker: I can’t fight with Captain America, and I stole his shield and I threw it at him…
[just then we see Ant-Man make himself big behind Peter]
Peter Parker: What the hell? He’s big now, I got to go.