“Spider-Man: Homecoming”, A Bullet Point Review

– I cannot praise Tom Holland’s Spider-Man enough. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. It was honestly my favorite live action portrayal of a superhero EVER, even more than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. What an incredible performance.

– The score is absolutely awesome. Michael Giacchinno actually reworks the original, iconic Spider-Man theme as the main theme of the movie, to fantastic effect.

– “Homecoming” sort of feels like two movies smushed together, one very, very awesome movie and one that’s kind of “meh”. There’s the superhero movie about a young Peter Parker who wants to gain the respect of Tony Stark and become an Avenger, but who still hasn’t really gotten this whole “hero” thing yet, and makes a lot of mistakes. That movie is fantastic! It’s the best Spider-Man movie yet, even better than the awesome Toby McGuire starring “Spider-Man 2”!

…And then there was the sort of meh teen drama going on with Peter. It was…adequate. Okay. A thing. It did the job in humanizing Peter, but beyond that it didn’t really add anything. For a few reasons…

– This was a movie that had Spider-Man surrounded by a bunch of characters who never appeared in the comics before but shared the same names. We had Flash Thompson, who looked and acted nothing like Flash but shared his name, Ned, who was apparently an Ultimate Spider-Man character who never actually had anything to do with Peter Parker, Aunt May as Marisa Tomei, who, what, Liz Allen, a minor character that like 5 people remembered from a short-lived television show, and MJ, a character who is actually a character about as close to the polar opposite of comic book MJ as you could possibly get. Even the Vulture isn’t anything like comic Vulture, but as he’s much more awesome I’ll let it slide.

There is something very, very weird about somebody making an adaptation of something and then not just not using the source material but perverting it into something completely different. SJW’s seem prone to this, leading me to…

– I stand by something I said on this site previously. “Homecoming” was not itself an SJW movie, but it was an envelope pusher. Marvel is testing its limits. Expect the movies to trend more and more leftward the years to come.

– Zendaya’s character is the absolute worst, and that she is supposed to be MJ is a travesty. Just throwing that one out there. Spit in John Romita Jr.’s eye, why don’t you.

– ALL OF THIS SAID – When “Homecoming” is good, it is really, REALLY good. The best thing about the MCU, that the DCEU was missing up until “Wonder Woman”, is that it understands why people love superheroes, and why people love these characters, and it gives people what they want. This movie is packed with insanely cool imagery – Spider-Man climbing up the Washington Monument, Spider-Man rising from the rubble through sheer willpower to rejoin the fight, Spider-Man running into towering flames to rescue a man, Spider-Man attempting to hold a cruise ship together singlehandedly. The Vulture, one of comics’ lamest villains, gets a huge and awesome upgrade here.

And it has those stand-up-and-cheer moments that the MCU is so good at, too. Spider-Man’s character development is expertly handled and immensely satisfying to watch. And even that “meh” half of the film is anchored by Tom Holland’s outstanding performance as Peter Parker.

– Did I mention how great Tom Holland was? So, so great. What a terrific performance, and a terrific portrayal of the character.

OVERALL: Recommended. Probably not up with the very best of the MCU, but it was money very well spent to see it in theaters.

  • Great review! But I have a question: Did J. J. Jameson appear in the film and, if so was he a she? I heard that idea floated around on the ‘Net ages ago and I nearly threw up.

    This and the other (minor) problems you mentioned in Homecoming are some of the reasons why I don’t think I’ll be able to watch too many more Marvel films after the fourth Avengers’ movie. If they make a good Black Widow film and a good solo Hawkeye movie, I might watch them. But to keep me interested in the Avengers, they need these two characters AND Cap, Thor, Hulk, and as many of the others as they can keep. It really won’t be the Avengers without Steve Rogers.

    Thanks again for the review!

  • I actually didn’t care to see this movie until I heard Daddy Warpig’s review on Geek Gab. His recommendation is what made me decide to see it. And it was far better than I thought it would be as well. But I completely agree. Zendaya’s character sucked! And it worried me because here we have this character who is spouting all sorts of SJW bull crap. It makes me wonder whether the MCU will be moving into that direction. if it does, it can kiss my money goodbye.

    It’s really annoying because, while they get Peter Parker/Spiderman very very right, the other characters really are completely different characters with the same name. Flash was, besides “MJ”, the most grievous. Flash is supposed to be a total jock/bully kind of guy. Instead, we get a kind of popular kid who really really wants to be on the math team (or whatever kind of academic team that was)? Seriously? They were were trying to check off the diversity boxes and the film did suffer for it.

    • Nate Winchester

      Yeah, part of the deal with Flash is that Peter could have always beaten him up but had to take the bullying to keep his secret in a high-school style of martyrdom. But with this new Flash, there’s nothing Peter can really do about it.

      Also as I saw someone else put it: the writing spares Peter from consequences (save for the school dance segment, which is the best and most true to the comic bit there is), when historically the story was always about piling onto the poor guy.

      • Bellomy

        I disagree with that criticism. The whole movie was about Peter trying to keep both halves of his life together, and his grip is getting more and more tenuous as the movie goes on. It finally snaps in the school dance sequence (which was indeed a terrific moment).

        • Nate Winchester

          Traditionally with Spider-man the writers pile on with him.

          So, for example with HC. In the traditional style, Peter would have left the academic club thing to probably go save people in the Washington Monument, only to miss the competition as he did so and the club lose the contest because of a question that was his specialty. Then everybody would be disappointed that the WM was closed (because of the earlier antics) meaning everybody’s extra annoyed and takes it out on Peter when he sneaks back into the group.

          From the other direction: Green Goblin learns of Spider-man’s identity, and kills his girlfriend. In this, Green-Goblin 2.0 learns of Spidey’s identity, but the girlfriend this time happens to be GG2’s daughter so obviously we won’t be having any showdowns on the bridge this time.

          Yeah, tension is there in HC, but it’s like… a 4 on the scale. Historically, Spider-man’s life was a 9-10 on the anguish scale (arguably exceeded only by Daredevil). This is coddled Peter Parker, not Sisyphus Peter Parker.

          • Bellomy

            Ehhhhhh I think you’re really stretching here. The tension of the story is that Peter’s personal life erodes throughout the film, just more slowly than normal. At the end he quite literally drives his crush away after a second abandonment.

          • Nate Winchester

            Yeah, if you’re doing a 13-24 episode TV show, you can have something happen slowly. In a single movie… not as much.

            And it’s just endemic of SJW style writing. Protagonists always have to be coddled. If things are about to go wrong, the writer spares them so the consequences are minor. They didn’t have to do the origin story, but like one YouTuber pointed out, the tone of the film makes it seem like Peter wasn’t that guilty in Uncle Ben’s death.

            I think you’ve proved this guy’s point. 😉

            Who will like this film?
            Audiences that aren’t into the comics and just watch the films. They won’t know enough about Peter Parker and Spider-Man to really understand how badly this all missed the mark.

          • Bellomy

            Maybe; I think a lot of this is get-off-my-lawn grumpiness. The SJWism to me seemed more focused on the supporting cast.

            I don’t want to maake excuses either, I’m just saying I fon’t see that specific issue.

            That said, good as this film was Spider-Man 2 is still the gold standard for Spidey films.

          • Nate Winchester

            SJWism is like the sorties paradox. You’ll never be able to say, “remove only this and it’s fine, add only this and it’s SJWish.” They’ll always advance by tiny steps first.

            This isn’t an invitation to go off the deep end and decry even the slightest appearance of a black person but one to just be aware of how they always conquer by inches.

            That said, good as this film was Spider-Man 2 is still the gold standard for Spidey films.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/93cafe8a0788c9cd35cb1ec585f657799f31296e82d8114143de02562c10947f.jpg

  • DeclanFinn

    Just tell me it was better than Ant-Man.

    • Bellomy

      Bah. You Ant-Man bashers. That was a good movie!

      …But it is better, yes.

  • Nate Winchester

    Because I gotta be that guy…

    Liz Allen, a minor character that like 5 people remembered from a short-lived television show,

    NOOOOOOPE! Well ok, maybe. But Liz Allen was from the comics.
    http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/WhyYouMaryJane/WhyYouMaryJanePart1.html

    And then there was Liz Allan, alternatively referred to as the “blond boy stealer,” or the “blond bandit” by the ever self-conscience and insecure Ms. Brant. Peter was attracted to Liz, who seemed interested in him, but kept giving him mixed signals. Whether Liz’s behavior was out of genuine interest, or just to drive Flash Thompson crazy, neither we nor Peter really knew until issue #28, the high school graduation issue, when Liz admitted to Peter that she did indeed have a crush on him, and he had blown his chance with her. Interestingly, one of the bones of contention between Flash and Peter (which was actually addressed many years later, in Web of Spider-Man #12 (March 1986)), was that Flash, although crazy about Liz himself, did not resent Peter solely because he was a potential romantic rival for Liz’s affections, but also for the insensitive ways he seemed to blow her off when she, in his mind, “threw herself” at him. It made it easier for Flash to justify his bullying of Peter because, well, Peter did seem to act like an arrogant, elitist jerk at times.

    Actually that and this article probably tell you more about Peter’s love life than you ever wanted to know. lol

    Even the Vulture isn’t anything like comic Vulture, but as he’s much more awesome I’ll let it slide.

    Agreed. But then I heard the substandard podcast point out that all the movie really did was take the Green Goblin storyline and graft it onto the Vulture. Now they’ve done JUST enough to differentiate them so far but I’m curious how that’s going to be maintained and if they then have Liz adopt the Vulture identity to get back at Peter… then they’ve just confirmed their creative bankruptcy. We’ll see, a lot of things are up in the air.

    And I’m still not sure how much I like the Spider-man fanboism of Iron Man and him having a fancy suit. I heard someone else say this was less a peter parker movie and more a miles morales movie and I’m starting to see that.

    • Bellomy

      NOOOOOOPE! Well ok, maybe. But Liz Allen was from the comics.

      Fair enough, but I still say that the only reason the majority of Spider-Man fans have heard of her is from that show.

      I heard someone else say this was less a peter parker movie and more a miles morales movie and I’m starting to see that.

      You can see it in the supporting cast but there’s no question that Peter Parker is very much Peter Parker. It’s the biggest reason the movie works so well.

    • Bellomy

      I liked the Iron Man fanboy thing; a lot of people criticized but it worked very well narratively.

      Brian Niemeier pointed out, correctly, that Peter Parker’s real idol would be Cap more than Iron Man, but that’s actually kind of the point, I think. He originally stands for the sorts of values Cap embodied, but the taste of fame and power that Iron Man gave him went to his head. The movie was basically about him remembering why he became Spider-Man in the first place, which is why it ends with him rejecting the offer to become an Avenger.

      • Nate Winchester

        Also Cap is usually from the same area of New York for Peter.

        It was part of the argument behind-the-scenes of the comic civil war over which side Spider-man should be in. They ended up having him start on Tony’s then go to Steve’s. A good write up on the story.