Imagine John Hughes wrote Spider-Man for millennials
Directed by: Jon Watts
Written by: A bunch of people!
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau
Swift shot: I am a huge fan of Spider-Man, at least the comics from the early ’80s and the ’60s cartoons, and this so-called homecoming was more like a millennial coming out party with some really contrived new characters and way too much Happy Hogan (Favreau). While it is a fun and funny film, because there was so little gravitas, it was hard as an adult to really connect with this Jon Watts directed rebirth. How this movie warranted a PG-13 rating is beyond me!
Peter Parker (Holland) is just fifteen years old, and when we are introduced to him, his origin story is never revealed. I guess the theory is that we all know his origin story, so let’s not get into that unpleasantness, let’s just focus on his Tony Stark internship . . . a running joke that gets old about the second time you hear it mentioned. And speaking of jokes, Spider-Man: Homecoming could practically stand alone as a teen angst John Hughes comedy. To be fair, comedy has always been a big reason why I like Spider-Man, he is a wise ass, and he constantly pelts the bad guys with one-liners as they fail to ever really land a solid shot on him. Like an annoying arachnid that you just can’t ever squash.
When we first got a glimpse of Spider-Man, he was thrust into a civil war within the Avengers, and Homecoming starts right where that epic throw-down left off. But, Tony doesn’t want to let Spider-Man get too big for his britches, so his new and improved suit has a protocol that prevents him from unlocking the ultimate toys. Tony is trying to give Peter the discipline he has always lacked, but much like Tony, Peter likes to do things on his own terms, and being a teenager just adds to that rebellious nature.
Meanwhile, Tony’s running amok and being partially responsible for the destruction of New York City has led to some new super villains that managed to pilfer alien technology and tinker around enough to create super weapons that prove problematic for our favorite web-slinger to handle alone. Their leader is the Vulture, though I don’t think he is ever called that in the film. Played by Michael Keaton, he adds a sinister matter-of-fact ruthlessness to the character. Of course, Keaton is phenomenal, and his band of miscreants hold their own. We meet some classic Spider-Man baddies in Homecoming, but again, other than the Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine), their villain names aren’t divulged.
All you need to know about the plot is that Vulture is planning a big alien weapons heist that Spider-Man is trying to thwart with the help of his friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon) while defying Tony’s orders to do just that. Also, Peter is on one of those knowledge bowl teams at his high school. Did I mention that Flash (Tony Revolori) is also on that team, along with an artsy-fartsy loner girl, Michelle (Zendaya). While Peter is trying to save the world, or at least his city, he’s also trying to gain the affections of one of his other teammates, Liz (Laura Harrier) who Peter manages to disappoint so many times in the film, I lost count.
So, what you get is a film about a kid trying to find himself in the world of high school and crime fighting, all the while trying to conceal his identity from his family and friends and as with most super-heroes, he learns there are real sacrifices involved with being a super hero.
What was awesome about the film was the action and all the sequences where Spidey interacts with his suit, who of course actually speaks to him, and he dubs her Karen (Jennifer Connelly). I enjoyed the one-liners and people at my screening were laughing like it was a classic cult comedy already. Points for that aspect.
What I really didn’t like was the contrived shoehorning of characters to appeal to today’s millennial demographics. And when you really get to the core of the film, there isn’t much going on apart from teenage angst. Is this really Spider-Man? I guess this is the new generation’s Spidey, he’s not really any Spider-Man that I recognize. Be honest with yourself, is this your Spider-Man?