Title: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Studio: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
Director: Jon Watts
Release Format: Theatrical
There has been many attempts to create a series out of our favorite web-slinging superhero, Spider-Man. Sam Raimi had his original trilogy and Marc Webb didn’t even get to finish his. However, despite what most people would say about The Amazing Spider-Man films, I personally love them. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was simply a victim of bad marketing that made the movie out to be something it wasn’t. It was a drama surrounding the Spider-Man character, marketed as a balls-to-the-wall villain team-up movie. Obviously, that not the case and left many fans enraged. Furthermore, it resulted in the film receiving the lowest box-office take of any other film in the franchise. Yeah, it made almost $600 million in profit AFTER making its budget back but Sony still considered this a failure. Explain that one.
Long story short, Sony lost their balls and decided to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios, prematurely ending The Amazing Spider-Man film series. This annoyed me, not just because of my liking for that particular series, but because Sony had a pretty easy out. You see, Sony had been planning a ton of spinoff movies. Here’s an idea Sony: How about just making The Amazing Spider-Man 3 into The Sinister Six film you were planning? You’d been building it up for two films anyway so wouldn’t that have been the most logical solution? But, whatever, it doesn’t matter because Marvel Studios regained control of the character, much to the delight of many fanboys (just not this one).
Thus, because of all of this, we now have Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a Spider-Man, introduced to us in Captain America: Civil War. While Spider-Man had absolutely NO purpose in Captain America: Civil War (other than to fight at an airport), Tom Holland did an admiral job as the character. I still preferred Andrew Garfield but I enjoyed Holland enough to see what he could do. While the trailers and marketing did nothing to really hype me for the film, I was still optimistic. I avoided all the reviews of the film on youtube and wanted to go in as blind as possible. Well, I saw it tonight and I can honestly say that I can’t recall the last time I left a theater that pissed off at the world.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the absolute WORST Spider-Man movie in existence and you need to know it. I didn’t bother to check if anyone on the site else had called dibs for reviewing this film or not. Why? Because, at this point, I honestly don’t care. The MCU needs to be held accountable when they make terrible movies (Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World) and Spider-Man: Homecoming is no exception. Yes, they often make great movies. They floored me a few months ago with Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. That film had a ton of heart, great storytelling and the most emotional ending of any MCU movie. This film is pretty much the exact opposite of that and my rage will not go unnoticed. So, I make no apologies! This train-wreck is mine! Spider-Man: Homecoming must DIE!
Now, before I get into ripping this “thing” apart, let me talk about the only two things I found great in this movie. First is the score by Michael Giacchino. I loved how he incorporated the 60’s Spider-Man theme into the opening. That was a stroke of genius. Giacchino is a brilliant composer and his score here is on point. Secondly, Michael Keaton as The Vulture. Keaton absolutely nailed his role and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of his best performances in years. This guy is funny, threatening and has motivations you can easily understand. Surprisingly one of the best villains produced by the MCU. I say surprisingly because the movie surrounding this character was absolute garbage. It’s shame to not only see the character wasted but to see such a talent as Michael Keaton wasted as well. He deserved better, as did Giacchino’s score.
That being said, even his character isn’t perfect. While well-developed and well-thought out, I found it hard to develop a connection with Adrian Toomes on a personal level. Why? Because while he states in the beginning that he’s doing all of this for his family, we don’t actually see his family until the final act. We’re told what he’s fighting for but we’re not shown until almost two hours into the film. Now, you may be wondering why this is. I’ll tell you exactly why. Because if the film had shown his family earlier, it couldn’t have given us an incredibly half-assed twist that pretty much went nowhere, making us wonder why they even made it a twist in the first place. It was merely plot convenience. To the six writers of this movie, I’m not stupid! Please write better!
How was Tom Holland? Tom Holland brings everything he has to this role and this performance. He is a fine actor who does the best he can with the material and I still look forward to seeing him down the line, preferably in the hands of writers and a director who actually know what they’re doing. The problem with Spider-Man in this film is not with Tom Holland at all. The problem is with how the character is written. First of all, just on a side note, if you thought Tobey Maguire was whiny in the original trilogy, you will be pining for him after this film. Secondly, Peter Parker is supposed to be a super genius and yet he constantly makes the dumbest moves throughout the movie. I know he’s a kid but a kid whose supposed to be this smart wouldn’t constantly screw up this bad.
It would be one thing if he made one or two mistakes but they continue from beginning to end. The whole basis for Spider-Man, his entire motto is that “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”, right? Yet, throughout this film, Peter Parker makes irresponsible decisions left and right. This isn’t because he’s coming into his own and learning to adapt. No, it’s because he wants to impress Tony Stark and show him that he’s not just a kid. So he irresponsibly has the “Training Wheels Protocol” taken off of his suit by Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon). Because God forbid a kid whose supposed to be super intelligent would be able to take it offline himself. He does pretty much everything Stark informed him not to do, almost gets a ton of people killed (including his own friends in an elevator) and HOW IS THIS SPIDER-MAN?
You could make the argument that “he’s just a kid and he’s learning” but my point still stands. He’s apparently been Spider-Man for months and yet he constantly disobeys his mentor, resulting in utter catastrophe. He ditches Liz Allen (Laura Harrier) and his friends at almost every turn and yet, there are no consequences for him. Liz simply brushes it off each time like “yeah, that’s okay.” What girl, especially a high school girl, would find his constant running away and abandonment of her okay? No! That does not happen! For everyone who says that Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is an irresponsible idiot, please watch this movie and shut up. Better yet, read a comic book and shut up.
But that stuff isn’t even my biggest pet-peeve with Spider-Man: Homecoming. I think the thing that annoyed me the most right out of the gate, was the suit. Spider-Man has never needed an A.I. suit to get him through any of his trials. He did it on his own, trained himself and he was all the better for it. He made his own web shooters, made his own costume and became the web-slinging hero we know and love. However, the six writers from this movie looked at all of that and said “chuck it!” apparently. For a good 80% of this film, none of Peter Parker’s strengths come from him; they come from a suit that literally does everything for him.
So what this film is telling me is that, with this suit, ANYONE can be Spider-Man. I’m sorry, but Peter Parker always used his intelligence and his wit to face the dangers of NY. He never needed a stupid A.I. to tell him what webs to shoot or what combinations to shoot them in. He never needed an A.I. to give him relationship advice or tell him that a fall at a certain height could be fatal. Even though it shouldn’t be because he’s Spider-Man and he leaps and falls from long distances all the time with nary a scratch but whatever. Oh, and Peter is afraid of heights in this film. Yes, Spider-Man is afraid of heights. Shoot me now. Not only is this absolutely unnecessary, it’s completely demeaning to Peter Parker’s character. I don’t understand how anyone thought to give Spider-Man this suit was a good idea.
On top of that, apparently he kind of sucks at being Spider-Man. Yeah, he was able to take out Winter Soldier, Falcon and Giant Man in Civil War but here, he acts like an incompetent moron half the time. He’s always falling and getting his ass handed to him. It’s a complete 180 of what we saw from him in Civil War. How can he do all of that incredible stuff and yet be so hopeless here? Because they wanted to make this a comedy, I guess. A really unfunny, inconsistent comedy. There’s a scene where Spider-Man is in an open field and has nothing to swing on, so he has to run through the field. Okay, that’s actually clever.
What’s not clever is constantly doing it over and over again. He’s driving a car through the city at the end of a race against time. Dude, you are in the city! You can swing on the buildings! You’d think a supposed super-genius would catch on to this at some point. But he doesn’t, he drives all the way there so that the writers can waste our time with more bad comedy. Swinging around and crawling on walls are two of Spider-Man‘s key attributes. Yet, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he barely does either. He’s constantly running to places because the writers think doing this joke constantly is somehow humorous. It’s not! It’s annoying! Stop it! I came here to see Spider-Man, not the damn Flash!
But anyway, how are the other characters? *laughs hysterically* What other characters? Every side character is either underwhelming or ungodly annoying. Liz Allen is by far the most useless female character in a Spider-Man film. She does nothing but stands around and look pretty. You find out nothing about her except who her father is and she’s pretty much a blank slate. It doesn’t help that Holland and Harrier have no chemistry on screen at all. They barely share any scenes together but even when they do, they are painfully awkward to get through. This wasn’t the fault of Harrier but rather the whole plate of nothing she had to work with. She is a caricature, not a character.
Ned Leeds is the comic relief of the film. I didn’t laugh once. I’m not joking when I say that this kid was the most annoying character I have ever seen in the MCU. I mean, my god, literally everything out of this character’s mouth reeked of terrible comedy. Every time Ned showed up on screen (which is most of the film btw), I wanted to strangle him. He is the character that makes the scenes in high school absolutely insufferable because he refuses to shut up. Even when Peter tells him to shut up, he keeps talking. Sorry, this isn’t a good comedy, this is bad time-filler. There is actually a scene where Ned Leeds looks at a teacher in a computer lab and tells her that he’s watching porn. Was that supposed to be funny? Because it really wasn’t.
The funny thing is that Ned Leeds acts more like the comic book character Ganke Lee than anyone else. Ganke’s a fat Korean kid whose obsessed with legos and helps Spider-Man. So why did they make him Ned Leeds instead of Ganke? I don’t know, I don’t care. The unnecessary change is unnecessary. Speaking of unnecessary changes, Spider-Man: Homecoming is chock full of them. Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), the big tough jock from the comics, went from “I will beat you down” to “I will totally troll you on Twitter tonight.” I don’t care that they changed his ethnicity. I get that NYC schools are very multi-cultural so I can buy it. However, what angers me is that they still have him insulting Peter at every turn. I’m sorry, who is going to look at this annoying, 90-pound kid and find him threatening?
He constantly harasses Peter by calling him “Penis Parker”, when in reality Peter could probably put a smackdown on him without his powers. It makes Peter look like an even bigger wimp than ever before. It’s beyond insulting to both characters and it makes me wonder why they even bothered changing Flash’s character at all. If you can’t make the character any better, what’s the point? Which brings me to Betty Brandt (Angourie Rice), one of many characters who is just sort of shoe-horned in this film for no purpose other than “she exists in the comics”. In this version, she’s a high school reporter who randomly pops on the screen a total of 3 times. It’s one thing to change a character’s identity completely but if you’re not going to do anything with her, then don’t even bother.
Oh, and does anyone want to guess who Michelle (Zendaya) really is? Anyone? Anyone at all? C’mon, just shout out a name because I guarantee your first guess is probably the right answer. Listen, I’m not going to be the douche who sits here and says EVERYTHING has to be 100% comics accurate in an adaptation. There should ultimately be changes from an adaptation standpoint. I understood this going in. But in regards to Flash Thompson, Zendaya’s Character, Ned Leeds and even Betty Brandt, the film completely changes WHO these characters are. Not since The Last Airbender movie (oh yes, I’m going there) have I seen characters adapted so poorly on screen. Certain changes are fine but there is no excuse for changing who these characters are. It betrays what the fans loved about them and it’s the ultimate slap in the face as far as I’m concerned.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) pops up from time to time, mentoring and lecturing Peter. Going into this, I was afraid that he would crowd the movie from Spider-Man. However, this wasn’t the case as they do use him sparingly. Surprisingly, I really didn’t have much of an issue with him other than the fact that his appearances felt incredibly phoned in. It’s always good to see Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark and he actually delivers the only piece of sound dialogue in the movie; “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.” This is obviously calling back to Iron Man 3 (An incredibly smart and underrated MCU film) where Stark realized that it was him who made the suit and not the other way around.
But here’s why the mentorship in Spider-Man: Homecoming ultimately falls flat in the end. There was a scene where Stark takes the suit away from Peter for disobeying him and almost getting people killed. Now, in the end, he has to rely on his own homemade suit and his own webbing to get by and defeat The Vulture. However, Tony rewards Peter in the end for saving the day when, in reality, he made things worse than they had to be. I can’t go into bigger details for the sake of bigger spoilers but I will say this; You can’t scold Peter for disobeying you and then reward him for doing the same thing 30 minutes later in the film. This is the definition of lazy writing. Oh, and that shot in the trailer of Iron Man and Spider-Man teaming up together; Not in the movie.
Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) makes several appearances throughout and pretty much repeats the same joke each time; Peter Calls, Act Annoyed. It wasn’t really funny the first time and it sure wasn’t funny the next ten times. Nor was the joke about him “holding this thing since 2008.” Yeah, we get it, Jon Favreau started the cinematic universe with Iron Man. Hardy har frickin’ har. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) also has a shoe-horned cameo. I guess her and Tony are now engaged. Don’t know why they bothered breaking them up in Civil War if they were just gonna get engaged here but whatever.
This film features two versions of The Shocker, one played by Logan Marshall-Green and another played by Bokeem Woodbine. People have compared them to Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but there are two big issues with that. One, if that’s the case, you all complained about that, why aren’t you complaining about this? Two, Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 represented something. There was a reason Rhino bookended that film. He represented how Peter’s trials as Spider-Man would only get more challenging. How the road ahead was always going to get harder, no matter the losses Peter suffered. Hence why he begins the film as a low-level criminal and ends it as The Rhino. But through it all, Peter should never let go of hope because his hope is the hope of the city.
The Shockers don’t represent anything, we don’t learn anything about them and they are both beyond boring. They are the definition of pointless time-filler. Some have even made the argument to me that they are just muscle for Vulture’s operation. Yeah, because the guy in giant mechanical bird suit of death would really need muscle at his beckon call. Give me a break, guys. So, case in point, The Shockers sucked and much like many of the characters in this movie were an almost complete departure from the classic comic character. The Tinkerer (Michael Churnus) was only in the film to make The Vulture’s weapons, which was fine. It makes sense that Toomes would need someone like him around for tech support.
Because Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t crowded enough, Aaron Davis (Donald Glover) and Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) also got shoved in here. Why? They really had no reason to be here. Oh, wait, yeah they did. Aaron Davis says “I have a nephew who lives here” the hell out of nowhere, obviously hinting at Miles Morales. No, really, he and Spider-Man are having a conversation and he just kind of blurts that out. This is NOT good writing. Mac Gargan is here for one little scene to show us that The Scorpion will be in the next film. Yeah, even though an arms dealer is pretty much the complete opposite of who Mac Gargan is supposed to be. Way to completely ruin and miss the point of that character. But, hey, as so many fans are claiming, BEST ADAPTATION EVER! Bite me!
Now, let me be clear; I LOVE Maria Tomei. From My Cousin Vinny to The Wrestler, she’s an amazing actress. Despite the fact that Aunt May is traditionally an older character, this was actually a change I was fine with. However, the problem is that the writers have her play the character like a concerned older sister than an adult figure. She barely appeared in the movie and when she did, the scenes written for her were mostly awkward. Holland and Tomei don’t really have enough screen time together to develop any clear chemistry as an aunt and nephew. The scene in the sushi restaurant made me cringe from the horrendous dialogue. I have no issue with Maria Tomei but the way Aunt May was written and utilized simply didn’t work for me.
The plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming is all over the place. This is not really a film with one cohesive narrative as much as it is a film where things just sort of happen at the plot’s convenience. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a film about nothing and that’s probably its biggest flaw. Say what you will about The Amazing Spider-Man films, they explored themes and character dilemmas that were relatable and engaging. Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t do this at all. It is less concerned with challenging you as a movie-goer and more concerned with shoving everything but the kitchen sink in your face. It cares so little and panders to fans on such an insulting level that they actually had to tattoo a frickin’ scorpion on Mac Gargan’s face, just so you’d know he was The Scorpion. It’s beyond pathetic.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is clearly trying to be like an old-school John Hughes film from the 80’s. Hell, there’s even a scene that mimics the ending of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with Spider-Man swinging through several backyards. But if you didn’t get the reference don’t worry about it. Why? Because they pretty much spell it out for you when Spidey swings by a TV playing that scene from Ferris Bueller, to which he replies “Great Movie”. My god, if Spider-Man: Homecoming had a face, I would punch it. But Spider-Man: Homecoming is missing the one thing people loved about John Hughes’ movies; Likeable and Memorable Characters. Without the characters in them, movies like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles & even Pretty In Pink would not be so memorable. But we identify with the characters in those movies, so they are. Spider-Man: Homecoming does not have this element, so it fails.
The action in the film is atrocious. The fights with Vulture and even Shocker were so poorly shot and edited that you could barely tell what was going on most of the time. The only decent action scene in the entire film is the fight on the ferry that we all saw in the trailers. As for the rest, lackluster, uninspired, poorly executed or all of the above. The CGI was decent in some parts but pretty bad in others. There’s a scene where Peter is walking through a fire to save someone. I don’t think they could have made the fire look more fake if they tried.
One thing I definitely missed about the action scenes was the incorporation of Peter’s Spider-Sense which he doesn’t seem to have at all. He never mentions it, he never uses it, it’s completely absent from the film altogether. Honestly, I thought this was lame. Spider-Sense is one of the key traits of Spider-Man. However, as I said before, Spider-Man‘s traits rarely matter in this film as a suit pretty much does everything for him now. Someone really should have told these writers they were writing for Spider-Man and not Iron Man.
Spider-Man: Homecoming cares so little about who Spider-Man is that Uncle Ben isn’t even so much as mentioned. They don’t even drop a hint to him and Peter never bothers to bring him up. His uncle is supposed to be the whole reason he becomes Spider-Man. Guess the “All-Powerful Marvel Studios Gods” missed the memo on that one. There’s even a scene in the third act that references a pivotal Spider-Man moment in the comics, involving Spider-Man pushing with everything he has to lift debris off of himself. But what made that moment impactful in the comics was that it was the memory of Uncle Ben and his messages to Peter that gave him that strength. Here, he just remembers a line that Tony Stark said to him earlier in the film. Yeah, because that’s just as meaningful. Ya know what, screw it, let’s wrap this up. I’ve had enough.
Verdict: Honestly guys, I don’t even know what to say. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a soulless mess of a film that ultimately betrays a beloved comic book icon, as well as the characters who surround him. The only things worth it in this whole film were The Score, Michael Keaton, Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. So aside from the music, the main villain and a couple performances, this movie has nothing. The story is non-existent. The plot feels like it’s being made up as it goes along. Most of the side characters, especially those adapted from the comics, are made into bad caricatures of themselves. The action was badly shot and the CG at times was atrocious. The film panders to its audience in the worst possible ways, constantly insulting their intelligence.
The saddest part about all of this is that most people, even hardcore Spider-Man fans, have eaten this movie up like a dinner at Outback Steakhouse. If this movie brought you joy then go ahead and enjoy it. However, I honestly cannot see how any self-respecting Spider-Man fan could be satisfied with Spider-Man: Homecoming. I don’t understand why more fans are not storming the gates of Marvel Studios, demanding better. You deserve better. Spider-Man has taught us that “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”. Well, it is my responsibility as a movie-goer and a critic to call out a bad movie when I see it, no matter how much others may like it.
You may all just think I’m joyless or that I just can’t have fun and you are entitled to think that. But I started writing this review on Thursday night after seeing the movie and I made the decision halfway through to wait and see the movie a second time. As I was writing the review, I felt that maybe I was being too harsh and should give it a second chance. I wanted to love this movie, believe it or not. Guys, I saw the movie again and only hated it more. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the single worst Spider-Man film I’ve ever seen in my life. I honestly wish that Sony had just nutted up and kept the rights because, despite all the spinoffs and sequels they were planning, I can’t imagine any of them being worse than this.
In conclusion, I never thought the following words would ever leave my lips but I have to say them here and now; Spider-Man 3, You Are Forgiven!
- Michael Keaton / Vulture
- Tom Holland's Performance
- Robert Downey Jr.'s Performance
- Michael Giacchino's Score
- This "Film" Is About Nothing
- Too Much Filler
- Too Many Characters From The Comics Are Shoved In The Film For No Reason And Most Are Virtually Unrecognizable As Their Comic Counterparts Anyway
- Spider-Man Is An Irresponsible Idiot Who, In The End, Is Rewarded For Being An Irresponsible Idiot
- Marisa Tomei Is Wasted
- Ned Leeds Is Beyond Annoying
- Terrible Comedy
- Tries To Be Like A John Hughes Film And Fails Miserably
- Pandering To An Insulting Degree
- Side-Villains Are Useless
- Peter Parker & Liz Allen Have No Chemistry
- Atrocious Action Scenes
- Spider-Sense (A Key Trait Of Spider-Man) Is Not Present
- No Real Plot / Things Just Happen On Screen Without Much Purpose
- No Mention Of Uncle Ben / Not Even A Hint
- .... I Think That's Everything
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.